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Marksberry excited to be in Major Leagues

PHILADELPHIA -- Braves left-handed reliever Matt Marksberry certainly was not going to complain about the fact that a flight delay limited his first experience as a Major Leaguer to running out to the bullpen with two outs in the bottom half of the eighth inning of Thursday night's 4-1 loss to the Phillies.

"I had butterflies just running out there," Marksberry said. "I can't imagine what it will be like to make my debut."

Marksberry learned what it was like as he made his Major League debut during the fifth inning of Friday night's 9-3 loss to the Phillies. He surrendered two hits and issued a bases-loaded walk to Ryan Howard while allowing two of the runners inherited from Williams Perez to score. But he proved more efficient during a scoreless sixth that wrapped up his appearance.

Given that he began this season at Class A Advanced Carolina, Marksberry certainly never envisioned that he would reach the Major League level so soon. At the same time, he and his former Mudcats teammates all are simply thankful for every day they have been given since the team bus overturned on a rural North Carolina road during the wee hours of May 13.

"It was one of those moments that makes you take a step back and realize how blessed you are to be doing this for a job," Marksberry said. "I think the experience made me a better person. It showed me and my teammates how to deal with adversity and come back."

Marksberry was fortunate not to suffer an injury during this non-fatal accident. After spending the following six weeks with Carolina, he was surprised to learn the Braves were promoting him from Class A Advanced to Triple-A Gwinnett. After producing a 2.61 ERA in 11 appearances for Gwinnett over the past month, the 24-year-old southpaw received another shock on Thursday, when he learned that he was being promoted to the Majors.

The Braves did not decide to make this promotion until they neared the completion of a Thursday trade that sent two of their relievers -- Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan -- to the Dodgers.

Marksberry's hope of arriving in time for the start of Thursday's game was erased when weather delayed his Atlanta to Philadelphia flight for approximately two hours. Thus he arrived at Citizens Bank Park near the end of the game and simply experienced the thrill of running through the outfield grass to the bullpen just before the eighth inning concluded.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for Listen to his podcast.
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