Who replaces Avilan?
Losing Luis hurts. But his injury doesn’t appear as bad as it looked — just a left hamstring strain, according to the great Jerome Jurenovich, though he’ll be re-examined tomorrow.
Even the bad news is good for these Braves.
Still, Avilan is likely to miss a month, at best.
- If he was on the 40-man roster, Ryan Butcher would be the most likely call-up. The 26-year-old lefty, formerly of the Cubs and Nats organizations, is off to a rousing start at Gwinnett, striking out 10 in 5-2/3 IP. Butcher had a 1.31 ERA last year at Mississippi, striking out 50 and allowing just 24 hits in 41-1/2 IP.
- Wirfrin Obispo, or Wirf, as I like to call him, made a big impression on the Braves hierarchy this spring and has dominated at Gwinnett, albeit with spotty control (9K, 6 BB, 2HA, 6-2/3 IP). Like Butcher, the hard-throwing right-hander, who pitched in Double-A last season with the Reds after five years in Japan, is not on the 40-man roster.
- Righty David Carpenter –who allowed 18 runs in 30-1/3 IP with Houston and Toronto last year — is, although a shaky spring and unimpressive start at Gwinnett (11 HA in 9-/13 IP) may put the 27-year-old’s roster spot in jeopardy.
- If Avilan’s injury is more serious than first diagnosed, J.R. Graham might get the call. The Mississipi righty gave up just one run in 6 IP last night and was clocked consistently in the upper-90s. But I doubt the Braves want to interrupt his development for a short-term fix. Then again, this organization isn’t afraid to promote guys ahead of schedule (i.e. Andruw Jones, Rafael Furcal),
and Graham is on the 40-man.
- Alex Wood is not on the 40-man, either, but his spring performance puts him on the radar. The UGA alum is the only lefty besides Butcher on this list and has dazzled at Mississippi, striking out 13 and walking just two in 9 IP.
And I haven’t forgotten JV, though it’s doubtful he’ll be ready before Avilan.