The Braves have designated right-hander Roberto Hernandez for assignment as part of a series of roster moves, reports MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (on Twitter). In addition to Hernandez’s DFA, the Braves have optioned right-hander Brandon Cunniff to Triple-A Gwinnett, recalled right-hander Akeel Morris from Double-A Mississippi and selected the contract of right-hander Jason Hursh from Gwinnett.
Hernandez, 35, made two starts within the past week for the Braves but served up eight runs on 13 hits and a walk with six strikeouts in nine innings. Four of those hits cleared the outfield fence, thus accounting for the vast majority of the runs he surrendered. While those results, clearly, are uninspiring, Hernandez proved at least capable of delivering a mid-4.00 ERA from 2013-15 with the Rays, Phillies, Dodgers and Astros, as he pitched to a 4.45 earned run average with 5.8 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a ground-ball rate near 52 percent. His Triple-A work this season, split between the Jays and Braves, was largely similar, as he posted a 4.60 ERA in 86 innings of work. If he doesn’t get another crack in the Majors this season, Hernandez should still be able to secure another minor league pact to serve as rotation depth for a club heading into the 2017 campain.
As for the players being added to the Braves’ roster, Morris was acquired from the Mets earlier this year in exchange for Kelly Johnson. The return for Johnson was somewhat of a surprise, as Morris ranked as a solid prospect within the Mets’ system. Morris is a relief prospect with a big fastball, gaudy strikeout numbers and questionable control, and none of that changed when he switched organizations. He’s posted a 2.78 ERA and averaged 11.9 K/9 in 22 2/3 innings with Atlanta’s Double-A affiliate, but he’s also issued 17 walks in that time. The 24-year-old Hursh was a first-round pick by the Braves back in 2013 (No. 31 overall), but he’s moved from the rotation to the bullpen in recent seasons. In 64 innings of relief between Double-A and Triple-A, he’s turned in a 1.83 ERA this year, though that pristine mark comes with a less exciting 45-to-26 K/BB ratio.