This is bad news for an Atlanta Braves team that has enough injuries to worry about. Martin Prado is out, as is Chipper Jones, Now, you can add closer Billy Wagner to the list.
In last night’s thriller against the San Francisco Giants, Wagner pulled up lame in the 10th inning. He grabbed his mid section in pain and sure enough, he’s got an injury to an oblique muscle.
“That’s tough,” Braves catcher Brian McCann said. “You can’t replace a guy like Billy Wagner. But we’re going to do everything we can to [overcome it]. We lost Chipper Jones, Martin Prado, we’ve lost a lot of key members of this team, and a lot of guys have stepped up.”
One could probably understand that oblique muscles get used a tad in a pitcher’s windup. Because of the injury, he has been taken off of the NLDS roster and thus is ineligible for the NLCS roster should they beat the Giants.
The Braves will replace him with either Takahashi Saito or Jair Jurrjens on the active roster. As for closing duties, it could be Saito or one of the rookies Craig Kimbrel or Jonny Venters.
Wagner has not wavered on his plans to retire after this season. This is, in all likelihood, the end of the road for him. But, Wagner has faith in his replacements.
“I’m probably the worst one out there, compared to what they’re facing,” Wagner said. “I wouldn’t want to face our bullpen. You’ve got unknowns out there, they don’t have no patterns. You can’t gear up [as a hitter to face them]. Fourteen years of Billy Wagner, you know what’s coming.
“You don’t know what Kimbrel, Dunn and Venters are going to do. You’re in a good situation, you’ve got a veteran down there in [Kyle] Farnsworth, you’ve got some guys that have been there. It’s fun. They’re very capable of doing whatever Skip asks, and I’ve got all the faith in the world in them.”