In a corresponding move to Andrew McKirahan’s 80-game suspension, the Braves have called up LHP Ian Thomas. Thomas and Donnie Veal were the two candidates to receive a call up due to them both being lefties. Thomas spent some time with the big league club last season, posting a 4.22 ERA in 16 appearances before being sent back down to the minors. His experience with the big league club likely gave him an edge in earning a roster spot. In his small sample size with Atlanta, Thomas posted a rate of 11 strikeouts per nine innings. Thomas is a rare case similar to James Russell, as he has actually had more success against right-handed batters than left handed. While this is a small sample size, opposing righties had a .167 average against him while lefties rocked him to a .318 average. Thomas has also pitched scoreless baseball in 6.1 innings across AA and AAA so far this season. Thomas will take a backseat to Luis Avilan as lefty specialist, and I would expect him to receive around the same workload that Andrew McKirahan was working with. The Braves have worked the third-most innings of any team in baseball, so each contributor to the bullpen is vital. Thomas now has his chance to shine in Atlanta.
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