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Rainout gives bullpen much needed rest

The Sports Xchange
Roster Report · Rainout gives bullpen much needed rest · Notes, Quotes

It's 2:32 p.m. Retired manager Bobby Cox is exiting the Braves clubhouse wearing Bermuda shorts, Hawaiian shirt and running shoes and carrying a paper cup of coffee. He doesn't have time to stop and chat about the cruise from which he and wife Pam have just returned, a retirement gift from the players.

He could have been on the scene for a lot of reasons, but certainly evaluating players is one of them.

The Braves have two soft areas at the moment: pinch-hitting and middle relief.

In the last week, the team has gotten good at-bats from the bench players: infielder Brooks Conrad, infielder Brandon Hicks, infielder-outfielder Eric Hinske.

The bullpen, though, has had its tentative moments, mainly because right-hander Peter Moylan is on the disabled list with a bulging disk in his back.

In addition to being effective, Moylan is valuable because he's a side-armer. Manager Fredi Gonzalez is getting that look from rookie right-hander Cory Gearrin.

"The best way to get a handle on the bullpen," Gonzalez quips, "is for your starters to get eight, eight and a third (innings)."

But since that doesn't always happen, Gonzalez has more or less settled on patterns of use for when the Braves are behind, when they're ahead, when relief is needed early.

Sometimes that means throwing a guy into a situation to see what happens. For example, left-hander Eric O'Flaherty is being given some opportunities to pitch to right-handers as well as to left-handers. That's an opportunity he might not have had had Gonzalez been able to use Moylan.

"We said, let's give this young man an opportunity to get both sides of the plate out," Gonzalez says. He did.

One positive to Tuesday's rainout: Everyone in the bullpen gets a day off.

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2017 Team Leaders
AVGFreddie Freeman , 1B.341
HRFreddie Freeman , 1B14
RBIMatt Kemp , LF27
OBPFreddie Freeman , 1B.461
SLGFreddie Freeman , 1B.748
RFreddie Freeman , 1B35
SBEnder Inciarte , CF9
WMike Foltynewicz , SP3
ERAJaime Garcia , SP3.58
WHIPJaime Garcia , SP1.27
KJulio Teheran , SP42
SVJim Johnson , RP10

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