Braves call up Vizcaino, part ways with Proctor
Highly regarded prospect to work out of Atlanta bullpen
MIAMI -- Arodys Vizcaino has strengthened his position as one of the Braves' top prospects this season, and over the remainder of this season, he will have the opportunity to strengthen Atlanta's bullpen.
Vizcaino has received his first call to the Majors and arrived at Sun Life Stadium about two hours before the start of Wednesday night's series finale against the Marlins. To create a roster spot for the hard-throwing right-hander, the Braves released Scott Proctor.
"I saw enough of [Vizcaino] that I liked him this spring," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Our reports say he has been outstanding."
At the same time, Vizcaino is just 20 years old, and he showed some nerves when he made his Major League debut in Wednesday night's 6-2 win over the Marlins. While attempting to protect a four-run, ninth-inning lead, he issued two walks, hit a batter and had to exit with the bases loaded and two outs.
Jonny Venters entered and immediately recorded the final out to ease the emotions felt by Vizcaino, who was told late Tuesday night that he was going to the Majors.
"I couldn't believe I was coming here," the rookie said. "They told me, but I couldn't believe it."
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding Vizcaino since he impressed during last month's Futures Game. MLB.com ranks him as the Braves' second-best prospect. The young right-hander was acquired in the December 2009 trade that sent Javier Vazquez to the Yankees.
Blessed with an above-average fastball and a curveball that has impressed numerous scouts and opponents, Vizcaino has recorded 100 strikeouts and issued 28 walks while combining for 97 innings with Class A Advanced Lynchburg, Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett this year. He spent the first half of the season as a starting pitcher with Lynchburg and Mississippi.
Recognizing that Vizcaino could aid their bullpen, the Braves had him work as a reliever beginning in July. A short time later, they promoted him to Gwinnett, where he allowed one earned run and seven hits in seven innings. In the process, he registered eight strikeouts and did not issue a walk.
While talented, Vizcaino has made a quick jump to the game's highest level. He has made 17 appearances (nine as a reliever) and compiled 56 2/3 innings above the Class A level.
Proctor has struggled throughout the season, posting a 6.44 ERA and allowing opponents to produce a .383 on-base percentage in 31 appearances.
The patience the Braves showed the 34-year-old right-hander was exhausted Monday night, when he recorded just one out while allowing two runs and issuing two walks in the process of attempting to protect a five-run ninth-inning lead against the Marlins. Atlanta held on for an 8-5 win.
Because Proctor was unable to get through that inning clean, the Braves had to call upon closer Craig Kimbrel to work a second straight day and for the third time in four games. Wanting to give Kimbrel a day off Tuesday, the Braves opted to hold top setup men Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters back for the final two innings.
That led them to call upon rookie Anthony Varvaro, who allowed a game-tying three-run homer after entering the seventh inning with two outs. As things turned out, O'Flaherty, Venters and Kimbrel each ended up having to pitch during the 11-inning victory over the Marlins.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.