The Braves optioned Casey Kelly back to Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday, a day after the rookie pitched four solid relief innings in a 13-inning loss to Milwaukee on just two days’ rest since his last start.
Reliever Chris Withrow was recalled from Gwinnett to give the Braves a fresh arm in the bullpen, since Kelly wouldn’t have been available for at least 4-5 days and wouldn’t have been able to make his originally scheduled Saturday start due to the emergency relief appearance.
The Braves haven’t announced a Saturday starter against the Marlins, but Aaron Blair is expected to be recalled from Triple-A for that assignment.
“We sent Casey back, which might go down as one of the tougher things I’ve done, after what he did last night,” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said Thursday afternoon, shortly after informing Kelly of the move. “He gets (the reason for the move). I told Rog (pitching coach Roger McDowell) last night when he was pitching, we probably need to stay away from this kid for a week and let him regroup, after what he did.”
“Really didn’t want to have to do it, but it’s kind of all-hands-on-deck right now, and to get another arm will be good.”
After using the entire bullpen – seven relievers — to pitch 3 1/3 innings through the ninth inning Wednesday, Snitker called on Kelly, who threw 85 pitches Sunday at Philadelphia and also threw in the bullpen before Wednesday’s game, his regular between-starts side session.
He shrugged off the short rest and threw 77 pitches four innings against the Brewers, allowing five hits, one run and three walks.
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