Darren O’Day not any closer to return

Braves pitcher Darren O'Day works out in spring training.
Braves pitcher Darren O'Day works out in spring training.

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Braves reliever Darren O’Day isn’t close to a return. O’Day, whose 2018 season was cut short by a hamstring injury, has battled forearm tightness.

O’Day has been playing catch, but unlike the other ailed Braves pitchers, he’s not far enough along to set a timetable for his return.

“He’s just playing catch,” manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s way too far out to know (what he’s doing when). But it’s been positive for him.”

O’Day had a 3.60 ERA over 20 appearances last season. He was one of the sport’s better relievers in the past nine years. His last full season, he posted a 3.43 ERA in 64 games (2017).

The 36-year-old joined the Braves last July while on the injured list (previously the disabled list). He was included as a salary dump portion of the Kevin Gausman deal with Baltimore. The Braves still saw him as a long-term asset, hoping he'd recover and bolster the bullpen this season as a veteran with closing experience.

Unfortunately for them, O’Day pitched in just one exhibition game — March 1 — and has spent the spring trying to get right. The Braves’ bullpen is in desperate need of upgrades, and O’Day, who commands a $9 million salary this season, would be a boost.

But for now, the team can’t count on the righty as its saving grace anytime soon.

“I don’t think it’s anything destructive,” Snitker said of O’Day’s forearm. “Once they amp up and start throwing sides again, that’ll be the next part of the equation.”

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