The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind for Brad Brach.
The veteran reliever found out that he had been traded by the Orioles to the Braves on Sunday afternoon, was on a plane to Atlanta Monday morning and in his new uniform that evening.
While the destination was a question mark in Brach’s mind before Orioles’ general manager Dan Duquette broke the news, the possibility of a trade had been weighing on Brach for a while.
“I read a comment from the GM about two weeks ago, so for the last two weeks it’s been really tough to concentrate on just baseball stuff,” he said before Monday’s game against the Marlins. “You feel like every time you go out there is like a tryout. It’s actually funny, last night was probably the most relaxed I was. Once I knew where I was going, I know where I’m going to spend the next two months.”
The transition to Atlanta has been a smooth one so far, as two familiar faces greeted Brach in the clubhouse. Former Orioles teammates Nick Markakis made the move from Baltimore in 2014 and Ryan Flaherty followed suit earlier this year. Flaherty and Brach remained close friends, and the two could foster good chemistry in the locker room.
“He’s one of the best teammates you can have,” Flaherty said when asked about Brach. “He’s going to help out in this locker room. He has veteran leadership, and he’s pitched in a lot of big, meaningful games there when I was with him.”
Brach will be with the Braves through the end of the season. However, if the 6-foot-6 right-hander can escape the slump he fell into earlier this month, he could earn an extended stay in SunTrust Park.
Of the 6⅔ innings Brach pitched this month, he allowed 10 earned runs and owns a 10.80 ERA. The stats are a departure from 2012-17. In 346 appearances, Brach had 411 strikeouts and posted a 2.96 ERA.
The 32-year old wasn’t shy about discussing his weaknesses and recognized what’s plagued his performances this season.
“This year I’ve really struggled with two outs and two strikes,” he said. “That’s been pretty much the difference between this year and all the other years. I’ve given up a ton of runs just trying to get that last strike out there. I’ve been putting way too much emphasis on trying to get that last one as opposed to going out there and doing what I do.”
Brach replaced Jesse Biddle in the eight inning to make his first appearance with the Braves on Monday night. In 19 pitches, Branch threw 12 strikes. He gave up a single to Starlin Castro but otherwise came away from his first outing unscathed.
Brach’s wife, country music singer Jenae Cherry, replied to emotional tweets about the couple’s departure from Baltimore, but Brach said he is excited to be in Atlanta and is looking forward to helping the team for the stretch run.
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