Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino is nearing a return after he was placed on the 10-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation June 24 (retroactive to June 21).
Vizcaino threw a side session Saturday afternoon and likely will receive a rest day before rejoining the club Monday against the Yankees in New York.
“I don’t know that it’ll be tomorrow or Monday that we get him back,” manager Brian Snitker said. “Probably, if he throws a good side today, we’ll give him a recovery day and shoot for Monday.”
Vizcaino hasn’t pitched since June 17 and had a cortisone shot four days later. The team initially targeted a Sunday return, the first eligible day he could return from 10-day disabled list.
The bullpen has floundered in his absence, though that’s not to be attributed to him. The unit blew three leads over the past homestand, posting an ERA north of 5.00.
St. Louis threatened with the bases loaded Friday night, but Dan Winkler came in to record his first career save, with the Braves prevailing 5-1.
Vizcaino owns a 1.82 ERA while holding opponents to a .204 average. He’s struck out 33 in 29-2/3 innings (30 appearances) while converting 15 of his 17 save chances.
He hasn’t been without faults, but Vizcaino was, if not the most reliable, among the more reliable arms in the bullpen. His return would be a boost to a team that will still need to add, internally or externally, another arm or two down the stretch.
Inflammation had been building for Vizcaino, who has a history of arm and shoulder problems. The Braves felt it was safer to shut him down and re-visit in a week.
“I’m hoping this DL will take care of it,” Snitker said June 24. “It’s getting better. It’s better than it was a week ago today, the last time he pitched. We had the off day, we shut him down in Toronto thinking Friday would be good. It’s getting better but it’s still not where it needs to be."
Maybe now, it’s where Vizcaino and the team need it to be. The Braves would welcome the help with road series against the Yankees and Brewers on the horizon.