ATLANTA -- After Josh Collmenter joined their starting rotation in September and provided three strong starts, the Braves gave the veteran right-hander a one-year, $1.2 million deal with the expectation he could spend this season as a dependable long reliever.
Collmenter lived up to this expectation in April, but after his recent struggles were extended during the seven-run 10th inning the Pirates constructed during Wednesday night's 12-5 win, the Braves designated the veteran right-hander for assignment on Thursday. Matt Wisler was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill the void in Atlanta's bullpen.
By the time the Pirates capped their 10th-inning eruption with three consecutive home runs, Collmenter became just the fifth reliever in Braves franchise history to allow at least seven runs while completing one inning or less.
But this decision was not made on simply one bad outing. Collmenter produced a 2.00 ERA over nine innings in April. But the 31-year-old hurler has struggled in May, allowing 15 earned runs over just eight innings. Opponents have compiled a .452 batting average and a .500 on-base percentage against him within this span.
If Collmenter is not claimed off waivers by another club, there is a chance he could choose to remain in the Braves' organization as a member of Gwinnett's pitching staff.
Wisler, meanwhile, has a chance to spend some time serving as the Braves' long reliever, and he didn't waste any time capitalizing on the opportunity in Thursday's 9-4 loss to the Bucs. The 24-year-old right-hander was summoned in the sixth inning in relief of Bartolo Colon and pitched two hitless frames with one strikeout.
Wisler spent most of the past two seasons in Atlanta's rotation. But his once bright future has further faded as he has produced a 5.20 ERA in six starts for Gwinnett this year. This is his second stint in Atlanta's bullpen this year. He worked three scoreless innings within his first two appearances, but he was sent back to Gwinnett after allowing seven earned runs over the two innings he combined to complete against the Mets on May 2 and 3.
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.