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06/04/10 9:30 PM ET
Braves reliever Saito heads to DL
Right-hander sidelined by left hamstring injury
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Braves reliever Takashi Saito was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday after he pulled his left hamstring pitching the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on Thursday. Triple-A Gwinnett closer Craig Kimbrel was recalled for his second stint this season. Saito, 1-2 with a 2.92 ERA, was filling in for Billy Wagner, who had thrown on six of the previous eight days. Protecting a 4-3 lead, Saito retired the first two batters but felt tightness in his leg after his first pitch to Russell Martin. He made another pitch for strike two, but was limping around the mound afterward and was removed. "It's going to be more than a couple days, it's going to be 10 to 15 days. We got to do it," manager Bobby Cox said. "He'll be ready by then. We hate to lose him, believe me. He is huge for that bullpen. He's been almost perfect." "It was everyone's decision," Saito said. "It was my decision, the trainer's decision and the coaches' decision." Saito, 40, has set down the first batter he's faced 19 of 24 times and has six holds this season. He hasn't allowed a run in his past five appearances, a span of 5 1/3 innings. He also walked none, gave up two hits and struck out eight during that time. Saito has battled elbow problems in his career, but he said he's never had a hamstring problem before. "It's tough to go on the DL, but it's even tougher for the bullpen if it's down to six people, so I feel it's the right decision," he said. Jair Jurrjens is working his way back from a similar injury. "That's the leg you drive off of," Jurrjens said. "The hamstring holds you back." Kimbrel (1-0, 2.70), a rookie who turned 22 at the end of May, allowed one earned run in four big league appearances last month. His numbers on the season with Gwinnett have been impressive: a 1.23 ERA, a .135 average against and 35 strikeouts in 22 innings. He was a little wild in the big leagues, walking six in 3 1/3 innings.
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.