The Braves recalled left-handed reliever Ian Krol from Triple-A Gwinnett, adding another experienced major leaguer to a bullpen that’s not been consistenty effective in close games and has leaned heavily on rookie lefty Hunter Cervenka.
He took the roster spot of right-handed reliever Jim Johnson, who went on the 15-day disabled list with a groin strain.
Krol, 25, had a 4.38 ERA and .213 opponents’ average in 12 appearances at Gwinnett, with three of his six runs allowed coming in one inning May 2. In his last appearance Sunday, he had two strikeouts in a perfect inning to record his first save of the season.
Krol was in uniform for Tuesday night’s series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies.
“Talking to some of our player development people, Snit (Gwinnett manager Brian Snitker) and (pitching coach) Marty Reed, this guy can go through some right-handers too,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Krol. “He’s not (just) a specialty lefty. It’s a good time to bring him up, because (the Phillies) have four switch-hitters and two left-handed hitters.
“He’s been pitching well, his last couple of outings his velocity was up to 95, 96 miles an hour.”
In Triple-A, left-handed batters were 3-for-22 (.136) against Krol, with no walks and 10 strikeouts. Right-handers hit .280 with six walks and four strikeouts.
He joins an Atlanta bullpen that’s had two lefties, Cervenka and Eric O’Flaherty, but O’Flaherty has a 4.70 ERA and .290 opponents’ average, including .500 (5-for-10) with a .583 OBP in the late innings of close games.
Cervenka has been one of the bright spots of the Braves’ troubled early season, allowing no runs and a .038 opponents’ average, including 1-for-20 by lefty batters, in 14 appearances.
Krol has a 4.91 ERA in 110 major league appearances over three seasons, with Washington in 2013 and Detroit in 2014-15. He had a 5.79 ERA in 33 appearances last season for the Tigers, with 26 strikeouts and 17 walks in 28 innings.
The Braves acquired Krol and minor league lefty Gabe Speier from the Tigers in a November trade for center fielder Cameron Maybin. Speier was traded a month later in the blockbuster deal that sent Shelby Miller to the Diamondbacks and brought outfielder Ender Inciarte, shortstop prospect Dansby Swanson and pitching prospect Aaron Blair to Atlanta.
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