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Vizcaino draws closer to return, Ramirez struggles in rehab outing

Braves relievers Arodys Vizcaino and Jose Ramirez pitched for Single-A Rome in the postseason Friday night as both work their way back from injuries.

Vizcaino has been sidelined by shoulder inflammation. He hasn’t appeared in a major league game since July 11, and A.J. Minter has since assumed closer duties.

The loss of Vizcaino had a domino effect on the Braves’ bullpen, and the unit mightily struggled before Brad Brach and Jonny Venters arrived as reinforcements. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett, tossing a scoreless inning Sept. 3.

He did so again Friday, but Rome was eliminated. Vizcaino isn’t eligible to return from the 60-day disabled list until Sept. 12, the series finale in San Francisco. He could rejoin the team and continue throwing in the meantime.

Vizcaino would be a late boost. He had a 1.65 ERA with 34 strikeouts across 32-2/3 innings, while adding a career-high 15 saves. The Braves could reinsert him slowly, having him pitch an inning every few days in preparation for a potential role in the postseason.

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Ramirez, meanwhile, was tagged for four earned runs on four hits while only recorded one out Friday. He likely won’t rejoin the club in 2018.

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