Michael Tonkin returns to Braves’ bullpen

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Michael Tonkin is back.

The Braves on Thursday returned him from his rehab assignment. They optioned right-hander Roddery Muñoz, whom they called up Tuesday, to Triple-A Gwinnett.

At the end of last month, the Braves placed Tonkin on the 15-day injured list with a strained neck as the corresponding move to bring up Dylan Dodd for that start.

On Tuesday, Tonkin pitched a scoreless inning for Gwinnett. Now, he’s back in the Braves’ bullpen.

“It’s good to have him back, just because he did a really good job for us,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “And we’ve used as kind of like that Swiss Army Knife guy. We’ve used him in leverage innings. It’s a good guy to have down there.”

Tonkin made the team out of camp and has served his role well. He eats innings and has pitched whenever the Braves need.

He has a 3.42 ERA over 26-1/3 innings. But in the three outings that preceded his stint on the injured list, he allowed nine runs – six earned – over 7-1/3 innings. He served up two homers during that stretch.

Tonkin is valuable for the Braves. As a long man out of the bullpen, he often saves other relievers, especially when games are out of hand.

The Braves’ bullpen has recently gotten on a nice roll. The group has taken heat, but the last week has been encouraging.

Before Wednesday’s seventh inning, the bullpen hadn’t allowed a run in 17 1/3 innings. A.J. Minter has pitched much better. Raisel Iglesias’ return has helped the situation. Nick Anderson has continued to pitch well. Collin McHugh and Jesse Chavez have capably served their roles.

And now, Tonkin is back.