Carlyle learning how to pitch with diabetes

Carlyle learning how to pitch with diabetes

Carlyle learning how to pitch with diabetes
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Buddy Carlyle is probably not going to break camp with the Braves, but that does not discourage the veteran right-hander.

He has bigger obstacles to deal with, like performing at a high level while being a diabetic.

"I found out I was diabetic in '09 and went to Japan in 2010," Carlyle said. "Last year, I was with the Yankees for a little while. It took me a while to get all my weight back. Now for the first time I feel like I have everything with me again."

Carlyle, who is in Minor League camp with the Braves, has pitched in parts of seven big league seasons since 1999. He has been with seven different Major League organizations and two teams in Japan. Discovering and then dealing with his diabetes has been an additional obstacle in his path toward a return to the Majors.

"It's become part of my life," Carlyle said. "It's been almost three years now. The first couple of years, it's tough, because you don't really know what you want your blood sugar to be at when you're pitching. You kind of have to start your day three or four hours before the game and [figure out] how you're going to regulate your blood sugar." Carlyle wears the OmniPod, a wireless pump that helps him maintain his blood sugar level. Before he started using the pump, Carlyle struggled with getting his blood sugar where it needed to be and then maintaining that level throughout a game.

"With the pump, I usually turn it off during the game, but I am able to understand what I need to eat before the game," Carlyle said. "Before I would take insulin and then eat and it would run low. Then I'd have to drink a Gatorade and it would jump back up. Now I understand how to keep it at an even plateau. It's gotten easier."

Carlyle turned in his best season in 2008 when he posted a 3.59 ERA in 62 2/3 innings out of the Braves' bullpen. He is thrilled to be back in the organization and hopes to get back to the big leagues with Atlanta.

"It's nice to be back here with the Braves uniform," Carlyle said. "I was gone for a couple of years. I live there now and my kids are huge fans of the Braves, so it's nice to put the uniform on again."

The 34-year-old started on Tuesday against the Mets and allowed two runs over four innings. He will probably head to Triple-A Gwinnett at the end of the spring and wait for the Braves to give him an opportunity in the Majors.

That's the goal," Carlyle said. "The reason you're still playing is because you think you can still pitch in the big leagues. You try to show the guys that you can throw, and if they need you, you're available. You just want to show them that it's an option if they ever need it."