The Atlanta Braves find themselves in need of some bullpen help and will turn to highly-touted prospect Alex Wood for the time being, as first reported by Tom Hart.
Expect Braves roster move tomorrow. Will likely be UGA product and 2012 draftee Alex Wood at Turner Field up from AA.
— Tom Hart (@tom_hart) May 30, 2013
Wood is the no. 5-rated prospect in the Braves’ system according to MLB.com and has dazzled this season in the Southern League for Double-A Mississippi. The big left-hander has posted a 4-2 record and 1.26 ERA while limiting opponents to a .195 batting average.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez has been able to utilize a six-man bullpen for an extended period of time without many issues, but Wednesday’s starter Kris Medlen exited the game early after taking a line drive off the back of his leg. This forced David Carpenter and Anthony Varvaro to work multiple innings and exceled the need for Wood in Atlanta.
It is unclear how the Braves plan to make room for Wood on the 25-man roster. The most likely move would be to demote Carpenter to Triple-A as he will be unavailable for Thursday night’s game and doesn’t have to go through waivers. Other options could include a disabled list move or returning to the traditional seven-man bullpen, which would complicate matters. This would require the Braves trading most likely one of veteran players Gerald Laird, Reed Johnson or Juan Francisco — something the team has avoided to this point.
It is clear, however, that Wood can help the Braves from the left side. Season-ending injuries to Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty have left-hander Luis Avilan as the only southpaw in the bullpen.
Wood’s arrival at the major league level comes much sooner than anticipated, but it should temporarily help an ailing Braves’ bullpen.