ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves received approval Friday to replace injured reliever Chris Martin with Julio Teheran on their NL Division Series roster.
The switch will have a big impact on the Braves’ pitching plans, with 17-game winner Max Fried possibly taking a more significant role in the bullpen.
“It’s going to affect the bullpen,” manager Brian Snitker said before Game 2. “That’s a huge hit right there. Probably Max is going to need to maybe fill that role and pitch some of those high-leverage innings late in the game. We know he can do it. And he’s got stuff to do it and all that. That’s probably going to elevate him to those roles now.”
Martin reported tightness in his left oblique while warming up for the eighth inning of Game 1 Thursday night. He left the field without facing a St. Louis batter and was replaced by Luke Jackson, who surrendered two runs to squander a 3-1 lead. The Cardinals scored four runs in the ninth off closer Mark Melancon and held on for a 7-6 victory to begin the best-of-five series.
Martin was acquired from Texas before the trade deadline in one of three deals to bolster Atlanta’s struggling bullpen. The 33-year-old right-hander went 1-1 with 4.08 ERA in 20 games for the Braves and was considered a key setup man along with Shane Greene.
Major League Baseball had to approve the roster change. Dr. Gary Green, MLB’s medical director, confirmed the severity of injury after communicating with the evaluating physician, as well as reviewing Martin’s medical history.
Martin is ineligible for the rest of the NLDS and would also have to sit out the league championship series, should the Braves advance. He would be eligible to return for the World Series.
Teheran, a two-time All-Star and stalwart of the Braves rotation for the last seven years, was left off the playoff roster after going 10-11 with a 3.81 ERA during the season. Snitker called it one of the hardest decisions he’s had to make.
Now, Teheran has a chance to contribute, possibly starting Game 4 if the series goes that long.
“He’s going to be in the bullpen right now,” Snitker said. “He may have to fill a mid-game-type area where, because we know he could cover two or three innings. He’s going to be available down there. It just depends on the flow of the game.”
The stunning loss of Martin without throwing an actual pitch was a big blow to the Braves in Game 1. He was set to work the eighth before the Braves turned things over to Melancon in the ninth.
“We had the whole thing set up right where we wanted it,” Snitker said. “It’s exactly what we were working toward throughout the whole game was to get us to those two guys. … It’s just a shame that he got hurt.”
Jackson was greeted with a mammoth homer by Paul Goldschmidt and gave up two more hits before Melancon entered with two outs, looking to get a four-out save. Instead, he surrendered the tying single to pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter before getting rocked in the ninth to take the loss.
“It’s something I’ve got to move on from,” Melancon said.
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