Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Luis Avilan grabbed his leg and went down in a heap on the mound in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's game. The Braves later called it a left hamstring strain and cramping, but it seems clear that Avilan could be out for at least a week or two.
Early this morning Avilan tweeted this:
: Thanks for all the concern from you guys - Don't know how severe this is but I will be back asap - Goodnight #BravesNation— luis armando avilan (@lavilan70) April 17, 2013
:(— luis armando avilan (@lavilan70) April 17, 2013
The injury to Avilan leaves Atlanta with only one left handed reliever in the bullpen. If they are to promote a player from triple-A to the Majors, the two likely candidates are righty David Carpenter and lefty Ryan Buchter. Carpenter has previous Major League experience. He pitched okay this spring, though not good enough to make the team, and has continued his okay performance at Gwinnett.
Buchter is the only lefty that is pitching well at triple-A. Dusty Hughes has been around for a while, but he's struggling this year. Buchter has 10 strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched and a 1.59 ERA. He certainly seems like the best relief option at this point, but Carpenter might have an edge since he's already on the Braves 40-man roster. Neither Buchter nor Carpenter has thrown in the last two days, so they could be used for today's game if needed.
The Braves play Pittsburgh this weekend, and the Pirates don't have any tough left-handed batters that would necessitate a LOOGY. Atlanta won't face any tough left-handed hitters until Monday in Colorado (Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Helton) and then next weekend in Detroit (Prince Fielder and Alex Avila).
The Braves could opt to not recall anyone for today's game, with an off-day on Thursday, in order to see how Avilan's injury responds and determine if it will require time on the disabled list. If it is determined that the injury will need time to heal, then you could see the Braves call up one of those relievers temporarily with an eye towards trading for an experienced lefty reliever by next week.
The Braves are not likely to promote lefty Alex Wood, one of their top prospects, currently pitching in the starting rotation at Double-A. The plan is for him to continue to start unless there is an emergency need, and this does not yet constitute an emergency need.