On Tuesday, the Braves activated reliever Jordan Walden off the disabled list. The big question all along was who’s spot he’d take once he was healthy. Well, Alex Wood got the word that he was heading to Triple-A to once again serve as a starter. Wood is expected to make his first start with Gwinnett on Friday night and go three innings or 60 pitches. Wood told me he didn’t think he’d need more than three starts to be stretched out enough to be good to go close to 100 pitches.
Don’t expect Wood to be in Gwinnett long. From what I gather, the Braves will look to strengthen a bullpen that has certainly been vulnerable the last few weeks. The back end of the pen isn’t the issue. Shae Simmons has been outstanding since being called up from Mississippi two weeks ago, and of course, Craig Kimbrel isn’t going anywhere.
David Carpenter & Luis Avilan, two of the most reliable arms in the Braves pen last season haven’t been nearly as sharp as they were last season. Anthony Varvaro’s last few appearances have been shaky to say the least. And, Jordan Walden is certainly showing signs of rust from missing nearly six weeks of the season with a left hamstring strain.
So, this means the Braves will likely look to move either Gavin Floyd or Aaron Harang via trade in search of some help for a bullpen that once boasted the best ERA in all of baseball. In my opinion, Floyd would seem like the most logical candidate. His one year deal is loaded with incentives and will likely make him the odd man out once Alex Wood is ready. Like I said, he won’t be with Gwinnett long. The Braves picture him as a starter at the Major League level and have not seen him adapt to the role of reliever like they would have liked. The date on the calendar I’m keeping my eye on is Saturday June 28th. The Braves will be at the tail end of a 11 game road trip with a double header in Philly. With the rules, Atlanta can use the “26th man” which would give Wood one extra day of rest after making three starts at Triple-A.
All that said, a lot can change between now and then. As Fredi likes to always say, these things always take care of themselves. But, it would shock me if both Harang and Floyd aare on the team come July 1.
Kevin McAlpin covers the Braves for the @BravesRadioNet. Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinMcAlpin.
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