Braves rookie reliever Jason Hursh throws to first after fielding a grounder on Thursday Feb. 16, 2017, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista. Curtis Compton/

Braves’ Hursh optioned to Triple-A, leaves good impression

SAN DIEGO – Jason Hursh was optioned back to Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday for the third time this season, but the Braves rookie reliever made a good enough impression that he seems likely to return before too long.

Hursh has a 1.59 ERA in six major league appearances this season, allowing five hits, one run and three walks with four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Significant improvement from 2016, when he made two appearances and gave up four hits, five runs and three walks in 1 1/3 innings (33.75 ERA).

“He’s growing, he’s getting confidence in his abilities and he’s taking steps forward,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Hursh, 25, a first-round draft pick in 2013. “Just got to keep going. He’s learning, they’re working on things, so it was encouraging the last two times (Hursh has been up).

“Just his mound presence, he looked more like a confident guy, like he expected (to do well), whereas before it was before it was a throw-and-hope type thing. But now he was kind of a little bit more sure of himself, I thought. It’s good to see. I pull like heck for him. He’s a great kid, he works hard, has a great outlook on things, so I really pull for him to do well.”

Hursh was optioned in order to open a roster spot for Bartolo Colon, who came off the disabled list to start Wednesday and had another in his string of poor outings, allowing six runs to raise his ERA to 8.14.

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