The Atlanta Braves have been without their primary set-up man, right-hander Jordan Walden, for much of the season, but in the midst of a cold streak for the team, it appears that he will join them on Tuesday as Atlanta takes on the Colorado Rockies. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Walden is set to return to the bullpen:
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had said Saturday that if Walden had no setbacks the plan would be to have him join the Braves on Tuesday in Colorado for the second game of their four-game series against the Rockies.
“I felt good out there, hamstring felt good,” Walden said after Sunday’s appearance. “I didn’t have any issues with it again, so that was a positive. I walked the first guy and I wasn’t very happy with that. I didn’t feel like the command was there, but I battled through and got a couple strikeouts.”
While Walden isn’t the most famous pitcher in the Atlanta Braves bullpen (an honor bestowed on Craig Kimbrel), the hard-throwing right-hander is an integral part of the unit. In the past twelve games, Atlanta’s bullpen has amassed a 5.76 ERA and a 1.92 WHIP, and non-coincidentally, the Braves are just 4-8 in those contests.
For the season, the 26-year-old Walden has completed only 12.1 innings as a result of various maladies, but when he has been on the mound, positive results have followed. Jordan Walden has a well-earned reputation as a strikeout pitcher (career 10.91 K/9) and if he is back and healthy, the Braves will have another big-time arm at their disposal.