Early this morning, the Atlanta Braves cut five players from the spring training roster, sending four down to AAA Gwinnett and AA Mississippi. The cuts leave the Braves roster, as of now, at 40 men.
The move will send relief pitchers Juan Jamie and Luis Vasquez, top catching prospect Christian Bethancourt and outfielder Todd Cunningham (happy birthday, Todd!) out to Duluth, while shortstop Elmer Reyes is headed to Mississippi.
Probably the most surprising out of these moves is the sending down of Luis Vasquez, who the Braves picked up over the winter after a strong season in the winter Dominican League, but had to sit out a few games due to a visa issues, as well as a strained lat muscle. He pitched in yesterday’s game against the New York Yankees, in which he went 3.2 innings and only allowed two hits, but did walk six men and allowed two runs to cross the plate.
The AJC’s David O’Brien noted in an article this morning that Vasquez was having some problems with his command, and those six walks yesterday proves it. A month or two in Gwinnett should get him the extra work (or, rather, the work he missed at the beginning of the spring) he needs to join the big club, and I expect him to be the first call made if someone in the bullpen goes down.
Bethancourt and Cunningham shouldn’t be in Gwinnett for long, either, as they should be the first players to get called up in the case of, say, Gerald Laird complaining again and gets benched, or Jordan Schafer or Tyler Pastornicky going on the 15 day DL.
The Braves roster is starting to take it’s final shape, and opening day is just around the corner. As some mistake December for, this is the most wonderful time of the year.