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Avilan shows enough progress to avoid disabled list

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PITTSBURGH -- It appears the Braves were wise to show patience and allow reliever Luis Avilan a chance to prove he needed just a few extra days to rest his sore left hamstring. While throwing his bullpen session at PNC Park on Saturday afternoon, Avilan provided enough encouragement to believe he will not need to be placed on the disabled list.

"We feel really good about Avilan," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He threw a bullpen today and he feels good. I think he's available today in an emergency, and then maybe tomorrow."

The Braves entered Saturday night's game against the Pirates knowing that they likely would also be without Anthony Varvaro, who combined for three innings in two appearances the previous two days. They were also hoping to rest veteran reliever Luis Ayala, who totaled 51 pitches in the two appearances he had made over the previous three days.

To provide some bullpen depth on Saturday, the Braves placed infielder Blake DeWitt on the disabled list with a lower back strain and recalled right-handed reliever David Carpenter from Triple-A Gwinnett. DeWitt missed most of last season's second half with this same ailment.

If Avilan does indeed avoid the disabled list as expected, the Braves will likely send Carpenter back to Gwinnett on Monday to make room for Freddie Freeman, who has been on the disabled list since April 6 with a strained right oblique muscle.

While Carpenter's stay at the Major League level might be a short one, he was happy to join the Braves in Pittsburgh, which is located approximately two hours from his hometown of Fairmont, W. Va. The hard-throwing right-hander has steadily developed as a pitcher since converting from the catcher's position in 2008.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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