Saito lands on DL, Kimbrel recalled from Triple-A

LOS ANGELES – The surging Braves will have to make do without top setup reliever Takashi Saito for at least 15 days after putting him on the disabled list Friday with a pulled hamstring.

Rookie Craig Kimbrel was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to replace Saito, who injured his left hamstring in the ninth inning of Thursday’s 4-3 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Braves’ ninth consecutive win.

Saito, 40, said he didn’t want to delay a decision and leave the Braves short-handed in the interim.

“It’s tough to go to the DL, but it’s tougher for the bullpen if it’s down to six people,” he said through his translator. “So I feel it’s the right decision.”

Manager Bobby Cox said immediately after Thursday’s game that he planned wait a few days to make a DL decision, in case Saito healed quickly.

“I was hoping it was just a cramp,” Cox said.

That optimism changed Friday after Cox talked to Saito and trainer Jeff Porter.

“I have the same opinion as the trainers, that I wouldn’t be able to pitch for two or three days,” Saito said.

Actually, Cox said it would probably be about a week longer than that before Saito could be ready to pitch, which made the decision easier.

“[Porter] said it’s going to be probably 10 days,” Cox said. “May as well go ahead and do it [DL him]. But I look at it in a positive way, too. He can rest his arm up.”

Kimbrel will return for his second stint with the Braves, after posting a 2.70 ERA and .167 opponents’ average in four appearances between May 7 and May 20.

The right-hander allowed two hits, one run and six walks with five strikeouts in 3-1/3 innings before being sent back to Triple-A, so he could get more work than he was getting in the major league bullpen.

Saito has had a key role in making the Braves’ bullpen one of the best in the National League. He has a 2.92 ERA in 25 appearances, with 34 strikeouts and eight walks in 24-2/3 innings.

He ranks among league leaders in lowest opponents’ average (.176) and strikeouts per nine innings (12.4), and in his past five appearances he allowed two hits with no walks and eight strikeouts in 5-1/3 scoreless innings.

Saito was one strike from earning his first Braves save Thursday when his hamstring tightened.  He stayed in for another pitch, hoping it was only a cramp. But it worsened and he left with two strikes on Dodgers hitter Russell Martin.

Rookie lefty Jonny Venters replaced Saito and promptly struck out Martin swinging at a slider to record his first save — on just one pitch.

24 comments Add your comment

Tale of woe

June 4th, 2010
9:01 pm

Is Kimbrel going to be available tonight?


June 4th, 2010
9:03 pm

I hope so. He shouldnt have never been sent down.


June 4th, 2010
9:05 pm

Tale of woe —

I certainly hope so, considering that KK is pitching. Hopefully he’ll go about 7 innings and the Braves’ll still be in it for win #10.


June 4th, 2010
9:06 pm

That sux. Saito has been a blessing. I hope he has a speedy hammy recovery. The last time I pulled my hamstring it took a good 2 full weeks before I felt confident in it again.

mscoast brave

June 4th, 2010
9:15 pm

at least Eric O looked liked his old self last nite.


June 4th, 2010
9:16 pm

He will be missed, we just need Kimbrel, Venters and the rest of the guys to pick up the slack…I think they are capable.


June 4th, 2010
9:18 pm

i once pulled a hammy in college ball and i couldent get around oin the high fastball just like glaus lol


June 4th, 2010
9:21 pm

Chipper and Saito are hurting. Is it time for some “sky is falling” criticism from the peanut gallery, or have we learned our lesson, re: these Braves… ?

YoungerThan ThatNow

June 4th, 2010
9:21 pm

Did anybody else notice Saito doing a little stretching and grimacing after the first two pitches to Martin last night? Chip and Joe didn’t see it until they replayed it during the break, but you could tell after both of those first two pitches that something wasn’t right.


June 4th, 2010
9:31 pm

Enter your comments here


June 4th, 2010
9:33 pm

the braves can when there division because they have the pitching


June 4th, 2010
9:39 pm

I think TP needs a raise the way he’s got the boyz hittin’ the ball.

Candys Room

June 4th, 2010
9:43 pm

Late game- wife asleep -got Dales Pale Ale-Ranger IPA, and whiskey. Yep.

Jimmy Beam, you are my friend

June 4th, 2010
9:56 pm

Hey Candys — I feel ya: a couple of cold Bud’s and some bourbon for me, even though I’m in the Left coast time zone now. But it helps the anticipation.

Who are we going to get? The KK who has stood toe to toe with some of the best last year, or the guy who started this years for the Bravos?

Rick Cerone

June 4th, 2010
10:17 pm

Chipper the gimper, is beginning to rub off on El Saito-san , IMO…


June 4th, 2010
10:33 pm

2 nothing and man on base..its got to get better.KK is pressing!

Biff Pocaroba

June 5th, 2010
12:48 am

No Hinkse, will equal a loss,keep him in veruses lefties
Medlen deserves shot in rotation when JJ gets back
KK can’t catch a break
Moylan struggling

Biff Pocaroba

June 5th, 2010
12:50 am

KK should have been pulled earlier
All of this slapnuts who call out Chipper have no clue

Biff Pocaroba

June 5th, 2010
12:52 am

heyward needs to sit a game he is pressing at the plate


June 5th, 2010
1:07 am

Why the f— is McClouth still in the bigs? He needs to be in Rome, in A ball; maybe he’ll get some confidence.


June 5th, 2010
1:11 am

KK should never have been sent back out there after we tied it. He always gives up runs early and if he gets a lead or a tie, gives up a run immediately. The Braves might have lost it anyway, but it would have been nice to give the relievers a chance with no one on base.

Braves Fan Since "80

June 5th, 2010
2:25 am

KK is no hard luck pitcher….if they were all wins he would be great….all losses then he is bad


June 5th, 2010
8:49 am

0 – 8, a waste of money last year and even more so this year. I don’t even want him in the bullpen. Promote Medlen and RELEASE Kawakami

Tomy Fournier

June 5th, 2010
11:04 am


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