The number 51 had special meaning for the Braves Saturday night at Turner Field.
When No. 51 Jason Frasor stepped on the mound in the fifth, he became the 51st player Atlanta has used this season — a franchise record according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
And no surprise here: 25 of those 51 have made at least one appearance out of the bullpen.
“I don’t even know the numbers to tell you the truth,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said after Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Cubs. “It was a situation where I thought we needed to bring (Frasor) in. Whether he’s the 51st player or the 60th player, I’m sure. But we needed to get a big out there and he delivered. He did a nice job. Inning and a third, getting us through there and keeping them at two runs.”
As Gonzalez said, Frasor finished his Braves debut after 1 1/3 innings. He didn’t allow a hit and struck out two.
Atlanta agreed to terms with Frasor on Wednesday, three days after the Royals released him. It wasn’t that Frasor was bad in Kansas City — he compiled a 1.54 ERA in 26 appearances. But in a bullpen as strong as the defending American League champ’s, his 18 strikeouts to 15 walks didn’t cut it.
“To be honest, they didn’t need me,” Frasor said on Friday. “They are so loaded in that bullpen. They didn’t need me, and I completely get it. No hard feelings. Fortunately, I was able to get another big-league job.”
The Braves tied the franchise record set in 2007 Friday night when Ross Detwiler made his team debut. They signed him earlier that day after he’d been released by the Rangers on Wednesday.
Frasor and Detwiler add some much-needed bullpen depth in the wake of Jason Grilli’s season-ending Achilles tear.
Grilli’s injury is just one part of what’s been a wild month for Atlanta’s relievers. The Braves designated Nick Masset and Dana Eveland for assignment on July 5. Since then they’ve called up Arodys Vizcaino, called up David Carpenter then designated him for assignment, called up and sent down Mike Foltynewicz, sent down Jake Brigham, and called up Ryan Kelly.
Eveland signed a minor-league contract with the Orioles on Friday.
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