The Braves placed right-hander Jackson Stephens on the 7-day concussion IL and recalled fellow righty Jay Jackson, the team announced today. Per Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Stephens has been diagnosed with a mild concussion. He suffered the injury when a Brendan Donovan liner ricocheted off his forehead in the ninth inning of the Braves’ blowout win over the Cardinals last night.
Should Jackson find his way into a game, it’ll be his first action with the Braves, though his recall marks his second stint with the big-league club this year. He had previously been called up when Max Fried went on the concussion IL earlier this month but did not enter a game.
In 56 1/3 innings in the majors across parts of three seasons with the Padres, Brewers, and Giants, the 34-year-old — who also spent three years pitching in Japan for the Hiroshima Carp — owns a 4.31 ERA (4.22 FIP) as well as a stellar 32.6% strikeout rate and a not-so-stellar 12.8% walk rate. He’s performed admirably in limited action for Triple-A Gwinnett this year, posting a 1.72 ERA in 15 2/3 innings with a 29.5% strikeout rate and a much more palatable 4.9% walk rate.
Stephens, who hadn’t appeared in a major league game since a 2018 stint with the Reds heading into the season, had been something of a revelation at the back end of a top-notch Braves bullpen. While bad luck against the Cardinals last night marred his season numbers somewhat, he still owns a 3.89 ERA (3.56 FIP) in 44 innings across 32 appearances. In a bullpen that also includes Kenley Jansen, A.J. Minter, Tyler Matzek, Colin McHugh, and Raisel Iglesias (who essentially took the place of Will Smith), Stephens has mostly pitched in low-leverage situations, though not exclusively.
It isn’t yet clear how long Stephens will be out, but he’s probably a safe bet for the Braves’ postseason roster, presuming he’s back and ready to pitch by then. Jackson may benefit from the forthcoming expansion of rosters on the first of September, though the Braves have a pair of pitchers nearing return (Darren O’Day and Mike Soroka, who’s slated to make his third rehab start today as he works his way back from a pair of achilles tears) that could well create a roster crunch sooner than later, even with an extra spot available in the bullpen.