“I don’t think people know he’s just even-keel,” Minter said. “There’s no situation too big. I wish I could have his mindset at some points, just because he just doesn’t really get fired up. He’s just cool, calm and collected. That’s what you want in big situations in games. You don’t want guys that are going to go out there and let the emotions get the best of them.
“He’s always going to come in and throw strikes, he’s always very dependable. It’s just a huge asset for us.”
Lee on Saturday threw a live batting practice session that went well, manager Brian Snitker said. Now, the focus turns to his next rehab outing.
Lee hasn’t pitched in a rehab game in a week. The Braves wanted to give him time to recover after he threw 6 1/3 innings between Aug. 5 and Aug. 20 to begin his rehab assignment. This is why they scheduled him for live batting practice in the middle of a rehab assignment.
It seems the important date here is Sept. 1. This is when rosters expand. On Friday, the Braves can carry 28 players, instead of 26, through the remainder of the regular season. One of those two extra spots will go to a pitcher, and it could go to Lee – even if he’s not activated on Friday.
On his rehab assignment, Lee has experienced occasional soreness, which is normal after a long layoff. The Braves are being careful and want to ensure he’s 100% when he returns because they’d like him to be built up to pitch on back-to-back days, or even go three days in a row if eventually necessary.
One of Lee’s best traits is his versatility.
“He can pitch multiple (innings), he can come in (for) late innings,” Minter said. “He can do anything you want. You can start him if you want.”
Last season, Lee posted a 2.13 ERA over 50 2/3 innings. He became a reliable option for Atlanta.
“Just was very impressive with how he handled everything and what he did,” Snitker said. “Hopefully he can get back and help us this year at some point.”
Pitchers can only be on a rehab assignment for a maximum of 30 days. Lee has minor-league options, but at this point, he doesn’t seem like someone the Braves would option to Triple A when they return him from his rehab assignment. He appears ticketed to join the big club soon.
Atlanta’s bullpen might soon receive a boost, which should have benefits that extend into October.
“I’m obviously biased, but I think bullpens win postseason games,” Minter said. “You have to have starting pitching over 162 (games) because you can’t blow out a bullpen throughout 162 games. But once you get into the postseason, obviously, you tend to see starters go a little bit less and you hand it off to your bullpen guys. It’s very critical for bullpen arms to show up in the postseason. It’s nice. You have to have depth, you have to have left-handers, you have to have right-handers, you have to do multiple innings – everything.”
Braves will see on Ozzie Albies
Ozzie Albies on Sunday went through his latest workout as he continued rehabbing and testing his strained left hamstring.
He looked good, Snitker said.
Could the Braves get him back on Monday?
“We’ll just see,” Snitker said. “He did really good today, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Braves build in a spot start for Colorado series
For the three-game series in Colorado, the Braves will start Bryce Elder on Monday and Charlie Morton on Tuesday.
They have listed a “TBA” for Wednesday. They built in another spot start, which allows them to give their starters extra rest while also letting them save Spencer Strider to start Thursday’s opener at Dodger Stadium.