Gant to Braves’ DL with strained oblique, now what?

Just when John Gant seemed poised to keep a spot in the Braves’ injury-thinned starting rotation at least through the All-Star break, the rookie strained an oblique muscle in his left side Tuesday and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

“Yeah, it’s frustrating to get into the swing of things and then have to kind of take a back seat for a minute,” Gant said after the roster move Wednesday. “But I’ll bounce back.”

The Braves recalled right-hander Casey Kelly from Triple-A Gwinnett to give them an extra arm in the bullpen for now.

Gant has bounced back and forth between Triple-A and the majors all season. He’s struggled as a big league reliever – 6.17 ERA, .326 opponents’ average in seven appearances – but has a 3.38 ERA and .235 opponents’ average in four games as a starter.

“I hate it for him,” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said of the injury. “He was throwing good. I don’t know if I’ve seen (an oblique strain) pitching-wise; usually it’s a hitting thing. But they’re just such a touchy thing, it’s going to be a while probably before he can get out there and get rotational and torque (pitches) and all that.”

The Braves announced late Tuesday that right-hander Joel De La Cruz, 27, would be brought up from Triple-A to start Wednesday against the Indians in his major league debut. He pitched eight innings of three-run ball Friday in his fifth start since moving from the bullpen, and has a 3.38 ERA as a starter at Gwinnett.

Mike Foltynewicz is nearing a return from the DL and is in line to start Thursday if the Braves have him skip his last scheduled minor league rehab start. Julio Teheran has already been moved to Friday, giving him an extra day of rest and presumably clearing the way for Foltynewicz’s return.

They haven’t decided who’ll replace Gant in the rotation, but Snitker indicated they would not rush Aaron Blair back to the majors after sending the struggling rookie down to Triple-A this week. Wednesday would’ve been Blair’s next turn.

The Braves could piece together a start in Gant’s vacated spot by using Tyrell Jenkins working the first four or five innings. Jenkins, who made his major league debut with four relief innings Tuesday, had been a starter at Gwinnett before moving to the bullpen last month in order to get him on clearer and quicker path to the majors.