Braves make tough decision to option Kelly

Withrow called up to provide depth for depleted bullpen

Braves make tough decision to option Kelly

ATLANTA -- After the Braves burned through the bullpen through the first nine innings of Wednesday's 13-inning loss to the Brewers, Casey Kelly accepted the task of pitching the final four innings.

Unfortunately for Kelly, this unexpected development provided the Braves no other choice but to option him back to Triple-A Gwinnett before Thursday's series finale against Milwaukee. Right-handed reliever Chris Withrow was recalled from Gwinnett to provide some bullpen depth, which would have been further weakened had Kelly stayed on Atlanta's roster.

"That might go down as one of the tougher things I've done after what [Kelly] did last night," interim manager Brian Snitker said. "He gets it. I told [pitching coach Roger McDowell] we probably need to stay away from this kid for a week and let him [recover] after what he did."

Kelly completed a side session Wednesday afternoon with the assumption he would start Saturday's game against the Marlins. But because the Braves used each of their seven relievers to record the 10 outs that separated starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz's exit and the end of the ninth inning, Kelly ended up throwing 77 pitches during the final four innings of Wednesday's loss. He had thrown 81 pitches over five innings when he had started against the Phillies just three days earlier.

"I didn't really want to [send Kelly down], but it's kind of all hands on deck right now," Snitker said. "To get another arm is good."

Withrow was projected to serve as one of Atlanta's primary setup men this year, but he has spent a majority of the season in the Minors. The 27-year-old right-hander has allowed one run and three hits over 8 1/3 innings for Gwinnett. He surrendered five hits and three runs over the seven innings for Atlanta this year.

Withrow pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings in Thursday's 6-2 loss to the Brewers, allowing one hit, walking one and striking out one.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.