It's the cruel game of numbers, and sometimes it means a player that has proved he can play in the big leagues has to go back to the minor leagues.
What's even more cruel for Cory Gearrin is he was demoted to the minor leagues on the same day he won his first big league game.
The Braves needed a spot on the roster for Julio Teheran, who will pitch Wednesday night in Arizona. Brandon Beachy had been placed on the disabled list Sunday, but he was replaced on the roster by reliever Scott Proctor.
Atlanta was obligated to place Proctor on the big league roster by May 15 or he would be free to go to another team. That was part of the agreement they reached with the veteran reliever when they re-signed him in spring training after he was released off the 40-man roster.
The Braves were curious as to how Proctor might help a bullpen that will be without Peter Moylan for perhaps three months. Proctor had been pitching well in Gwinnett, getting back on track after a rough return from Tommy John surgery last year.
The alternative would have been to release Scott Linebrink, who has struggled this season in the Atlanta bullpen. But the Braves would have been on the hook for the remaining $1.5 million left on his contract that they are responsible for paying. The Braves were obviously not interested in that option, despite Linebrink's struggles.
Since Cristhian Martinez is more of a long reliever, as he proved Saturday with four shutout innings, the Braves had to keep him on the roster. Plus, George Sherrill is a veteran who the Braves feel will be productive for them this season.
So now Gearrin is the victim of the roster crunch. He was 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in 10 games in Atlanta, and Gearrin really performed well in some very difficult situations. Gearrin allowed only six hits in 11.1 innings, with 13 strikeouts and five walks.
Expect Gearrin to be back with Atlanta as soon as there is a roster spot available. He proved to the team he can pitch in the big leagues, but the numbers game will have him back in the minor leagues - at least for now.
Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on
WPLA Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, GA and The Atlanta Baseball Talk Show. Shanks writes columns for The Macon Telegraph. Email Bill at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.
Cory Gearrin wins first game and gets demoted
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