With their bullpen weary from a recent heavy workload, the Braves have recalled reliever Cory Gearrin from Triple-A Gwinnett for Sunday night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.
The Braves optioned outfielder Wilkin Ramirez back to Triple-A Gwinnett to open a roster spot.
Gearrin impressed team officials while posting a .158 opponents’ average and 3.18 ERA in his first 10 major league appearances during a 3-1/2-week stint with the Braves through May 17.
The rookie sidearmer from Tennessee had 13 strikeouts and five walks in 11-1/3 innings. Right-handed batters were 2-for-23 with nine strikeouts against Gearrin, who was optioned back to Gwinnett only because the Braves needed a roster spot for veteran reliever Scott Proctor.
“He was good,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who smiled and added, “and he hasn’t pitched in four days, so he can give us five or six innings [Sunday].”
Braves relievers worked 18-1/3 innings in three games over the past four days, including 8-2/3 innings of one-run ball from five relievers in Saturday’s 12-inning win after starter Derek Lowe lasted 3-1/3 innings.
Jonny Venters, Scott Linebrink and Eric O’Flaherty all were “off-limits” for Sunday night’s game, Gonzalez said. Venters and Linebrink worked two scoreless innings apiece Saturday, the fourth two-inning appearance for Venters in 11 days and the second in as many nights for Linebrink.
O’Flaherty had some lingering back tightness and was being rested for a second day as a precautionary measure. He’s had a history of back problems and does an extensive daily stretching and conditioning regimen to keep the situation under control.
Rookie starting pitcher Mike Minor, who starts Tuesday, was sent to the bullpen late in Saturday’s 12-inning game, in case the game had continued much longer. On Sunday, he was told to skip his usual between-starts side session and be ready again in the bullpen.