Touki Toussaint steps in for Braves, earns win in hometown

The minors-to-majors conveyor belt dropped right-hander Touki Toussaint off in his hometown on Friday, but he may not stay in the bigs for long – at least not right now.

Toussaint, a 22-year-old South Floridian, was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett after right-hander Shane Carle was sent down to the same club.

This is Toussaint’s second stint with the Braves this year. He also had two stints with the Braves as a 2018 rookie.

“There’s nothing wrong with that,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of the Gwinnett-to-Atlanta shuffle. “Sometimes guys go back – that’s just the way this industry is if you have options.

“Until you are out of options and force someone’s hand – you look around the league, and that’s where we’re at now.”

Toussaint went 2-1 as a rookie with a 4.03 ERA in seven appearances, including five starts. This year, he was 1-0 with an unsightly 8.59 ERA in two appearances, including one start.

However, he was pressed into service on Friday night when starter Kevin Gausman was ejected. Toussaint (2-0) earned the win, allowing one run in four innings and striking out six while lowering his ERA to 6.35.

Because of how much he was used on Friday – 76 pitches – he may get another trip to the minors because he would be unavailable for the Braves for at least three or four days.

Asked prior to the game about his role, Toussaint said: “It’s whatever helps the team win. I can’t say I’m a starter. I can’t say I’m a bullpen guy.”

What Toussaint is – at least on Friday – is thrilled. He said his mother and lots of other family members and friends were in the stands on Friday.

“Every time you get that call (to the majors), it feels good,” he said. “I’m glad to be here. I’m glad (the Braves) like me here. It’s exciting. It’s humbling. It’s a blessing.”

Toussaint, the 16th overall selection in the 2014 MLB Draft, has a fastball that can touch the upper 90s and one of the best curveballs in the Braves system.

His curve misses bats – or as Snitker said, “He can spin the ball really well.”

But, even at Gwinnett this year, Toussaint had a 5.62 ERA in two starts, allowing 12 hits and five walks in eight innings.

Even so, the Braves still have faith in Toussaint.

“Touki’s got great stuff,” center fielder Ender Inciarte said. “It’s just a matter of time until he figures out the best way to get hitters out.

“He has such a good arsenal that he can use against any hitter. It’s just up to him to be a little more consistent. The more you can be consistent, the longer you can be playing in this game.

“We have a lot of young players on this team,” Inciarte said. “But Touki is one of the young players who I think has the best talent. It’s up to him to keep working, focus and do what we know he can do.”

Donaldson back in lineup

Snitker on third baseman Josh Donaldson, who returned to the lineup Friday after missing three games because of a sore right calf: “Hopefully everything’s quieted down. He’s been around the block. He knows how to manage things like this and when to push. But it’s a big bat out of our lineup when he’s not in there.”

Donaldson went 3-for-5 with three RBIs.