Walden to begin rehab assignment with Gwinnett

Jim McIsaac

The Braves' hard-throwing righty out of the bullpen will begin to make his way back to Atlanta after missing over a month with a hamstring injury.

Jordan Walden, a key member of the back of the Atlanta Braves' bullpen, will begin a rehab assignment tomorrow with the Gwinnett Braves in hopes of returning to the big league club soon.

Walden, who has posted a 2.92 ERA (2.49 FIP) in 12.1 innings' worth of work for the Braves this season, has been sidelined with a hamstring ailment since early May. Walden last appeared in the Braves' 4-1 loss to the Giants in San Francisco on May 4th.

Walden, who has primarily worked in the 7th and 8th inning as a Brave since he began his tenure with the club last year after being acquired from the Angels, should slot back in to a similar role, provided that his rehab is successful and he maintains his previous efficacy.

Mark Bowman of MLB.com notes that Walden's first appearance is scheduled to take place tomorrow night for Gwinnett, and that he's scheduled to work one inning.

Walden, who owns a career strikeout rate of 28.8%, will be a welcome addition to the Braves' bullpen when he's ready to return, as he is yet another high-leverage option for Fredi González late in games and in close situations. The Braves will presumably have to make the decision to send down another reliever once Walden is ready to return to the Majors, and it seems that David Hale or Alex Wood could be potential candidates to be sent to Gwinnett. Hale, at this point in time, seems to be the last man in the bullpen, and could be sent down to either start or relieve in the minors. If the Braves are ready for Alex Wood to stretch back out and possibly return to the rotation, we could see him sent down to be stretched out as well.

Walden figures to be ready at some point next week to return to Atlanta's bullpen, provided that nothing goes amiss in his rehab appearances.

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