The Braves claimed southpaw reliever Eric O'Flaherty off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. He was placed on the 40-man roster and will get a shot to make the Atlanta roster in spring training.
O'Flaherty started the 2008 season on Seattle's roster, but a 20.25 ERA in seven games got him demoted to the minor leagues. O'Flahery make 14 appearances with Tacoma in Triple-A and had a 4.96 ERA in 16.1 innings pitched. A back injury ended his season in June.
Originally drafted out of Walla Walla, Washington in the sixth round of the 2003 draft, O'Flaherty has been a reliever for all but one of his six seasons in pro ball. He made the big leagues in 2006 and pitched in 15 games with Seattle. Then in 2007 he had 56 appearances in the Seattle bullpen and had a 4.47 ERA. O'Flaherty allowed 45 hits in 52.1 innings, with 20 walks, and 36 strikeouts. He limited lefty hitters to a .183 batting average in 2007.
Scouting reports have O'Flaherty having a fastball in the 90-94 mph range, with a slider, cutter, and changeup. His delivery is deceptive, which has helped him in his career against lefty relievers.
O'Flaherty missed most of the 2004 season with back trouble, so he's obviously got a problem there. But the Braves are taking a chance on him staying healthy in 2009. If he does not make the Atlanta roster, O'Flaherty will be in the Gwinnett bullpen and be an option for a call-up.
Bill Shanks hosts The Braves Show Talk Show, The Atlanta Baseball Show on 680 the Fan in Atlanta, and The Bill Shanks Show on SportsRadio 105.5 the Fan in Macon. He is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team. You can email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.