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Braves demote Evan Phillips to make room for Jonny Venters

Phillips heads to Gwinnett while Sam Freeman (somehow) remains in Atlanta.

Tampa Bay Rays v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Braves added Jonny Venters to the 25-man roster on Friday afternoon and optioned Evan Phillips — not Sam Freeman — to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Why they decided to demote Phillips instead of Freeman is anyone’s guess, but it’s par for the course for how the bullpen has been handled all year.

Venters, who the Braves acquired last night in exchange for international slot money, should provide some much-needed relief to the bullpen. Freeman has struggled mightily all year, and with A.J. Minter forced to closing duties in Arodys Vizcaino’s absence, Jesse Biddle has become the lone reliable southpaw in the middle innings.

Venters appeared in 22 games with Tampa Bay — he recently came off the DL with a hamstring injury — and owns a 3.86 ERA and 3.81 FIP. Those numbers are skewed considerably when you realize he surrendered five runs in 1/3rd of an inning when making one of the Rays’ “spot starts” that they've frequently employed with their relievers this year.

Here’s hoping the addition of Venters will turn Freeman into the mop-up duty guy, although I’d argue Luke Jackson and Peter Moylan already fit that mold. This bullpen still needs another arm or two if the Braves are serious about competing the next two months.

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