As expected, the Atlanta Braves will welcome a familiar face back to the bullpen on Tuesday night in Colorado, as relief pitcher Jordan Walden has been activated from the 15-day disabled list. In order to make room on the 25-man active roster, the team has elected to send young left-hander Alex Wood to triple-A Gwinnett, presumably to stretch him out for starting pitching duty.
RHP Jordan Walden has been activated from the DL and LHP Alex Wood has been optioned to Gwinnett.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 10, 2014
Atlanta’s bullpen has been without the hard-throwing Walden since May 4th, and things haven’t been entirely smooth-sailing from that point, as the group has amassed an ERA over 5.00 in that lengthy period of time. The 26-year-old right-hander has been incredibly effective when on the mound this season, posting a 2.92 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP with 10.91 strikeouts per 9 innings, but injury concerns have plagued him throughout the campaign, and Fredi Gonzalez must be crossing his fingers for continued health.
In the case of Wood, this is a move that I have been in favor of for weeks, but the timing is slightly curious at this stage. With both Gavin Floyd and Aaron Harang exceeding any rational expectation, there isn’t an “obvious” candidate to remove from the rotation, and this move will undoubtedly fuel the fire that Frank Wren could be exploring a trade of either Floyd or Harang while their value is peaking.
For the season, the 23-year-old Wood has put together a 3.43 ERA over 60.1 innings, and the left-hander has one of the better arsenals on the entire roster. The stated plan for Wood was always to keep his innings low in order to allow him to act as a starting pitcher throughout the season, and this move echoes that sentiment while clearing room for the team’s second-best reliever. Hopefully, this will also signal the end of the “yo-yo” routine for Wood, and from this point forward, he should be operating as a full-time starter.
Stay tuned as the roster decisions play out, but for now, it is time to welcome back Jordan Walden and bid adieu to Alex Wood for the time being.