Three years removed from his last appearance in a Braves uniform, veteran reliever Peter Moylan is returning to Atlanta. On Sunday morning, Moylan, the Australia native whom the Braves re-signed as a minor-league player-coach in March, was called up to the majors for the first time since 2013, completing a long road back from his second Tommy John surgery.
Moylan replaces 27-year-old rookie Jake Brigham on Atlanta’s 25-man roster as the team continues to search for bullpen stability.
The 36-year-old right-hander with the odd arm angle pitched for the Braves from 2006 to 2012 — his best season came in 2009, when he posted a 2.84 ERA in 73 innings pitched — but his career has been derailed by various injuries. He underwent two Tommy John surgeries in a six-year span. In 2011, he needed back surgery. Then there was a torn rotator cuff. The Dodgers gave him a shot in 2013, but he ran up a 6.46 ERA in 15 innings.
Moylan has pitched well for Triple-A Gwinnett this season, posting a 3.14 ERA in 27 appearances with similar peripheral numbers (FIP, strikeouts per nine innings), but his comeback remains an improbable one.
"We’re all pulling for him to get another shot," pitching coach Marty Reed told the Albany Herald. "He’s done everything you could ask of him here. The encouraging thing for me is the last month or so I’ve seen his velocity jump up a little bit. At the beginning of the year he was mostly 88, 89 (mph), sitting right in that area, and he’d pop a 90, 91 here and there on a good night. All of a sudden you go ‘Wow,’ you look at a 91. Now he’s sitting 90, 91 and he’s popping a 93 here and there."
Moylan is the second veteran addition to Atlanta’s bullpen over the weekend, as the team also signed free-agent reliever Edwin Jackson on Friday. Overall, the team ranks among the five worst relief corps in baseball in a variety of major categories in 2015.
The Braves (52-64) currently sit in third place in the National League East division behind the Mets and Nationals.