The Braves have activated right-hander Darren O’Day from the 60-day injured list. The team created a 40-man roster spot by recalling catcher Alex Jackson from Triple-A and then placing Jackson the 60-day IL himself, ending his 2019 season. Outfielder Adam Duvall was also called up from Triple-A.
O’Day is in position to make his first appearance in a Braves uniform, and his first MLB appearance of any kind since June 26 when the veteran reliever was still a member of the Orioles bullpen. O’Day underwent hamstring surgery a few days after that last outing, but was still dealt to Atlanta as part of a six-player deal at the 2018 trade deadline, as O’Day’s inclusion was largely just a salary dump on Baltimore’s part. After suffering forearm problems in Spring Training, however, O’Day has missed all of the 2019 season, and only returned to minor league action on August 23 for the first of four rehab outings.
One of the game’s most underrated relievers from 2012-15, O’Day’s numbers took a step back from outstanding in those four seasons to merely solid over the next three. While he still delivered a 3.56 ERA, 3.44 K/BB rate, and 11/4 K/9 over 111 1/3 IP for the Orioles in 2016-18, O’Day was also plagued by the long ball, as his HR/9 spiked to a 1.4 average over those three seasons. It doesn’t necessarily auger well for a pitcher entering the homer-crazy 2019 baseball season, especially one coming back after over a year’s absence.
Since the Braves do have a healthy seven-game lead in the NL East, however, the team has the flexibility to work O’Day back into the mix in low-pressure situations. If he reveals any of his old form, he could even be a darkhorse contender to earn a spot on Atlanta’s postseason roster. The Braves’ bullpen has been something of a question mark for much of the season, though the trade deadline additions of Shane Greene and Mark Melancon have helped stabilize matters (after some initial bumps). If nothing else, O’Day is hoping for a strong finish to give him some kind of jumping-off point as he enters the free agent market this winter.