Braves promote pitcher Ryan Kelly from Gwinnett

PITTSBURGH—For the second consecutive day the Braves added a long-time minor league player to their roster.

Right-hander Ryan Kelly got the call from Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday. He follows right-hander Jake Brigham, who was promoted from Gwinnett on Saturday.

Kelly, 27, said the Braves told him he could be called up if Saturday’s game against the Pirates were rained out. The game was completed but then Kelly got the news he still would be called up to join the bullpen.

“It’s such a surreal feeling,” he said. “To be in the minor leagues for nine years and finally get that call, words can’t describe the feeling that you have. I’m happy to be here. Hopefully I can continue the success I’ve had so far.”

The Pirates selected Kelly in the 26th round of the 2006 draft out of Walter State Community College in Tennessee. He said injuries limited his effectiveness early in his career. It took him until 2012 to reach the Double- and Triple-A levels in the Padres’ organization.

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The Braves signed Kelly last season and he’s been effective in the minor leagues. In 2014 he had a 2.92 ERA with 49 strikeouts over 40 innings in 30 games between high Single-A Lynchburg and Double-A Mississippi. This year Kelly has posted a 1.15 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings in 27 games between Mississippi and Gwinnett.

“My last couple years I’ve been fortunate to have some good pitching coaches,” Kelly said. “I started throwing a couple new pitches and that’s been a big boost to my career. I started throwing a cutter in 2012, and that’s been a big thing for me (with) just trying to keep hitters off balance.”

To make room for Kelly on the roster, the Braves optioned right-hander Sugar Ray Marimon to Gwinnett.

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