The Braves dropped their 13th pitcher Thursday when they optioned reliever Jairo Asencio back to Triple-A Gwinnett and purchased the contract of utility player Joe Mather from Gwinnett.
The Braves has added an extra reliever during their 10-day West Coast road trip after a 12-inning game in LA on April 21. They played three extra-inning games in a five-day span on the trip.
The Braves claimed Mather off the waiver wire from the St. Louis Cardinals in November, but sent him to Triple-A to open the season after he struggled offensively in spring training. He hit only .145 (8-for-55) with 15 strikeouts in 25 games in Florida.
For Gwinnett, Mather was hitting .258 (16-for-62) with five doubles, a homer, and four RBIs.
Now he’ll be in uniform against his former team this weekend when the Braves host the Cardinals for three games. Mather can play all three outfield positions, third and first base.
The Braves originally opened the season with outfielder Matt Young on the roster but they sent him to Gwinnett when they added reliever Cory Gearrin to the roster last Friday. Young can’t return to the roster within 10 days unless there’s been an injury.
This also means Gearrin will get to stick around for a while. The rookie sidearmer made an impressive two-inning debut on Monday night in San Diego. He’s yet to allow a baserunner in three relief innings.
Asencio hasn’t pitched since his four-run meltdown Sunday in San Francisco. Prior to that outing, Asencio had pitched in two games, allowing four hits and no runs in five innings, striking out four and walking one.