Stockman recalled to Braves
Optioned to Triple-A on Monday, reliever back in Atlanta
ATLANTA -- John Smoltz's future plans have been significantly altered in a matter of 48 hours, and Phil Stockman, for one, is dead tired.
When Smoltz was activated Monday from the 15-day disabled list, Stockman was shipped to Triple-A Richmond to make room on the active roster.
It wasn't a big deal to Stockman, who has now been optioned to the Braves' Triple-A affiliate three times in as many months.
And considering the Braves' bullpen would now have Smoltz, a future Hall of Famer, Stockman didn't expect to be recalled anytime soon.
"I was going to go back to Triple-A to try and pitch well, and see if I get a chance later in the season and be ready to go," said Stockman, who has allowed just one hit in 4 1/3 innings for the Braves this season.
But with the announcement Wednesday that Smoltz had again landed on the DL, guess who is back in the big league bullpen?
Yes, it's Stockman, who arrived at Turner Field on Wednesday morning after hopping on a 5 a.m. ET flight from Durham, N.C.
"It was a little bit premature, but I told you less than 24 hours," Smoltz quipped as he shook hands with Stockman in the clubhouse before Wednesday's game. "Sorry for the inconvenience."
Stockman didn't mind, though his past 48 hours have certainly been bizarre.
The lanky right-handed reliever arrived in Durham on Tuesday afternoon for Richmond's game. He raced to the ballpark at 3 p.m. to join the club and began throwing and shagging balls.
When the game started, Stockman assumed his position in the R-Braves' bullpen until pitcher Damian Moss told him to grab his glove in the second inning.
But Stockman didn't think he would enter the game. It was only the second inning, after all.
Then he received the news from the Richmond trainer and pitching coach: The Braves had called him back up.
"Everyone was laughing when I came into the dugout ... and I said, 'Is this a joke or what?' I'd never heard of this," Stockman said.
After hanging out for the rest of the game, Stockman woke up at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning and hurried to the airport. He got about three hours of sleep and said he will pound Red Bulls in the bullpen to avoid dozing off.
"Once the game starts, I'll be jacked up," Stockman said. "I'm pretty tired right now, though."
Ryan Lavner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.