UPDATE: Takashi Saito to have shoulder examined Monday

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UPDATE: Bad news for the Bravos. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Takashi Saito will fly back to Atlanta tomorrow in order to have his ailing shoulder examined on Monday.

Rosenthal speculates that more will be asked of rookie right-hander Craig Kimbrel in his absence. Kimbrel, a 22-year-old flamethrower, had a 1.62 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings with Triple-A Gwinnett this season, but he also averaged 5.7 BB/9.

10:10 AM: Takashi Saito was forced to leave last night’s game against the Mets due to shoulder soreness, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Saito, who struck out the first two batters he faced in the eighth, said he felt pain on his final two pitches before exiting.

“I am concerned because I still don’t know what’s wrong yet,” Saito said
through his interpreter. “”It’s more inside [the shoulder], so I can’t
really say if it’s the front or the back. It’s inside…. The pain isn’t
the same [as earlier in the season], but it might be related.”

The Braves have handled Saito carefully since he dealt with some pain in his shoulder around the All-Star break, using him in back-to-back games only twice during the second half of the season. The 40-year-old right-hander has a 2.52 ERA and 69/14 K/BB ratio over 53 2/3 innings this season, and including last night’s appearance, he hasn’t allowed a run in his last 15 2/3 innings, dating back to late-July.

According to the Associated Press, Braves manager Bobby Cox said Saito is day to day, however there’s a pretty good chance the Braves won’t have one of their key arms for next week’s series against the Phillies.