WASHINGTON — The Braves opened a roster spot for veteran reliever Luis Ayala by placing reliever Cristhian Martinez on the 15-day disabled list with what was diagnosed as a right-shoulder strain.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Martinez returned to Atlanta for a checkup on Thursday after flying with the team to Washington, D.C., from Miami late Wednesday. The Braves acquired Ayala from Baltimore in a trade earlier in the day Wednesday, and he joined the team for Friday’s series opener against the Nationals.
Anthony Varvaro pitched the final two innings of Wednesday’s 8-0 rout against the Marlins. Gonzalez said that was because Martinez wasn’t able to pitch the ninth inning after feeling soreness in his shoulder while warming up.
“We were going to pitch him in the last inning, and he threw about 10 or 12 pitches and turned around and told (bullpen coach) Eddie (Perez) that his shoulder was bothering him a little bit,” Gonzalez said. “We shut him down. Varvaro finished the game with two innings of work, and we flew Cristhian to Atlanta to see our doctor.
“He gave him the whole work-up and we’re just going to shut him down for a little bit. They’re just calling it a shoulder strain. As far as I know right now, that’s all they’re going to do, just let him rest a little bit.”
Martinez and Varvaro both are out of minor-league options, which meant either of them would have to clear waivers before being sent to the minors. When Martinez comes off the DL, he would have to be brought back to the 25-man roster or go through waivers if the Braves wanted to keep him and send him to the minors.
Etc. — Reliever Jonny Venters’ wife, Viviana, gave birth to the couple’s second child Friday. Walker Bradley Venters weighed 8 pounds and measured 20 inches…. The Braves had a majors-leading 1.89 ERA before Friday. The Elias Sports Bureau said that matched the third-fewest runs allowed through the first nine games in franchise history. The 1888 Boston Braves allowed 18, the 1958 Milwaukee Braves had 16, and the 1993 Braves had the fewest with 15.
The Braves haven’t been able to acquire the ace they might have wanted for the top of their rotation, but they secured the depth they needed Monday with the signing of free agent right-hander Gavin Floyd.
One week after the Braves were eliminated by the Dodgers in a four-game division series, Braves general manager Frank Wren met with the team’s beat writers and discussed the 2013 season and the team’s needs going into the offseason.