ATLANTA -- Instead of having an opportunity to ease his way back into the closer's role, Arodys Vizcaino will spend the next few weeks recovering from an oblique strain and the frequent frustration he has felt over the past month.
Before Saturday night's 4-3 loss to the Rockies, the Braves placed Vizcaino on the disabled list with the right oblique strain he sustained after throwing just three pitches during the ninth inning of Friday's 11-2 loss to the Rockies. He was inserted into the lopsided game to simply shake off some of the rust that had developed since he had last pitched on July 6.
"Anybody who gets [an oblique strain], they're just so time consuming," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "You've got to calm everything down until they're not feeling anything before you can let them begin throwing again. If you don't, you can really screw things up. So, it's just unfortunate, but one of those things. You've just got to be patient for them to get back and get everything good again."
Though righty Jose Ramirez, who has posted a 2.06 ERA over 31 appearances for Triple-A Gwinnett, was available, the Braves opted to fill Vizcaino's roster spot with veteran left-hander Eric O'Flaherty, who was placed on the disabled list in June with a 6.52 ERA and what was termed a right knee strain.
While O'Flaherty will have a chance to prove the Braves should keep him on their roster, former All-Star closer Jim Johnson will likely garner a majority of the save opportunities in Vizcaino's absence. The Braves came out of the break with plans to utilize Johnson as their closer until Vizcaino got back into a groove.
Vizcaino stood as a potential All-Star and an attractive trade piece when he posted a 1.52 ERA, limited opponents to a .253 on-base percentage and converted six of the seven save opportunities he compiled through this season's first 23 appearances. But the 25-year-old right-hander had produced a 5.11 ERA and had allowed opponents to record a .443 OBP over his final 15 outings before the All-Star break.
After Vizcaino blew an eighth-inning lead against the Phillies on July 6, he was sidelined over the remaining four days before the break because of a skin irritation on his right elbow.
"[Vizcaino] is a huge part of what we're trying to do here," Snitker said. "He's a young kid who cares a lot and wants to do well. What he brings will be very valuable to the Atlanta Braves for a long time."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.