DENVER -- When Mauricio Cabrera made the jump from Double-A to the Majors near the end of June, there was reason to believe the Braves' reliever would light up radar guns and struggle with his command. But only one of these descriptions has consistently been valid.As Cabrera has produced triple-digit
DENVER -- When Mauricio Cabrera made the jump from Double-A to the Majors near the end of June, there was reason to believe the Braves' reliever would light up radar guns and struggle with his command. But only one of these descriptions has consistently been valid.
As Cabrera has produced triple-digit radar-gun readings that have been topped only by Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, he has hit the strike zone with regularity. But the 22-year-old right-hander was humbled on Thursday night, when he surrendered two hits, issued a walk and hit a batter while facing six hitters in the eighth inning of a 7-3 loss to the Rockies.
"He's a young kid, and he's learning," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's going to have days like that. Every time out, it's going to be a learning experience for him. He'll also have times like he did when he picked up the win in Cincinnati. You've just got to ride the roller-coaster with him."
Cabrera surrendered a hit and recorded two strikeouts while completing 1 2/3 scoreless innings during Tuesday night's win in Cincinnati. He entered Thursday's outing against the Rockies having issued just three walks through the first 10 innings of his career.
When Cabrera threw a pitch 103.8 mph during Tuesday's outing, he stood as the only pitcher other than Chapman to register a velocity that high in the Statcast™ era. Chapman threw a pitch that registered 105.1 mph that same night.
Cabrera has clocked at least 100 mph with 53 percent of the 177 pitches he has thrown thus far in his career. But further proving he's still in the developmental stage, he has struck out just six of the 45 batters he has faced.
Because Cabrera had pitched three of the four previous days, Snitker entered Friday's game planning to not to use the young reliever.
Cabrera will continue to play a key role in Atlanta's bullpen while Arodys Vizcaíno spends at least a few more weeks on the disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle. As of Friday, Vizcaino was still feeling some discomfort.
The Braves are still holding out hope to possibly add Shae Simmons to their bullpen before the end of this season. Simmons has been sidelined since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in Feb. 2015. His two previous attempts to return this year have been sidetracked by right shoulder discomfort.
Simmons has been throwing pain-free over the past couple weeks and will begin a rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Braves on Saturday. Even if all goes well, he likely would not join Atlanta's bullpen before the latter part of August.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.