Braves promote Jasseel De La Cruz, Victor Arano to bullpen

030421 Bradenton: Atlanta Braves pitcher Jasseel De La Cruz delivers against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fifth inning of a MLB spring training baseball game at LECOM Park on Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Bradenton.   “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Combined ShapeCaption
030421 Bradenton: Atlanta Braves pitcher Jasseel De La Cruz delivers against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fifth inning of a MLB spring training baseball game at LECOM Park on Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Bradenton. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

The Braves’ bullpen strategy: Keep trying pitchers out until somebody sticks. That method continued with Saturday’s roster moves.

Right-handers Jasseel De La Cruz and Victor Arano were promoted to the major-league roster. The Braves optioned infielder Sean Kazmar to Triple-A Gwinnett and designated righty Carl Edwards for assignment to open up spots.

De La Cruz, 23, will make his major-league debut when he enters a game. He’s the Braves’ No. 13 prospect, per Baseball America, and began the season at Triple-A. De La Cruz is a hard-thrower whose fastball sits around 97 mph. He also possesses a plus-rated slider, giving him a nice two-pitch mix. His command can be erratic and might limit him.

“He’s making strides,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s a raw kid. I noticed in spring training he’s getting a little better. He has a really good arm. He’s a wiry kid who seems like he could throw all day. And he’s on the (40-man) roster, that’s why he’s here, quite honestly. He’s depth right now.”

Arano last pitched in the majors in 2019 for the Phillies, where he spent parts of the 2017-19 seasons. He missed the 2020 season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow.

The Braves claimed Arano off waivers in January. The 26-year-old experienced some success before his injury. Arano posted a 2.73 ERA in 60 games in 2018. His career strikeout rate of 9.6 per nine innings jumps out.

“He’s throwing better, which was the point of having him at the alternate site, keep him regular and try to have him back on a program with some consistency” said Snitker, who added Arano is regaining some arm strength. “The guy was good before he got hurt. Reports were good.”

Edwards was promoted to the roster Friday. He pitched in the team’s 12-2 loss to the Phillies, allowing three runs while recording only one out. The team decided he wasn’t worth a further look at this time. Kazmar, meanwhile, was in his second stint with the big-league club this season and now goes back to familiar territory in Gwinnett.

At worst, De La Cruz and Arano give the Braves two different looks out of a bullpen searching for answers. And if they struggle, the Braves will swap them out, too, until they find the right combination that bolsters their middle-relief group.