When Billy Wagner fell to the ground in pain after making a throw to first base on a bunt attempt by Angel Torres, it was hard to not fear the worse. The news that has come this morning is that he will not pitch again in the series against the San Francisco Giants. He has a strained left oblique muscle.
Playoff rules permit a team to replace an injured player, however that player loses their eligibility for the next round. Thus, Wagner will not be available to pitch in the National League Championship Series either.
Wagner is optimistic to be back by the World Series, assuming the Braves can overcome yet another untimely injury. They are already without Chipper Jones and Martin Prado.
Initial reports are that the Braves will activate either Jair Jurrjens or Takashi Saito. Saito will be the most likely candidate. He has been battling a sore shoulder, but should be ready to go.
Closer duties will probably go to either Saito, Jonny Venters or Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel served as closer in the Braves’ AAA team this season. He pitched in 48 games and had 23 saves with a 1.62 ERA with 35 walks and 83 strike outs.