Braves interested in veteran reliever and old friend Peter Moylan

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Braves interested in veteran reliever and old friend Peter Moylan

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Sidearm reliever Peter Moylan, pictured during 2015 spring training when he was coming back from a second Tommy John elbow surgery, has pitched the past two seasons for Kansas City but is drawing interest again from the Braves as a free agent. (AJC file photo)

The Braves are among several teams that have expressed early interest in free-agent reliever Peter Moylan, the popular Aussie sidearmer who had two previous stints with Atlanta. Moylan enjoyed a resurgence with the Royals in 2017 after fully recovering from a second Tommy John elbow surgery.

Moylan, who’ll be 39 on Dec. 2, had a 3.49 ERA and stingy .189 opponents’ average in an American League-leading 79 appearances for Kansas City, with 46 strikeouts in 59-1/3 innings. His 1.096 WHIP (walks-plus-hits per inning pitched) was the right-hander’s lowest in a full season since 2007, when the then-28-year-old Braves rookie had a 1.067 WHIP and a 1.80 ERA in 90 innings over 80 appearances.

Moylan has his offseason home in Atlanta and played in former Brave teammate Brian McCann’s charity softball game Saturday in Marietta. He’s told some he’d like to pitch for the Braves again and the team is looking to add at least a couple of experienced relievers to a bullpen that faltered badly in 2017.

The groundball specialist was coming back from his second Tommy John surgery when Moylan signed an unusual two-year minor league deal with the Braves early in 2015 spring training. It was a deal designed to allow him to use that season rehabbing, pitching in the minors and serving as a player-coach for the Danville rookie-league team while aiming for a big-league return in 2016.

But when Moylan recovered sooner than expected and the Braves needed help in their bullpen, he was put on a faster track and made it back to the big leagues by late summer instead of going to coach at Danville. He pitched in 22 games for the Braves in that 2015 season, which effectively voided the second year of the minor-league deal and made him a free agent.

He signed with the Royals, won a spot in their major-league bullpen in May 2016 and had a solild 3.43 ERA in 50 appearances, which he figured would be enough to draw a major-league offer or two in the offseason. It didn’t, probably because of his age and long injury history – major shoulder and back surgeries in addition to the TJ procedures – and Moylan settled for a non-guaranteed deal to return to the Royals in 2017, whereupon his showed how durable and effective he could be with his slimmed-down physique and experience gained while overcoming much adversity.

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