SAN FRANCISCO – The Braves’ 25-man roster Thursday for the National League Division Series included a franchise postseason-record seven rookies, but it did not include a valuable 40-year-old setup reliever.
Takashi Saito, recovering from a sore shoulder, was left off the roster along with injured pitchers Jair Jurrjens (knee), and left-hander Eric O’Flaherty (illness). It was previously known Jurrjens and O’Flaherty would not be on the NLDS roster, but the Braves had held out hope that Saito might be ready after feeling better in a Wednesday bullpen session in San Francisco.
All three injured pitchers would be possibilities for the next round if the Braves advance past the NLDS, which starts Thursday night against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
Changes can be made to the playoff roster between rounds of the postseason, and an injured player can also be replaced during a series. However, any player removed from the roster during a series because of injury becomes ineligible for the next round.
The Braves’ NLDS roster includes 11 pitchers, two catchers, seven infielders and five outfielders. Troy Glaus made it as a backup first baseman and pinch-hitter, and the outfielders are Rick Ankiel, Melky Cabrera, Matt Diaz, Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth.
Rookies include infielder Brooks Conrad, outfielder Jason Heyward and pitchers Cristhian Martinez, Mike Dunn, Jonny Venters, Brandon Beachy and Craig Kimbrel.
Saito had a 2.83 ERA in 56 appearances this season, with 69 strikeouts and 17 walks in 54 innings. He ranked sixth among National League relievers in strikeouts per nine innings (11.5) and 10th in lowest opponents’ average (.203).
But Saito, 40, on Wednesday made it clear he didn’t know if he was ready to pitch yet in games. He said that a couple of appearances in the Braves’ Instructional League would probably be more prudent before he’s activated for the National League Championship Series if the Braves advance to the second round of the playoffs.
The Braves went with rookie right-hander Cristhian Martinez in place of Saito.
Saito had a 0.46 ERA with 28 strikeouts and two walks in a stretch of 20 appearances from July 21 to Sept. 17, before a sore shoulder sidelined him for two weeks. When he returned for his last regular-season appearance Saturday against Philadelphia, Saito gave up two hits, two runs and three walks while recording just one out.
Braves NLDS roster:
Pitchers (11): Brandon Beachy (RH), Mike Dunn (LH), Kyle Farnsworth (RH), Tommy Hanson (RH), Tim Hudson (RH), Craig Kimbrel (RH), Derek Lowe (RH), Cristhian Martinez (RH), Peter Moylan (RH), Jonny Venters (LH) and Billy Wagner (LH).
Catchers (2): Brian McCann and David Ross.
Infielders (7): Brooks Conrad, Troy Glaus, Alex Gonzalez, Diory Hernandez, Eric Hinske, Omar Infante and Derrek Lee.
Outfielders (5): Rick Ankiel, Melky Cabrera, Matt Diaz, Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth