The Atlanta Braves voided the minor league contract of right-handed reliever Jeff Bennett on Thursday.
Bennett had been signed last month to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league spring training. He had been let go by the Brewers after they had concerns with his elbow. Bennett experienced a pop in his right elbow last September in Triple-A, but even though MRI results showed no significant damage, the Brewers took him off their 40-man roster.
The Braves were not concerned with Bennett's elbow and believed he'd be good to go after an offseason of strength and conditioning. Bennett looked great on February 1st, the first day of the Braves Early Throwing Program.
But when reached Thursday night by BravesCenter.com, Bennett said that on the seventh day of throwing he felt something strange in his elbow, causing his velocity to dramatically decrease. While he was not in any huge pain, Bennett's arm was uncomfortable. A few days later a MRI then showed a 75% tear in the elbow ligament, meaning Tommy John Surgery was a probability.
The Braves believe Bennett's arm was still hurt from when he left the Brewers and decided to void his contract. Bennett said he is going to get some additional opinions on his arm, but admitted that surgery was likely.
With the subtraction of Bennett, the Braves added former Rangers' reliever Carlos Almanzar on Thursday, who is coming off Tommy John Surgery himself. The Braves now have 12 candidates for the six openings in the bullpen.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. You can email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.