Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Anthony Varvaro was a 2011 waiver claim from Seattle.
The Braves will use the Grapefruit League action to assess what other options they have in camp. Unlike many other clubs, Atlanta does not have nearly as many question marks in the bullpen.
Despite the strength of relievers who have already been featured, there are a number of pitchers attempting to make a lasting impression, or perhaps even earn a spot when the team breaks camp.
Anthony Varvaro, 28, is a righty who got a look in Atlanta last season. He remains on the 40-man roster after going 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 12 games. He fanned 21 hitters in 16.2 big league innings and put up strong numbers in Gwinnett. Varvaro is yet another waiver claim, snagged from Seattle in January of 2011.
Cory Rasmus is a 25-year-old right-hander who was selected as a first-round supplemental pick in 2006. He is the younger brother of Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus. Like Varvaro, Rasmus is on the Braves 40-man roster.
He moved to the bullpen in 2012 with Double-A Mississippi, going 3-5 with a 3.68 ERA in 58.2 IP. Rasmus fanned 62 batters but walked 32, and is likely to start the season with Triple-A Gwinnett to continue adapting to the relief role.
Wirfin Obispo, 28, has certainly had an interesting journey through professional baseball. A shortstop turned pitcher who has played in the Red Sox and Reds chains as well as in Japan, Obispo signed with Atlanta as a minor league free agent in November.
His deal included an invite to big league camp. Obispo is coming off a 5-3 season with a 3.00 ERA and 91 K's in 96 IP for the Reds Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. Most of his success came in Double-A Pensacola.
Dusty Hughes, 30, is a lefty who spent last year in Gwinnett, turning in a 3-2 mark with a 3.31 ERA in 54 games. A non-roster invitee, Hughes does have some big league experience.
He pitched well for Kansas City in 2010, but was not good at all for Minnesota in limited action the next year. Hughes will try to impress the Braves enough to earn his way back to the majors at some point this season.
David Carpenter, 27, is getting the reputation as a journeyman with the way he has been going through teams of late. He came up through the Cardinals organization, but has been traded three times since 2010.
Most recently, he was dealt from Toronto to Boston along with manager John Farrell for Mike Aviles. Atlanta claimed him off waivers from the Red Sox in late November.
A closer in the minors, he showed promise with Houston in 2011 before getting hit around with the Astros and Blue Jays last season. Carpenter is looking to get his career back on track and give the Braves some organizational depth from which to pull from in 2013.
Yohan Flande, 27, was signed as a minor league free agent in December of 2010 after six years in the Phillies organization. The lefty was on the verge of perhaps making the club last spring before the Braves signed Chad Durbin late in March.
Flande has spent the last two seasons in Gwinnett, primarily as a starter. He got another non-roster invite this year and could be converted to a reliever if the need arises at the big league level.
Ryan Buchter, 26, is yet another lefty non-roster invitee. He was traded from the Twins to the Cubs in 2008 before Atlanta sent Rodrigo Lopez to Chicago for him in May of 2011.
Buchter was extremely impressive with Double-A Mississippi last year, posting a 1.31 ERA in 35 games, but faltered in his trial with Gwinnett. He is likely to get another look at Triple-A this year.
Daniel Rodriguez, 28, was signed out of the Mexican league last season and given a non-roster invite to big league camp this year.
He will show the Braves what he has to offer, though most of his career has been spent as a starter. Rodriguez will probably end up back in Gwinnett, where he made two appearances after signing in 2012.
Many of those arms are likely to spend significant time in the minor leagues, but the collective unit that Atlanta has assembled at the big league level is poised to be a true difference maker this season. It certainly does not hurt to identify pitchers who can contribute to the cause in times of need.
Kimbrel, Venters, O'Flaherty and Walden will be given countless leads to protect this season. If the middle inning corps does its part, then it stands to reason that Atlanta's bullpen will rank among baseball's elite.