5:58PM: The Braves officially announced the roster moves.
5:50PM: Tanner Roark’s contract has also been selected, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports (Twitter link). Roark inked a minor league deal with Atlanta shortly after the Blue Jays released him in early May. The veteran righty is looking for a fresh start after posting a 6.75 ERA over 54 2/3 innings for Toronto since the start of the 2020 season. In corresponding moves, Atlanta optioned right-handers Kyle Wright and Ty Tice to Triple-A, while catcher Alex Jackson and lefty Tucker Davidson were moved to the 60-day IL to create space for Chavez and Roark on the 40-man roster.
12:26PM: The Braves will select the contract of right-hander Jesse Chavez to start a bullpen game against the Reds tonight, tweets Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Chavez signed a minor league pact with the Braves back in April.
It was already known that Atlanta would be going with a bullpen game Thursday after recently placing Max Fried on the injured list due to a blister and playing a pair of doubleheaders this week. The Braves have yet to formally announce the move themselves, though that announcement — and a corresponding 40-man roster move — figures to come along shortly.
Chavez, 37, is a 13-year Major League veteran who’ll now be in his second stint as a member of the Braves. He pitched in 28 games for Atlanta back in 2010 when he was still working to solidify himself as a viable big league arm. Things didn’t pan out the first time around, but Chavez has gone on to have a solid career as a well-traveled swingman. From 2013-19, he split time between the A’s, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Angels, Rangers and Cubs, working to a combined 4.12 ERA in 738 2/3 innings (77 starts, 230 relief outings).
The 2020 season was an ugly one for Chavez, who was tagged for 13 runs in 17 innings out of the Rangers’ bullpen. He’s bounced back with a strong showing for Triple-A Gwinnett in 2021, logging 20 innings of 2.25 ERA ball with a 27-to-8 K/BB ratio. He’s been particularly sharp of late, rattling off six straight shutout innings and punching out 11 of his past 22 opponents.
Chavez hasn’t thrown more than two innings or topped 35 pitches in any of his 13 appearances with Gwinnett this season, so it’s unlikely he’ll be tasked with pitching any more than three innings unless he makes particularly quick work of the Reds the first time through the order. Today’s outing figures to be a spot start, but Chavez has a solid overall track record in the Majors and could stick around to give the Braves some depth in the bullpen if he fares well.