Braves bolster bullpen by acquiring veteran left-hander Hand from Rockies

Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Brad Hand works against the Oakland Athletics in the ninth inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 29, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (David Zalubowski, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves added another veteran left-hander to their bullpen by acquiring Brad Hand from the Colorado Rockies before Tuesday's trade deadline.

The Rockies acquired right-hander Alec Barger, who was 3-2 with a 3.29 ERA for Double-A Mississippi. Barger, 25, was a 17th-round draft pick out of North Carolina State by Atlanta in 2019.

Hand, 33, bolsters the bullpen, which also had left-hander A.J. Minter reinstated from the 15-day injured list on Monday. Minter had been out since July 12 while recovering from left shoulder inflammation.

The NL East-leading Braves also have dealt with the losses of left-hander Dylan Lee (left shoulder inflammation), right-hander Jesse Chavez (bruised left shin) and right-hander Nick Anderson (right shoulder strain) to the injured list.

Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said his talks with other teams were influenced by encouraging medical reports and the expectation Lee, Chavez and starting pitchers Max Fried (strained left forearm) and Kyle Wright (right shoulder inflammation) will return soon.

Fried could be activated off the injured list this week.

“It made the bar higher for us,” Anthopoulos said, adding it made decisions to trade away minor leaguers more difficult.

“We had the players to get everybody,” Anthopoulos said of the trade talks. “It was just a matter of if we wanted to do it.”

Anthopoulos said the addition of Hand “was just trying to insulate yourself” while also giving manager Brian Snitker the luxury of having three left-handers in his bullpen.

“I just think especially when we get Dylan back, having that third lefty is very big,” Snitker said, adding Hand “has been doing this a long time and has been very successful.”

Hand has 131 career saves in his 13-year career. The Braves are Hand's ninth team and complete his tour of every NL East team.

Hand will be expected to work in a set-up role in Atlanta behind closer Raisel Iglesias.

Hand is 3-1 with a 4.54 ERA with Colorado this season. He posted a 2.80 ERA with five saves in 55 games with Philadelphia in 2022.

Hand set a career high with 34 saves for Cleveland in 2019. He had a combined 32 saves for San Diego and Cleveland in 2018.