Erlin has agreed to a one-year contract with the Nippon-Ham Fighters of Japan's Pacific League, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. The 30-year-old lefty spent last season with the Pirates and Braves and has a 4.85 ERA in 339.2 MLB innings. He could conceivably re-establish himself as a capable starter while pitching in NPB, which could set him up to return stateside in a year or two.
Erlin was released by the Braves on Monday. Erlin has made five starts and four relief appearances for the Pirates and Braves this season, but things haven't gone particularly well for him. He's struggled to an 8.10 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 26.2 innings of work.
Erlin was designated for assignment by Atlanta on Saturday. Erlin had a rough outing Thursday while starting in place of Max Fried (back), and he'll be cast off the 40-man roster as a result. Sean Newcomb was recalled in a corresponding move, but it's unclear who could take Erlin's place in the rotation going forward.
Erlin allowed five runs on six hits while striking out one across 1.2 innings in Thursday's 7-6 win over the Nationals. He did not issue a walk and did not factor in the decision. Erlin was starting in place of Max Fried (back). The Nats jumped on the southpaw for three runs in the first and added two more to chase him in the second. Erlin's rough outing brought his ERA up to 8.10 on the campaign, though Atlanta rallied back to keep a loss off his record. If the Braves decide to give the swingman another start, it will likely come Tuesday in Baltimore.
Erlin will start Thursday's game against the Nationals, 680 The Fan Atlanta reports. Erlin will fill the rotation spot vacated by Max Fried, who landed on the injured list with a back injury. Erlin has a 7.06 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 20:6 K:BB in 21.2 innings over six outings since being acquired by the Braves. He worked three innings of long relief Monday and is unlikely to have the workload of a traditional starter in his return to the rotation.
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