Lerew demoted to AA Mississippi

With the minor league season nearing the halfway point, we may see several transactions within the Braves' farm system in the next few days. The first happened late Saturday night, when right-hander Anthony Lerew was demoted to Double-A Mississippi. The Braves Show's Bill Shanks has more.

Back in spring training the Atlanta Braves thought Anthony Lerew might be their closer, but instead he had trouble as a starter in Triple-A.

The Braves demoted the right-hander to AA Mississippi Saturday night, hoping he'll straighten out a season that has been on the rocks from the start of the season.

Lerew was 1-4 for the Richmond Braves with a 9.38 ERA in 12 games, 11 starts. He allowed 50 earned runs on 70 hits in 48 innings, with 29 walks and 39 strikeouts.

In March the Braves had Lerew closing out spring training games, hoping he could battle Chris Reitsma for the closer's role in Atlanta. But Lerew struggled, as he allowed 12 runs in six innings and posted a 13.50 ERA in six games.

When it was obvious Lerew had to go back down to the minors for more seasoning, the Braves decided to get him more innings as a starter. But Lerew had prepared to spend this season as a reliever, and the transition back to the rotation was a rough one.

Now he'll work with Kent Willis, his pitching coach last year in Mississippi and in 2003 in Rome. Lerew has been bothered by a stiff back the last few weeks.

Paul Bush was called up to Triple-A Richmond to replace Lerew in the starting rotation. Bush was 5-5 in Mississippi with a 4.91 ERA in 20 games (six starts). He had a 4.91 ERA, 62 hits allowed in 58.2 innings, 32 earned runs, 23 walks, and 60 strikeouts.

With the Gulf Coast League season starting Tuesday and Danville's season kicking off Wednesday, we could see several more transactions in the next 48-72 hours, particularly with the first half of the season ending for the top four minor league teams.

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. He can also be heard regularly on the Braves Radio Network. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.

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