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Varvaro verifies manager's unshakable trust

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- With the bases loaded and the score tied in the top of the fifth inning of Thursday's 6-4 loss to the Mets, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez turned to right-hander Anthony Varvaro to put out the fire.

Varvaro obliged, striking out Juan Lagares and getting Travis d'Arnaud to ground into a forceout at second. As the game remained tied headed into the sixth, Varvaro again came through by striking out two and throwing just 14 pitches in a perfect frame.

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ATLANTA -- With the bases loaded and the score tied in the top of the fifth inning of Thursday's 6-4 loss to the Mets, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez turned to right-hander Anthony Varvaro to put out the fire.

Varvaro obliged, striking out Juan Lagares and getting Travis d'Arnaud to ground into a forceout at second. As the game remained tied headed into the sixth, Varvaro again came through by striking out two and throwing just 14 pitches in a perfect frame.

Full Game Coverage

"That's why you play the game, right?" Varvaro said. "You don't play to be the mop-up guy, right? Any opportunity you have to come in in a big situation and get the job done, that always feels good, and I think it gives your manager a little more confidence in you to keep on sending you back out there in those situations."

Varvaro's clutch performance out of the bullpen was a far cry from the struggles he endured during Spring Training. Varvaro posted a 9.82 ERA and gave up 20 hits in 10 outings that spanned 11 innings.

Despite Varvaro's struggles, Gonzalez never wavered in his confidence in the right-hander, who recorded a 2.82 ERA in 62 appearances out of Atlanta's bullpen in 2013.

"He's done a terrific job, same as last year," Gonzalez said. "So you feel comfortable that he goes out and has a bad Spring Training like he did this year, you don't panic because you've seen him. You've got a little history with him.

"When you put him out there and he does what he does, you go, 'OK, this is the Varvaro we know.' And that's why you stick with him."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

 

Atlanta Braves, Anthony Varvaro