07/29/07 5:53 PM ET
Notes: Braves designate Ledezma
Club has 10 days to trade or release left-hander
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
Before Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field, the Braves announced they'd designated Ledezma for assignment and recalled Jose Ascanio from Double-A Mississippi.
"I think starting would be his forte," Braves manager Bobby Cox said of Ledezma, who was acquired from the Tigers in exchange for left-handed specialist Macay McBride. "We just couldn't get him started."
Because Ledezma hadn't thrown at least three innings in the previous two months before being dealt to Atlanta, his arm wasn't prepared for a starter's role. And because he was out of options, the Braves couldn't send him to the Minors to make the necessary preparations.
The Braves now have 10 days to trade or release Ledezma, who despite posting a 7.71 ERA in 12 appearances with the Braves will likely draw interest from other organizations. They now have the opportunity to claim the 26 year-old left-hander off the waiver wire.
If Ledezma were to clear waivers, the Braves would be able to send him to Triple-A Richmond, where he would have the opportunity to stretch his arm and prepare for a future as a starter.
"Somebody will probably claim him," Cox said of Ledezma, who was 7-8 with a 5.26 ERA in the 25 starts he made for the Tigers from 2004-2006.
With Ledezma now out of the picture, the Braves once again find themselves without a left-handed reliever. Earlier this week, Chipper Jones said it would be important to find one before re-entering divisional play, during which they'll be challenged by the left-handed bats of Ryan Howard and Carlos Delgado.
While allowing an earned run in six of his 12 appearances for the Braves, Ledezma continued the struggles he'd endured in Detroit. In 34 combined appearances with the Tigers and Braves this year, he's seen right-handed batters hit .257 against him and left-handers compile a .317 batting average.
Meanwhile McBride has shown decent control while issuing just three walks in the 10 innings he's completed in 14 appearances for the Tigers. During that span, left-handed batters have hit .278 against him and right-handers just .200.
Ascanio to stay? Obviously what the Braves do on the trade market over the next two days could have an effect on the amount of time Ascanio spends in the Majors. They're currently looking for bullpen help, with the hope of locating a left-handed reliever.
But while with the Braves from July 13 to July 19, Ascanio made a positive impression on Cox and displayed a changeup that can be effective against left-handed hitters. In three appearances with Atlanta, the 22 year-old right-hander totaled five innings, allowing one earned run and registering six strikeouts against just one walk.
"He's got good stuff," Cox said. "He challenges hitters and he has an excellent changeup for lefties."
While posting a 2.47 ERA in 36 appearances for Mississippi this year, Ascanio has limited opponents to a .231 batting average. Left-handers batted just .216 against him.
Best wishes: Former Brave Brett Butler, who is currently serving as Arizona's Double-A manager in Mobile, Ala., suffered a mild stroke on Saturday. Doctors expect him to make a full recovery.
Braves bits: Cox said that Monday's off-day won't lead to any of his starters being skipped this week. ... Kyle Davies has lasted five innings in both of the starts he's made for Triple-A Richmond. He allowed four earned runs and issued three walks in five innings against Toledo on Saturday. ... It's starting to look like right-handed reliever Tanyon Sturtze might not be available for at least another few weeks. The 36-year-old veteran, who is attempting to return from shoulder surgery, hasn't pitched since July 21 and Cox says he doesn't know when his rehab process will resume.
Coming up: The Braves will return to action on Tuesday at Turner Field, where they'll begin a three-game series against the Diamondbacks. They'll send Chuck James (8-8, 3.55) to the mound to face Chris Sampson (7-7, 4.29).
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.