In a move that could take away a bit of intrigue from the trade deadline, the Braves have announced the placement of closer Arodys Vizcaino on the 15-day disabled list. The right-hander left the Braves’ game against the Rockies on Friday after just three pitches because of an oblique injury. Atlanta has activated left-handed reliever Eric O’Flaherty from the DL to take Vizcaino’s roster spot.
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Vizcaino drew interest from the Red Sox as recently as three weeks ago, but his newfound performance issues and injury will likely keep him in a Braves uniform for the rest of the season.
“Anybody who gets [an oblique strain], they’re just so time consuming,” Braves manager Brian Snitker told Mark Bowman of MLB.com. “You’ve got to calm everything down until they’re not feeling anything before you can let them begin throwing again.”
In his most recent five pre-injury appearances, Vizcaino allowed five earned runs on eight hits and seven walks while recording only a pair of strikeouts. In total, the 25-year-old has amassed a career-high 36 innings this season and logged a 3.00 ERA, 11.75 K/9, 5.5 BB/9, 54.8 percent ground-ball rate and converted 10 of 13 save opportunities. Since establishing himself as a quality major league reliever last season, the former well-regarded prospect has put up a stingy 2.33 ERA to go with 10.85 K/9 and 4.52 BB/9 across 69 2/3 frames. Vizcaino’s production, youth and team control (three arbitration-eligible years remaining) could have combined to make him an interesting name around the deadline.
With Vizcaino on the shelf, the Braves will likely turn to veteran Jim Johnson as their closer, according to Bowman. Johnson has 136 career saves on his resume, including back-to-back 50-save campaigns in 2012 and ’13.