Chris Martin returns to Braves’ bullpen

Credit: Atlanta Braves

Caption
Braves reliever Chris Martin details what he first felt in spring training that led to a stint on injured list and how effective he expect to be in bullpen.

Credit: Atlanta Braves

The Braves’ bullpen received an adrenaline shot Wednesday.

Right-hander Chris Martin returned from his rehab assignment and was reinstated from the injured list. Martin made three appearances in Triple-A during his rehab stint. Starter Bryse Wilson was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett to open a roster spot.

Martin’s return was highly anticipated. The veteran righty has been out with shoulder inflammation and hasn’t pitched in a major-league game since April 4. Martin said he began feeling the soreness toward the end of spring training. He thought he would pitch through it and eventually it would fade, which is sometimes the case with such ailments, but it never did. He also felt numbness in his fingers, which forced him out of his last major-league outing.

“I just couldn’t feel my two fingers that I hold the ball with,” Martin said. “That’s never good. All that is cleaned up. Shoulder is good. I haven’t felt that sensation these last three appearances. I feel pretty confident I’m in a good spot.”

Martin is a crucial part of the Braves’ bullpen, and the team sorely missed him over the past five weeks. He was available for Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays, manager Brian Snitker said.

“Everything is coming out really good,” Martin said. “I feel good with where my fastball is. My command is going to get cleaned up here as I get some innings under my belt. I think everything is pointing in the right direction.”

Martin, 34, has been immensely valuable since the Braves acquired him at the 2019 trade deadline. He owns a 2.65 ERA with a 43:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 41 games. Martin is in the final season of a two-year, $14 million deal.

More help is on the way: Right-hander Shane Greene, whom the Braves signed over the weekend, will soon begin his own buildup in Triple-A. So while the team’s bullpen has had its issues, there are reinforcements coming.

“I saw he had a locker down in Gwinnett, and I was hoping I’d see him, but I haven’t seen him yet,” Martin said. “That’s awesome (that he re-signed). He’s a great fit here. Great person, great teammate, great pitcher. He checks all the boxes. I’m excited.”

The Braves entered play Wednesday at 17-18 following Tuesday’s loss to Toronto. The Braves are trying to reach the .500 mark for the fourth time this season. They’ve yet to hold a winning record.