Arodys Vizcaino, Shane Carle, Brandon McCarthy and Peter Moylan form the bullpen depth the Braves expect to add in the final weeks of the season.
Each reliever is nearing or on a rehab assignment. Rosters expand from 25 to 40 on Sept. 1, which would give the Braves the luxury of their help without the expense of anyone else on in the clubhouse.
Moylan and McCarthy began their rehab assignments with Triple-A Gwinnett in Charlotte on Saturday. McCarthy, who operated as a starter during his healthy portions of the season, will be available in one-or-two inning chunks as his career comes to a close, manager Brian Snitker previously indicated.
In his 13th season, McCarthy produced a 4.92 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 78-2/3 innings. Before hitting the disabled list with knee tendinitis, McCarthy struggled. Opponents averaged 10.8 hits per nine against him, while his 7.4 strikeouts per nine continued his steady decline from a season ago.
Moylan, 39, had a 4.45 mark in 28-1/3 innings. He hadn’t pitched since July 28 with a forearm strain.
Carle, whom Snitker once called the team’s pitching MVP earlier in the year, will throw a live batting practice Sunday and will embark on a rehab assignment next week. The righty adds length to the bullpen and posted a 3.15 ERA in 54-1/3 innings.
The 26-year-old had only four innings under his belt entering the season. He had a 41:23 strikeout-to-walk ratio while limiting opponents to a .228 average. He was placed on the DL with shoulder inflammation Aug. 7.
Vizcaino, also sidelined by shoulder inflammation, hadn’t pitched since July 11. He began throwing in mid-August and could start a rehab outing by the end of next week. Snitker said Vizcaino likely would require just an inning of work.
Formerly the Braves closer, Vizcaino owns a 1.65 ERA with 15 saves over 32-2/3 innings. He struck out 34 and walked 12 with opposing batters hitting just .210 off him. A.J. Minter has since taken over closer duties, but Vizcaino could join Brad Brach as a primary late-inning option.
Gwinnett’s season ends Sept. 3. Each reliever is expected back before mid-September, if not much sooner.
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