VIERA, Fla. – The Braves’ bullpen picture became a little clearer Thursday when they traded Jairo Asencio, the pitcher formerly known as Luis Valdez, to the Cleveland Indians for cash.
Barring any trade acquisitions between now and opening Thursday’s season opener, Braves sidearmer Cory Gearrin and left-hander Yohan Flande are left as the likely choices for the final two spots in the bullpen — though Gearrin had his second consecutive rough outing Thursday against the Nationals.
Asencio, 28, was out of minor-league options and would have had to clear waivers before he could be sent to the minor leagues if he wasn’t on the Braves’ opening day roster. Rather than keep him on the roster or lose him on a waiver claim and get nothing in return, the Braves traded the Dominican right-hander.
“He’s always been a one-inning pitcher,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said, “and the [bullpen] role we envision needing to make a decision on is a multi-inning guy who can give you two or