As innings mount, Vizcaino moved to ‘pen

The Braves are moving elite pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino from starting rotation to the bullpen at Double-A Mississippi, but not because they plan to make him a reliever.

Braves general manager Frank Wren said the Braves want to limit Vizcaino’s innings in the second half of the season, since he’s already pitching more innings (87) in 17 starts than he pitched in any of his first three minor league seasons with the New York Yankees and Braves.

Vizcaino, 20, totaled a career-high 85-1/3 innings in 17 starts last season and missed much of the second half with a partially torn elbow ligament that healed without surgery.

Rather the No. 16 prospect in Baseball America’s midseason Top 50 list, Vizcaino has posted a 3.21 ERA with 90 strikeouts and 25 walks in 87 innings between high-A Lynchburg and Double-A.

“We have guidelines — not rigid guidelines, but we have kind of suggested inning totals each year for all our pitchers,” Wren said. “And he was getting close where, if he continued to start, he was going to push up against those. And we wanted to slow him down. We’ll see how it goes.

“He’ll relieve for a while, see how it goes and how his innings translate, then make a decision on what happens next.”

Vizcaino’s fastball was clocked at 98 mph in a perfect inning at Sunday’s Futures game in Phoenix, and he had seven strikeouts in three innings Thursday for Mississippi. The Braves’ Martin Prado played third base in that game for Mississippi on an injury-rehab assignment.

“He has an unbelievable arm,” Prado said of Vizcaino. “He’s one of those guys who, for me, can be here, like, right now. Easily. I guess they’re going to give him a period of time [to develop]. I’m not sure about his breaking pitches. I guess the only thing he’s missing is having a good recognition of hitters and counts. But for me, he’s got everything to be a star.

“There’s a couple of guys down [in the minors] that are going to be good, man.”

Prado named top Braves pitching prospect Julio Teheran as another in that category, then was asked to compare Teheran and Vizcaino.

“The only difference is, Julio’s got more consistent location,” Prado said. “But Vizcaino, with that velocity and that arm, is unbelievable.”

If the Braves don’t trade for a reliever and have a need, Wren said they could use one of their pitching prospects in the ‘pen later this season.

“We’ve talked about it a little bit, and we’ll continue to explore it,” he said. “But right now, we’re focused on just seeing how it all shakes out. That’s the main thing.”

Selig: no new rules after fan’s death

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said it would be left to teams to use “common sense” when it comes to having players and coaches toss baseballs into stands.

No new rules were being considered to curtail the practice after a Texas fan – a 39-year-old firefighter attending the game with his son — died this month after falling over a railing reaching for a ball tossed by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.

Selig called the incident “a horrible accident, hearbreaking almost beyond comprehension,” but said that Major League Baseball did not want to prevent such interaction between uniformed personnel and fans.

“I think everybody is reviewing parts of their ballparks where something like this could happen,” Selig said Tuesday at Phoenix during a meeting of the Baseball Writers Association of America. “Maybe there’s some things that they can or can’t do. So I guess what I would say to you is common sense should always take over in these situations.

“So to say today, ‘No, we shouldn’t do this,’ or ‘No, we shouldn’t do that,’ I wouldn’t say that. Absolutely not.”

Wren said that Braves players and coaches had been instructed to use caution in such situations.

“We just tell guys to use their own judgement and be cognizant of things like people running over people to get balls, and try to flip balls a short distance more so than long distances,” Wren said. “[Fans] come to the ballpark hoping to engage and interact. We want that for our fans.”

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he received no new rules from MLB officials since the incident in Texas.

“I haven’t heard anything; we haven’t heard anything,” he said. “But I would recommend to guys, if you’re going to flip [baseballs], flip ‘em short distances. That kind of stuff. But I haven’t gotten a memo on it or anything.

“It was such a freak accident. Sad, tragic.”

18 comments Add your comment


July 15th, 2011
8:37 pm

F.P. Santangelo


July 15th, 2011
9:39 pm

Hopefully Viz over the next couple of years build upon how well he has done this year and last. This kid has a huge future. I agree with them being careful with his innings at this point of his career.


July 15th, 2011
10:55 pm

Braves roll tonight. Schafer on 3 times and scores 3 runs; Prado HR and a single; Heyward 2 hits; Freeman a hit. And, didn’t have to use their aces in the pen. Key is Prado. Schafer is going to see a lot of fastballs because pitchers don’t want to walk him with Prado in the 2-hole. AGon was not much of a threat in the 2-hole. All of this without their top 2 lefty hitters: McCann and Hoss.


July 16th, 2011
1:01 am

Prado even picking up on his manager’s favorite phrase, “But for me…”


July 16th, 2011
7:35 am

I still want to know why up by that many runs we didn’t put Proctor and Gearin back in the saddle to get some work in.

john norris

July 16th, 2011
8:40 am

the braves need a righthanded hiting outfielder an a leadoff hitter bad any where you go to playoffs
we can get in as wild card an win the division

Viz the Wiz

July 16th, 2011
9:53 am

They should move Viz up to the majors and try him out in the pen when the Braves have large leads like last night…..afterall Teheran and Delgado already got a shot!

Trader Frank

July 16th, 2011
9:58 am

I am afraid that Wren will trade Vizcaino or Delgado for another guy that has only a year and a half left on their contracts and disrupt their futures with the Braves.But Frank will be Frank and this will Stank!


July 16th, 2011
10:09 am

people, stop asking for a right handed hitting outfielder. we just got em: Martin Prado. He’s back, and he’s gonna be that spark that we need. Uggla’s coming around, Heyward’s getting healthy, Schafer’s on his way, so we don’t need any offense. The only piece offensively is a righty to pinch hit. We also could use some middle relief instead of Linebrink and Proctor IMO. But come on yall, we hardly hit in the first half, and we didnt have one of our most consistent players, and now he’s back. We’ll be fine even if we don’t make a move. Stop worrying!
Go Braves!

DC Brave

July 16th, 2011
10:36 am

I’m those guys at AA read this because I can’t imagine higher praise for any young player than those kind of words from Prado.


July 16th, 2011
11:38 am

The Braves will win the World Series this year. Chipper and Huddy will be co-MVP’s. You heard it here first.


July 16th, 2011
12:32 pm

please tell me proctor still isn’t on the roster. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. and if he is, then why not let him pitch with a 10 run lead? i think the braves are winning DESPITE fredi

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]

[...] AJC, As innings mount, Vizcaino moved to ‘pen- This might make Vizcaino more valuable to other teams and could be the answer to the Braves own bullpen needs. [...]


July 16th, 2011
4:27 pm

Oh, no. Rob’s after another Braves manager.

[...] general manager Frank Wren is moving righthander Arodys Vizcaino from the starting rotation to the bullpen at Double-A Mississippi in order to put him on a strict pitch count for the remainder of the 2011 [...]

[...] they may not regret losing Melky or Dunn, they almost certainly regret including Vizcaino — who ranked 16th on Baseball America’s midseason Top 50 list this past season, and currently checks in as the Braves’ second-best prospect overall on both BA’s list [...]

[...] while they may not regret losing Melky or Dunn, they almost certainly regret including Vizcaino — who ranked 16th on Baseball America’s midseason Top 50 list this past season, and currently checks in as the Braves’ second-best prospect overall on both BA’s list and John [...]

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