LOS ANGELES — The Atlanta Braves placed reliever Takashi Saito on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring and recalled reliever Craig Kimbrel from Triple-A Gwinnett before Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Saito was injured during the ninth inning of Atlanta's 4-3 victory over the Dodgers on Thursday night. The 40-year-old right-hander tweaked his left hamstring throwing an 0-1 strike to Russell Martin, and Jonny Venters struck out Martin with his only pitch to get his first big league save.
"We hate to do it because he's such a huge part of our bullpen," manager Bobby Cox said. "He's been just fantastic. But it's nothing that's going to get well in 10 days. It's sore. It hasn't bled out yet, but it will. So we may as well play it safe. But I look at it in a positive way, too, because it'll give his arm time to rest up also."
Saito, who had a career-high 39 saves for the Dodgers in 2007, spent last season with Boston and signed with Atlanta over the winter. He is 1-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 25 appearances for the Braves, who carried a nine-game winning streak into Friday night's matchup with the Dodgers.
Kimbrel, who turned 22 last Friday, got his first big league victory on May 20 against Cincinnati after replacing injured starter Jair Jurrjens on the roster. He was optioned back to Gwinnett the next day.
"Kimbrel is a young phenom that throws hard, but we'll miss Saito," Cox said. "We've got Venters, (Eric) O'Flaherty and (Peter) Moylan who we can interchange and use different ways. So they'll be the core guys. We've been about matchups getting to Saito, but now we can't use two guys in one inning. We've need to cover the other inning."