LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Mauricio Cabrera and Armando Rivero arrived at Spring Training with a realistic possibility to earn a spot in Atlanta's bullpen. But it now appears both of these right-handed relievers could begin the season on the disabled list.Cabrera was a near-lock for the bullpen before he
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Mauricio Cabrera and Armando Rivero arrived at Spring Training with a realistic possibility to earn a spot in Atlanta's bullpen. But it now appears both of these right-handed relievers could begin the season on the disabled list.
Cabrera was a near-lock for the bullpen before he began feeling right elbow discomfort earlier this week. Rivero's opportunity to prove himself as a Rule 5 Draft selection has not yet materialized, as he has been shut down throughout most of Spring Training with right shoulder discomfort.
While Cabrera has been encouraged as the discomfort has subsided over the past few days, he said Saturday that he will have to wait at least a few more days to learn when he might begin throwing again. The hard-throwing reliever's elbow began feeling sore immediately after he struggled mightily with his command during Monday's ugly appearance against the Marlins.
"I think we're going to wait a little bit until I feel better," Cabrera said through an interpreter. " I don't want to rush back and risk further injury."
Assuming Cabrera begins the season on the disabled list, a bullpen spot could open for Chaz Roe, who is out of options. Non-roster invitee Blaine Boyer was another potential candidate before he was released on Saturday.
When the Braves selected Rivero out of the Cubs organization in the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 8, they expected he would enter Spring Training without having to worry about the shoulder fatigue that led him to stop pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League in November. But after throwing just two bullpen sessions in camp, he was shut down and has not since thrown off a mound.
If Rivero is not the disabled list or Atlanta's active roster at any point this year, he would have to be offered back to the Cubs at a cost of $25,000. If not activated in time to spend at least 90 days on Atlanta's active roster, this year, he would remain under Rule 5 Draft roster restrictions until reaching this total during the 2018 season.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.