DENVER — The Atlanta Braves will get some timely bullpen help Tuesday when they activate Jordan Walden from the disabled list.
The right-hander, out since May 5 due to a left hamstring strain, made two appearances on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday and Sunday, recording five strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings.
The Braves wanted to give him another day to assure he was ready before activating him. Walden missed his 32nd game Monday, and his return will be welcome as Atlanta tries to stabilize its bullpen.
“I think it affects everybody, really,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said before the Braves beat the Colorado Rockies 3-1 in the opener of a four-game series. “It’s an experienced guy that’s done it before, he’s been real successful for us. And you can put other guys in certain roles and get them through bad periods of time. We all have bad periods of time — whether an offensive player or a pitcher — and cover it that way.”
Veteran David Carpenter struggled recently, so Gonzalez has used rookie right-hander Shae Simmons and second-year left-hander Alex Wood as well as righty David Hale to pitch in the seventh and eighth in close games. Simmons threw a scoreless eighth Monday to get the game to closer Craig Kimbrel.
Instead of those young players, veterans such as Carpenter, Walden and left-handers Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters did the setup work in the late innings last year. The latter two are recovering from elbow surgeries performed early in the 2013 season, and O’Flaherty left to sign with the Oakland A’s in the offseason.
The Braves have already lost more games (six) when leading after six innings than they lost in all of the 2013 season (five).
—RHP Gavin Floyd gave up three hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings and broke a career-high six-game losing streak as the Braves beat the Rockies 3-1. Floyd’s last victory was Oct. 3, 2012, while pitching for the Chicago White Sox. His six-game losing streak dated back to April 2013 before he underwent Tommy John surgery to repair both a torn ulnar collateral ligament and a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. After signing a minor league contract with the Braves in December, Floyd made his 2014 debut May 6. In two career starts at Coors Field, Floyd is 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA while holding the Rockies to an average of .188 (9-for-48).
—C Evan Gattis extended his hitting streak to a career-high eight games with a single on his final plate appearance in the eighth inning. During the streak, Gattis is hitting .359 (14-for-39) with three doubles, four homers, 11 RBIs and four runs.
—3B Chris Johnson went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, matching his season high with three hits. It was his seventh three-hit game of the season. He is tied with LF Justin Upton for the most games with games with three or more hits by a Braves player this season. Johnson had 13 games with three or more hits in 2013.
—RHP Shae Simmons, who made his major league debut May 31, retired the side in order in the eighth, striking out Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki to end the inning. In six scoreless appearances totaling 4 1/3 innings, Simmons has allowed three hits and one walk while striking out four. He has one save.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s my (first) Braves win, so I wanted to keep it. It’s a memory. Especially after a full year off and coming back, I’m just thankful to get my first one, and hopefully, I’ll roll with it.” — RHP Gavin Floyd, on keeping the lineup card from Monday’s game, a 3-1 Atlanta win over the Colorado Rockies.