SARASOTA, Fla. — The Braves’ search for a second left-handed reliever has them looking outside and within the organization, and Kyle Kinman is the latest and perhaps most improbable candidate to emerge.
The 25-year-old hasn’t pitched above Double-A and wasn’t invited to major league spring training, but Kinman impressed again Tuesday night against the Orioles in his third Grapefruit League appearance when brought over from minor league camp. He’s allowed one hit and no walks with two strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings, and the lone hit was questionable.
He entered Tuesday with a runner at second base in the sixth inning. Kinman recorded three outs in three batters, including ground outs from both lefties, Chris Davis and Pedro Alvarez, who hit into an inning-ending double play after Mark Trumbo’s catchable grounder got past minor league third baseman Brandon Snyder and was ruled an RBI single.
“The two guys really impressive were Kinman, especially against those left-handers; those were major league left-handers and he got them out,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, “and then (Dan) Winkler.”
Winkler struck out the side in the eighth inning, after Jason Grilli had two strikeouts and allowed one hit in the seventh.
Kinman was a 25th-round pick in the June 2014 draft out of Bellevue University in his native Nebraska, and has a 2.21 ERA and 108 strikeouts with 32 walks in 81 1/3 innings over parts of two minor league seasons.
In his first full season of pro ball in 2015, Kinman posted a 2.09 ERA with 18 saves in 44 appearances at three levels, totaling 65 strikeouts with 26 walks in 51 2/3 innings.That included 15 appearances for Double-A Mississippi, where he had a a 3.14 ERA, six saves and 19 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings.