Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty is nursing a sore back, which stiffened up on him Friday, so manager Fredi Gonzalez is planning to rest him as much as possible for the remainder of the regular season.
O’Flaherty has had problems with his back for years and has been able to manage it through stretching and rehabilitation exercises. The Braves don’t believe this particular flare-up is serious, but they will play it safe with him the final four games.
“(It’s) nothing as major as it had been before where we had to give him 15 days off,” Gonzalez said after Saturday’s game. “He felt a lot better today, so we’re going to stay off him. Hopefully we get him a game before that Friday game, the play-in game, but we’re just going to be cautious with him.”
O’Flaherty last pitched on Tuesday against the Marlins, which was his fourth day of work in five days.
O’Flaherty is the Braves’ primary setup man in front of Craig Kimbrel. The left-hander hasn’t given up a run since July 15, putting up 27 consecutive scoreless outings over 24 innings since then. He is 3-0 with a 1.76 ERA in 63 appearances this season overall.
O’Flaherty missed a little over a week in June when he had some elbow stiffness but has otherwise been healthy.