LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Eric O'Flaherty's previous battles with a sore back have led the Braves to keep him out of Grapefruit League games until next week. This decision was influenced by the fact that the Grapefruit League season includes one extra week this year because of the World Baseball Classic.
"He's fine," Gonzalez said. "We're just going to be smart with him and use that extra week to make sure he does not get too ready. I'd rather him start a little later than start a little sooner and then back him off."
O'Flaherty has been one of the game's top relievers while posting a 1.31 ERA in the 142 appearances he has made over the past two seasons. His ability to be effective and manage this heavy workload has been aided by the fact the Braves have occasionally given him a few extra days to rest when his back has started to feel tight during the season.