ATLANTA -- Buddy Carlyle's journey is far from complete. But the Braves reliever certainly found himself feeling fortunate about the opportunity to pitch again just two months after contemplating retirement. Carlyle's retirement thoughts were erased with the confirmation that his physical ills were a product of Type 1 diabetes -- an ailment that will allow him to continue to pitch as long as he maintains a healthy and proper lifestyle. Provided the opportunity to pitch again for Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday night, Carlyle began his Minor League rehab assignment with a perfect one-inning assignment that included two strikeouts.
"I was nervous," Carlyle said. "That was probably the most nervous that I've been in a long time to pitch in a game. But everything felt as good as I could have hoped." Along with butterflies, Carlyle also found himself pitching with an energy level that wasn't present when he surrendered a pair of grand slams and allowed 10 earned runs during a three-appearance span in May. "Everything felt good," Carlyle said. "I think it will continue to come back once I get my arm stretched out a little bit more. As soon as I do that, I think I'll be able to throw with a little more power." After allowing three earned runs and five hits in just two innings against the Giants on May 25, Carlyle returned to Atlanta to allow doctors to determine why he had dropped nearly 20 pounds and experienced regular bouts of fatigue over the course of the previous month. Now while regularly checking his insulin and glucose levels by pricking his fingers before and after he stands on the mound, Carlyle believes he's ready to be the dependable reliever he was while posting a 3.55 ERA in 45 appearances for the Braves last year. After making two more rehab appearances for Gwinnett this week, Carlyle believes that he'll be strong enough to return to the Atlanta bullpen. The Braves will continue to evaluate his progress before making a firm decision about when to activate him from the disabled list. "I want to get back and be part of something pretty exciting during the second half," Carlyle said.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.