Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 5/29/13
ATLANTA The return of Jordan Walden gives the Braves' bullpen a much-needed boost, but not to the number of relievers available. Atlanta activated the right-hander from the 15-day disabled list and optioned Cory Rasmus to Triple-A Gwinnett, keeping the bullpen at six men, but it's a scaled down approach that manager Fredi Gonzalez says he's comfortable with. "The only time you feel uncomfortable with it is when it's late in the game and you have those extra inning possibilities and you've got one guy down there or two guys down there," he said. "but other than that it's been very, very manageable with a six-man bullpen." With Walden back in the fold, he brings some stability to a group setting the stage for Craig Kimbrel that is thin without Eric O'Flaherty, who had Tommy John surgery on May 21, and saw Jonny Venters have the procedure a second time on May 16. Luis Avilan, David Carpenter, Cory Gearrin, the now departed Rasmus and Anthony Varvaro were perfect during the team's six-game homestand against the Dodgers and Twins. But in the five road games that followed, they blew three leads as Anthony Varvaro and Cory Gearrin did it against the Mets and Varvaro saw another advantage disappearing vs. the Blue Jays. Walden was 1-1 with a 4.85 ERA in 14 games before going on the DL with shoulder inflammation. He pitched a scoreless inning for Gwinnett on Monday before rejoining the team. Before the injury, Walden had been at his most effective this season against lefties, holding the 36 he faced to a .212 average, compared with .455 vs. the 23 right-handed hitters he saw. "It's nice to have him back," Gonzalez said. "He's almost like your second left-hander out of the bullpen. He's had some success getting left-handed hitters out, in his career and also this year. You feel good that you can run him in there against some lefties." Rasmus appeared in two games in his first major-league call-up, allowing five runs and three homers in 3 23 innings for a 12.27 ERA.
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