The Braves’ taxed bullpen has help on the way.
Arodys Vizcaino will rejoin the team when it begins its next homestand Friday. He hasn’t pitched since July 11 due to shoulder inflammation, thus removing one of the more valuable pieces for the backend of the bullpen.
Vizcaino recorded a career-high 15 saves before the injury. It required two stints on the disabled list, the most recent one ultimately placing him on the 60-day DL. His first eligible day to return is Wednesday, but with the Braves wrapping up their series in San Francisco, it made more sense to bring Vizcaino back in Atlanta.
He made two rehab appearances in Triple-A Gwinnett and Single-A Rome, tossing a scoreless inning in each.
The 27-year-old provided a 1.65 ERA with 34 strikeouts across 32-2/3 innings. The Braves’ plan is to work him in slowly with the goal of him being back to form during the final week of the season.
“That could be really big,” manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s going to take a while. We’ll get him out there controlled. We won’t be back-to-backing him. But try to keep him as regular as we can. You get him built back up – and he says he feels really good, so that’s a good thing – I think that’d be a huge, huge bullet for us.”
The bullpen might be the Braves’ lone weakness right now. Dan Winkler, Jesse Biddle and A.J. Minter are among the usually reliable options whose innings have piled up. Vizcaino, when healthy, is arguably the best of the bunch and could work the eighth and ninth innings if the Braves made the postseason.
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