PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Buddy Carlyle wanted to show Braves officials he’s there if they need him this season, and the genial journeyman accomplished that with four crisp innings Tuesday’s 7-5 win against the Mets.
Carlyle was brought over from minor league camp to start a game because the Braves didn’t want to use a pitcher who’ll face the Mets in their season-opening series next week in New York.
“It’s nice to see Buddy come up and give us four innings,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Four strong innings, too.”
He was charged with three hits, two run and one walk, and the second of those run scored after Carlyle was replaced by Cory Gearrin following a leadoff single in the fifth inning.
Carlyle, 34, is a former big-league Brave whose career was stalled by illness in 2009, when he was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes and lost more than 20 pounds.
He pitched in Japan in 2010 and was in the New York Yankees organization last season. Only now has Carlyle regained his full strength and weight with the aid of an insulin pump he keeps attached to his upper left arm.
He lives in Atlanta with his wife and kids and decided to sign a minor league contract with the Braves in hopes of getting called up to the majors at some point during the season.
“That’s the goal obviously,” he said. “The reason you’re still playing is because you think you can still pitch in the big leagues. So you just try to show the guys that you can still throw, and if they need you you’re available. When you start off [spring training] in the minor leagues that’s what you try to do. You just want to show them that’s an option if they ever need it.”
That’s why Tuesday’s start was important for the right-hander.
“Yeah, for sure, because people haven’t seen you in a couple of years and don’t know what to expect,” he said. “So you want to show them, the big thing is just to keep their mind open and if something becomes available you’re fully capable of helping the team out. You don’t know if that time is going to come about, but just to know that you’re ready for that opportunity and hopefully to get back here.”