Braves lose star reliever to injury in massive blow to their bullpen

After having to already deal with Ronald Acuna Jr.'s injury this week, the Braves now are going to be without one of their best relievers for a while.
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

Atlanta Braves reliever AJ Minter has been a such a huge part of the Braves' bullpen since 2017. Over the course of his eight-year career with the Braves, Minter has put up a 3.32 ERA and an 11.0 K/9 strikeout rate while coming up huge for them during multiple playoff runs. He usually hasn't been the Braves' closer, but he has arguably been the heart of Atlanta's bullpen for a long time.

The 2024 season hasn't been any different. While he has had a couple of subpar outings like every guy does, Minter has remained quite good with a 2.95 ERA in his 25 appearances this season. Unfortunately, the Braves are going to be without him for at least a little while as the team announced that Minter is heading to the injured list with inflammation in his left hip.

Braves News: Atlanta places AJ Minter on injured list, recall Jimmy Herget

Minter's injury does create a bit of a problem for the Braves' bullpen. Their relief corps has been very steady this season, although they only rank in the middle of the pack when it comes to WAR in 2024. However, Minter's injury makes their bullpen dangerously light on lefties at the moment. Ray Kerr seems to be in the middle of being converted into being a starter and the Braves' postseason hero from 2021 Tyler Matzek has been on the IL since early May with elbow inflammation.

That leaves Dylan Lee and Aaron Bummer as the lefties currently standing in the Braves' bullpen. Lee has been good, but Bummer has had some rough outings which does make one wonder if Atlanta tries to go out and get a lefty reliever soon for some depth or abandon the Ray Kerr rotation plan.

In Minter's place, Jimmy Herget gets called back up to the big leagues after being optioned when Atlanta called up Spencer Schwellenbach. Herget has only made a pair of appearances with the Braves so far this season, but he hasn't given up a run and has struck out four batters in three innings of work.

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