Breaking News: Braves to add two new pitchers

With the horrific month of June, and with continuing problems in the bullpen, the Atlanta Braves have made a few changes on their pitching staff. The Braves Show's Bill Shanks has the exclusive news first on The Braves Show.

The Braves Show has learned that the Atlanta Braves have called up right-hander Kevin Barry from Triple-A Richmond. Barry will be in Tampa Bay tonight as the Braves go for their second win in a row over the Devil Rays.

There is no word on how Barry, a non-roster player, will get on the 40-man roster, or what role he will fill. However, with the injuries of John Smoltz and Phil Stockman Friday night, it's obvious the Braves are being safe by having Barry available for Saturday's game.

The six-foot-two, 220-pound Barry was drafted by the Braves out of Rider University in the 14th round of the 2001 draft. He immediately became a top notch relief prospect in the Braves' organization, posting a 1.88 ERA in his first two seasons (76 games).

Barry struggled a bit in Greenville in 2003, with a 4.95 record, but he bounced back strong the next season, with a combined 1.79 ERA in 50 games between Double-A and Triple-A Richmond.

Then in 2005 he started the season with more adversity in Triple-A. Barry struggled through the first three months of the season. On July 19th, he was 1-4 with a 4.69 ERA in 25 games (one emergency start), with 41 hits allowed in 40.1 innings pitched, 24 runs, 21 earned runs, 27 walks, and 34 strikeouts.

The Braves then sent him to Mississippi, where he worked extensively with Kent Willis, the pitching coach in Double-A. Barry returned to Richmond on August 3rd, and the Braves decided to try him in the starting rotation. The results were amazing: 3-0, 0.93 ERA, 7 starts, 19 hits allowed in 38.2 innings, 4 runs, 17 walks, and 39 strikeouts.

Barry was invited to big league camp this spring, but was a surprising early cut. He went back to Richmond, where he started out in the bullpen. But the Braves moved him back into the Triple-A starting rotation in mid-April, and again he flourished in that role.

In the month of May, Barry was outstanding. He was 2-1 in 5 games with an ERA of 0.30. He allowed only one earned run the entire month, 17 hits in 30 innings, 8 walks, and 35 strikeouts. He's struggled a bit in his four starts in June, with a 6.75 ERA in 20 innings, but overall he's got a 3.26 ERA and a 3-4 record.

Barry's career numbers as a starter are impressive: 5-3, 2.74 ERA, 20 starts, 85 hits allowed in 105 innings, 32 earned runs, 40 walks, and 93 strikeouts. While his career numbers as a reliever aren't too shabby either: 17-14, 2.88, and 310 strikeouts in 256.2 innings pitched.

Chuck James, who has been in the starting rotation with Barry in Richmond, will also join the Braves' roster this weekend and could start Sunday against the Devil Rays. James was 1-0 in seven Triple-A games, with 30 hits allowed in 33.2 innings, 10 runs, 6 walks, and 25 strikeouts.

James started the season in the Atlanta bullpen, where he pitched in 7 games and posted a 2.38 ERA, 3 runs on 6 hits allowed in 11.1 innings. The lefty pulled his hamstring in May, and after he was healthy again the Braves decided to stretch out his arm in the minors to give them another option for the starting rotation.

The Braves Show will pass along any corresponding roster moves as soon as the information is available.


Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look at the Braves' traditional front office philosophies. He can also be heard regularly on the Braves' Radio Network. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.

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