Luiz Gohara returned to the Braves clubhouse Sunday morning and was activated after a nine-day absence to visit his ailing mother in Brazil.
The left-hander was placed on the bereavement list May 25, a day after making his first start of the season in Philadelphia. He returned to his native country to be with his mother, who’s recovering from heart surgery. Gohara’s mother was in better condition than he expected, and she was released from the hospital two days into his trip.
“She’s doing pretty good,” Gohara said. “She’s out of the hospital, recovering at home with a doctor taking care of everything. It was good to hear she’s talking to me, smiling and walking, eating very well. She’s going to recover very fast.
“I was happy to see her, to be there. I didn’t need to say a word. Just to look in her eyes and say ‘I’m here for you. I came down here for you.’”
Gohara, 21, has endured an emotional six months. His father died in December and his mother has battled heart problems. On the field, he essentially missed spring training with groin and ankle injuries, spoiling his bid for a starting rotation spot.
He didn’t join the major league team until May 8. He made three relief appearances before going four innings and striking out six in his first start, a 4-0 loss to the Phillies.
“I feel a big relief after seeing she’s doing better,” Gohara said of his clearer thoughts. “I got one thing on my mind, that’s to concentrate and go out and pitch because I know she’s doing very well down there, and I have a doctor who’s going to be posting with me everything.”
Gohara was keeping himself game ready in South America, throwing at a familiar academy. He said he could pitch Sunday if needed.
Braves manager Brian Snitker previously said the team would have Gohara throw a side session and evaluate his role from there. The team views him as a starter long-term, but his immediate future is likely in the bullpen.
Gohara didn’t know the plan for him as of Sunday morning.
“I’d been throwing bullpens, playing catch, working out,” he said. “I went to the academy where I came from in 2012. That’s where they have all the best players in Brazil trying to get signed. They have a couple catchers there, so just pick one and throw a bullpen, play catch.”
Gohara was expected to arrive Friday evening, but was delayed two days after two flight cancellations and missing a flight because of Brazil’s gas shortage.
A massive truckers’ strike launched May 21 has created problems in the country. The truckers, heavily relied upon in Brazilian commerce, have protested diesel price increases and want higher pay. It’s produced shortages of gas and perishable goods, reduced public transportation services, and ran interference with hospitals and airports.
Gohara was unable to get to the airport because all the surrounding gas stations were empty, he said. He’d remained in contact with the Braves and updated them on the recurring problems.
“City’s out of gas, planes getting cancelled and everything,” Gohara said. “So it’s been tough down there in Brazil.”
Gohara had to be moved from the bereavement list to the restricted list, since the maximum time allowed on the former is a week. The only real difference is the Braves could opt not to pay him for the brief restricted list stint.
He was activated prior to Sunday’s game. Right-hander Miguel Socolovich, who allowed two runs in Saturday’s loss to the Nationals, was outrighted to Triple-A Gwinnett.
“At least I made it,” Gohara said. “I’m here now. Let’s go forward and get our wins.”
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