Now Commenting On:

Grueling stretch may prompt seven-man bullpen

Grueling stretch may prompt seven-man bullpen play video for Grueling stretch may prompt seven-man bullpen

NEW YORK -- When the Braves opened a three-game series against the Mets on Friday night, they began a stretch in which they are scheduled to play on 20 consecutive days. This arrangement has led manager Fredi Gonzalez to believe he might need to go back to a seven-man bullpen soon.

The Braves utilized a six-man bullpen while proving perfect during the six-game homestand that concluded on Wednesday. Gonzalez said he wants to continue using this arrangement through at least Tuesday, when the Braves conclude a two-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

While in Toronto, the Braves will have the luxury of using a designated hitter. This will allow Gonzalez to put Evan Gattis in his lineup for both games. Brian McCann or Gattis will serve as the DH when the other is catching during this two-day stretch in the American League city.

If the Braves go back to a seven-man bullpen, they will have a tough roster decision. Because Jordan Schafer and Ramiro Pena are both out of Minor League options, they certainly will not be taken off the 25-man roster.

Other options that have been speculated include attempting to trade Gerald Laird or Reed Johnson. But the Braves are well aware of the value Laird and Johnson bring as strong veteran presences on their bench and in the clubhouse.

There was a time when the Braves at least had to consider sending Gattis to Triple-A Gwinnett to catch on a daily basis. But while hitting three more home runs, including two game-winners, during the recent homestand, Gattis likely solidified his spot on Atlanta's roster.

"Before he gets sent down, I'll go down," Gonzalez said.

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

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español