Braves’ Fredi G. says Cahill move to bullpen ‘not permanent’

The Braves demoted right-hander Trevor Cahill to the bullpen after three lackluster starts but manager Fredi Gonzalez said Cahill won’t necessarily stay there.

Cahill won’t make his scheduled start on Friday after he pitched two innings in relief on Thursday against the Nationals. Gonzalez said the plan is for Cahill to serve as the long reliever.

“I told him this was not a permanent move,” Gonzalez said. “A lot of things can happen, right? You think he’s going to be in the bullpen for a couple of weeks and then one of our guys sprains a toe and he’s back in the rotation. For right now, he can help us out of the bullpen.”

The Braves were to announce Friday’s starter after they played the Reds on Thursday night. They are expected to call up prospect Mike Foltynewicz from Triple-A Gwinnett to make the start.

The Braves acquired Cahill in a trade with Arizona near the end of spring camp. They sent minor league outfielder Josh Elander to the Diamondbacks, who also gave the Braves $6.5 million to offset most of Cahill’s $12.5 million salary this season.

The Braves penciled in Cahill as their No. 5 starter but he was 0-3 with an 8.03 ERA in his three starts. Cahill lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his Braves debut, pitched just four innings in his second start and gave up four runs in six innings in his third outing.

Cahill pitched two innings against the Nationals on Thursday for his 17th career relief appearance. He allowed six hits and four runs with a walk to raise his career ERA as a reliever to 3.64 and his walks and hits per inning pitched to 1.48.

In 173 career starts Cahill is 62-70 with a 4.16 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.

“He’s had more success out of the bullpen than as a starter,” Gonzalez said. “We felt that he can help us bridge the gap to the back end of the bullpen and I think he still can. I think yesterday’s outing was the first time he was out of the bullpen after he started. Maybe he wasn’t as comfortable.”

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