Because McKirahan was selected in this year's Rule 5 Draft, the Braves have to keep him on their Major League active roster throughout this season or offer him back to the Cubs for $25,000. Thus, the Braves are expected to activate him as soon as the suspension expires.
McKirahan was selected by the Marlins out of the Cubs' organization in the Rule 5 Draft and then traded him to the Braves during the final week of Spring Training. The 25-year-old southpaw made three appearances for Atlanta before testing positive for ipamorelin, a performance-enhancing substance whose usage is in violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
The test was performed while McKirahan was still with the Marlins during Spring Training. But the results were not known until the completion of the regular season's second week.
Braves right-handed reliever Arodys Vizcaino was eligible to join Atlanta's bullpen Saturday, when his PED suspension ended. But the Braves will likely have him make at least one more appearance for Gwinnett. Vizcaino surrendered three hits and issued a walk while allowing three runs in a three-inning appearance for Gwinnett on Friday night.
If Vizcaino starts pitching more effectively, he, McKirahan and Manny Banuelos could all be a part of Atlanta's bullpen after the All-Star break. Banuelos will make his second career start Tuesday in Milwaukee. But because he is on an innings limit, he might conclude the season as a reliever.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.