Braves option A.J. Minter to Triple-A

Braves pitcher A.J. Minter.  Curtis Compton/



Braves pitcher A.J. Minter. Curtis Compton/

The Braves optioned struggling reliever A.J. Minter to Triple-A. Minter, who entered Thursday’s game with a 9.00 ERA before allowing the winning run, split closer duties for the club last season.

“He needs to hit the reset button,” manager Brian Snitker said. “I always allude to the fact he didn’t have spring training. The more I’m around, the more I’ve seen guys - we all get ticked off on how long spring training is, but it’s that long for a purpose. And he missed it.

“I’ve been part of the rehab process in Triple-A, and it’s just not the same as the major leagues. I think A.J. got behind a little bit and he’s been trying to catch up.”

Lefty Jonny Venters returned from his rehab assignment to replace Minter, who had walked nine and struck out 16 in 11 innings.

Minter figured heavily into the Braves’ bullpen plans, but he hasn’t been the same since shoulder soreness deteriorated his spring.

In his first full season, Minter owned a 3.23 ERA and struck out 69 over 65 appearances. The southpaw notched 15 saves.

“We need him,” Snitker said. “We need him to be a big part of what we’re trying to do here. A.J. is too important to us. It wasn’t going to happen here. You can’t simulate situations here. He can go down there now, relax and work on his mechanics and get his stuff back going again.”