Veteran right-handed reliever Luis Ayala was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Braves on Tuesday due to anxiety disorder, the team announced.
The news comes straight out of left field, given that Ayala has spent nine years in the big leagues without any public hint of previous problems. However, he is on a new team in Atlanta after the Orioles traded him earlier this month. The Braves became his seventh franchise when they picked him up for Chris Jones on April 10. He’s allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings since joining the team.
Ayala arrived in the majors in 2003 and immediately became a quality setup man for the Expos, picking up 10 wins, five saves and 19 holds as a rookie. He blew out his elbow in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, but returned and had a decent 2007 season for the Nationals. Things went downhill in 2008 and it looked like his career was just about over when he gave up 10 runs in 7 2/3 innings for the Marlins in 2009, but after spending the entirety of 2010 in the minors, he put together impressive showings in the majors for the Yankees in 2011 (2.09 ERA in 56 IP) and the Orioles last year (2.664 ERA in 75 IP).
David Carpenter was called up to replace Ayala in Atlanta’s bullpen.
Update: Braves GM Frank Wren shed a little light on the situation early this evening:
Andrew Miller leaving last night’s Indians-Red Sox game got all the press, but the Indians lost another key player in the game as well: Carlos Santana. He was forced to leave after going 0-for-3. There was no followup announcement after the game, so he’s likely being reevaluated.
Santana is hitting .250/.355/.446 on the year, but he’s been pretty hot of late, hitting .375 with a couple of homers in the past week.
On Sunday Phillies reliever Hector Neris hit Buster Posey in the back. Posey thought it was intentional and, after the game, said “I guess he didn’t feel he could get me out.”
Was it intentional? There’s a lot to suggest it wasn’t. Mostly the game situation: the Phillies had a two-run lead, but Neris was called in with two men on base and hitting Posey put the tying run in scoring position, which is not something a reliever usually wants to do with his first pitch of the game. Beyond that, while Neris and former Giant Eduardo Nunez had a bit of an incident earlier this season (Neris blew a kiss at Nunez after some words), there was no bad blood between Posey and Neris. When the pitch hit Posey in the back Neris seemed to react negatively, as if he didn’t mean to do it, and said as much after the game.
Oh well, it’s not uncommon for guys who get hit to be angry about it, even if it was uninentional. It’s not uncommon for guys who hit someone to say it was an accident, even if it wasn’t. You can file this one in the “unsolved” drawer forever, where it will be forgotten.
Or at least you could until Bruce Bochy weighed in yesterday, after the Phillies left town:
“It wasn’t just a little inside. The same guy — I’ll say it, he’s an idiot. He showed it in Philadelphia when he was having words with (Eduardo) Nuñez, so I think that caused the radar to be up a little bit on what happened there. It wasn’t a glancing blow. It was at his ribs and on the backside of his ribs. I’m not surprised. I would have been upset, too. You never know for sure, but it certainly didn’t look good. Anyway, that’s behind us.”
I guess it was, anyway. The Giants don’t face the Phillies again this year, but remember it for next year.