Braves shake up staff as Ramirez is on the DL

Three games into the new season, the Atlanta Braves have had to shake up their pitching staff. BravesCenter's Bill Shanks has more.

When Horacio Ramirez pulled up lame Wednesday night on his way to first base in the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, you knew at least one roster move was on the horizon. But the Braves made a couple of changes today to shake up their bullpen.

With Ramirez on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled hamstring, right-hander John Thomson will regain his spot in the rotation. But the bullpen needed some help with Thomson leaving, so the Braves brought up right-hander Joey Devine and also sent Blaine Boyer to Richmond for reliever Ken Ray.

Devine had a spectacular spring, striking out 20 hitters in 12 innings and posting a 2.25 ERA in 9 games. Boyer actually edged Devine out for a spot in the bullpen when he showed Bobby Cox he was healthy enough to start the season. However, Boyer has not looked completely ready in his first two appearances.

Ray was a great story in camp. He was brought over a couple of times for split-squad games and to finish a couple of the big league games. Ray pitched in 5 games and allowed only 1 run in 6 innings. He caught Bobby Cox's eye with his solid work, and with the bullpen needing a fresh arm for the next few days, Ray was the choice to be promoted from Richmond.

To replace Ray in the Richmond rotation, Brian O'Connor will get the role as the fifth starter. Richmond also activated Eric Schmitt off the DL to add another arm in the bullpen.

Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. You can email Bill at

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