Braves recall Jimmy Herget, who throws a scoreless inning

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jimmy Herget delivers during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Saturday, May 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jimmy Herget delivers during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Saturday, May 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH – Jimmy Herget joked that he just spent time learning everyone’s names in Gwinnett. And now, he must do so with the big-league club.

He’s played with Jesse Chavez, Raisel Iglesias and Chadwick Tromp at different points in his career. But he began meeting the other players, as well as the coaches, on Saturday at PNC Park.

The Braves on Saturday recalled Herget to provide a fresh arm in their bullpen. They optioned Darius Vines after he threw 78 pitches over three innings in Friday’s loss, leaving him unavailable to pitch for at least several days.

“It’s a whirlwind,” Herget said of the scramble to get to Pittsburgh. “Obviously, it’s exciting joining this team and stuff. It’s a team that’s won a lot of games in the last couple of years, so I’m excited to be here.”

In Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Pirates, Herget tossed a scoreless inning. He issued a walk and struck out two batters.

At the beginning of May, the Braves acquired Herget from the Angels, who had designated him for assignment. Since joining Triple-A Gwinnett, he’s allowed three earned runs on eight hits across seven innings, with seven strikeouts and two walks. At Triple-A this season, between the Angels and Braves systems, he’s posted a 3.93 ERA over 18-1/3 innings.

Herget has 142-2/3 big-league frames to his name. He has a 3.47 ERA in the majors. If he appears for the Braves in his stint with the big club, it will be his first big-league action in 2024.

The Braves are new eyes on Herget. Each organization is different.

“It’s great,” Herget said. “Every organization will kind of say certain things are more important than others. Coming here, they’ve been very confident in my stuff and told me to kind of do my own thing, and we’ll see what happens.”

Funny story: In 2012, the Braves drafted Herget in the 40th round, but he opted to go to college – which turned out to be a smart decision. The Reds selected him in the sixth round of the 2015 MLB draft out of South Florida.

Herget debuted for Cincinnati in 2019. He’s since played for Texas, the Angels and, now, the Braves.

Braves manager Brian Snitker didn’t know many specifics about Herget, but he did emphasize this fact: His minor-league options are crucial.

“He’s a kid with options, and he can throw multiple innings if need be,” Snitker said. “Guys with options are invaluable in this game.”

That the Braves chose to option Vines and not Ray Kerr, who started Friday’s game, might mean they would like Kerr to make another start – or at least continue his multi-inning bullpen role. He allowed five runs over four innings to begin a blowout loss, but flashed some good stuff and struck out six batters. Kerr is down at least a few days after throwing 72 pitches, which were the most he’d ever hurled in a major-league game.

Snitker said that the Braves will use Kerr however they need as they look to navigate the next week. They’re not yet saying whether he’ll make another start or pitch out of the bullpen.

Kerr is the latest pitcher to make a start for the Braves, who are looking for a consistent fifth starter. Allan Winans, Bryce Elder, AJ Smith-Shawver and Vines have all made a start. None have stuck.

Smith-Shawver on Thursday turned in a promising outing, but he pitched through a left oblique strain. The Braves diagnosed him with a Grade 2 strain. The team doesn’t give timelines, but the typical recovery time for this injury is six to eight weeks.

Given that, the Braves’ options are even more limited, which is why Kerr might get another start.

“We’ll probably cycle guys through (for) the rest of the year, in that slot, until somebody just kind of steps forward and takes the job,” Snitker said. “It’s just good to have all those guys ready.”