SAN FRANCISCO – When Cory Gearrin found out Thursday night he’d been called to the big leagues, the excited Braves reliever dashed a few blocks to a Men’s Wearhouse in Norfolk, Va., five minutes before they closed.
He had to get a blazer to meet the Braves’ major league travel dress code before his flight to San Francisco early Friday.
To bolster a fatigued bullpen, the Braves called up the sidearmer from Triple-A Gwinnett, optioning backup outfielder Matt Young to Gwinnett to open a spot. Gearrin was at AT&T Park and ready Friday, it not exactly rested.
“I woke up at about 3:45 this morning,” said the Chattanooga native, smiling as he told the story of how Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage messed with him for a while on the phone call Thursday before breaking the news that he’d been summoned by the big club.
“I was on the phone talking to [family and friends] all night,” Gearrin said before Friday’s series opener against the Giants. “It was pretty tough to try to get to sleep. I slept a little bit at the hotel and then I slept a pretty good amount today on the plane.”
He was running on adrenaline.
“Yeah, and it’s not going to go away, either,” Gearrin said. “It’s pretty exciting.”
It’s the first major-league callup for the 25-year-old from Chattanooga. His mother, Geri, and sister, Cayce, hurriedly booked a flight to be at Friday’s game. Gearrin said his dad couldn’t get out of commitments at work and in his side job as an umpire.
The move was necessary after relievers pitched 10-1/3 innings in the past two days against the Dodgers, including 5-1/3 innings in Wednesday’s 12-inning loss.
Cristhian Martinez pitched in three consecutive games and gave up homers in the past two, including a game-ending two-run shot by Matt Kemp in the 12th inning.
Veteran setup man Peter Moylan is on the disabled list with a bulging disc, which has forced the Braves to use some relievers in situations they wouldn’t normally.
Setup man Jonny Venters was rested Wednesday and Thursday because of what he and the Braves said was mild muscle soreness in his upper left (pitching) arm.
Gearrin has a 2.61 ERA in six appearances for Gwinnett, with 10 hits, four walks and eight strikeouts in 10-1/3 innings. He pitched 80-1/3 innings in 52 relief appearances for Gwinnett in 2009, posting a 3.36 ERA and 66 strikeouts.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Braves also consider Stephen Marek, Juan Abreu and Anthony Varvaro, with Marek a “close second” in the decision.
“He has thrown multiple innings in the minor leagues,” Gonzalez said of Gearrin. “He can help us get people out. We’ll use him.”
The Braves now have 13 pitchers on the 25-man roster, but plan to return to 12 pitchers after the 10-game trip ends Wednesday in San Diego.