Left-handed reliever Sean Burnett has opted out of his minor league contract with the Braves, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter). The 33-year-old is now a free agent, joining fellow southpaw Neal Cotts as an experienced southpaw available to clubs in need of some left-handed help in the bullpen.
Burnett began the season with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate and struggled a bit, walking six batters and striking out five in 7 2/3 innings, though he was more solid in six appearances with Atlanta’s Triple-A affiliate, firing 5 1/3 shutout innings with five strikeouts and a walk. Overall, he’s sporting a 1.38 ERA and, more importantly, has been healthy enough to take the ball consistently this season. Burnett battled elbow problems in 2013 and 2014, ultimately undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and missing the entirety of the 2015 season recovering from that procedure. Prior to those injury struggles, Burnett was a very solid bullpen option with the Nationals and Pirates, posting a 2.85 ERA in 234 innings of relief from 2009-12. He’s also held lefties to a .228/.293/.336 batting line in 315 opportunities over the course of his career.