LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The trimmed three more from the camp roster Monday when they optioned reliever Luke Jackson and catcher Anthony Recker to Triple-A Gwinnett and released left-hander John Danks.
The team hoped that Danks would accept their offer to go to Triple-A Gwinnett, but the veteran wanted to pitch in the majors and opted to be released and see if there would be interest from another organization. The longtime former White Sox starter had a 6.52 ERA in five spring relief appearances for the Braves, allowing 14 hits and seven runs in 9 2/3 innings, with six walks, seven strikeouts and three wild pitches.
Jackson, 25, was acquired from Texas in a December trade for Tyrell Jenkins. A former first-round draft pick with an upper-90 mph fastball and funky delivery, Jackson is still working to improve his control, but had a couple of encouraging spring appearances.
“I thought he had a really nice camp,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said. “He showed us some things. He’s somebody who, as (manager Brian Snitker) told him, we will need him this year. And we feel good about what he’s going to bring to us. It’s a really good arm, it’s a really good person, and he will get opportunity at the major league level this year.”
Jackson had allowed three hits and two walks in four scoreless innings over his first four appearances until Friday, when he was charged with five hits and four runs without recording at out against the Astros.
“Threw the ball well for a couple of (outings),” he said. “Had a rough one. I threw the ball OK. Came into camp ready. Hopefully I make an impact on the club soon.”
Most of the damage Friday occurred after a missed call by an umpire, when Ray-Patrick Didder made a diving catch in center and threw to first for a would-be double play. The umpire ruled that Didder had trapped the ball (replays showed otherwise).
Jackson, who had stomach flue and didn’t pitch for a week before that appearance, couldn’t stop the Astros damage after the bad call. He left with a 9.00 ERA.
“I actually felt good out there (Friday),” he said. “I had command of my fastball the whole time, which was what I was trying to do, coming off seven days without touching a ball. So I was happy over it. Results weren’t good, but…It happens. It’s all good. Maybe see you guys soon, hopefully.”
The moves left the Braves with 38 players on their spring-training roster including 20 pitchers.