8/15/2014 8:03 P.M. ET
O'Flaherty thrilled to see old Braves teammates
By Joe Morgan / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Craig Kimbrel, Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters gave the Braves one of the most feared bullpen trios in baseball from 2011-12. "O'Ventbrel" compiled a 1.64 ERA in 413 combined appearances in two full seasons as teammates.
"We were pretty tough back then," O'Flaherty said.
Their success warranted a Sports Illustrated profile in September 2011 titled "Good and Nasty," which the three of them signed for each other as they visited before Friday night's series opener between the Braves and the A's at Turner Field.
"It was cool, brought back some memories seeing those photos," Venters said. "It was cool to have us all three together again. It was fun. It was definitely something that I'll always remember and cherish. To be a part of something like that was special."
O'Flaherty was one of the best relievers in the National League during his five years in Atlanta, recording a 1.99 ERA in 249 1/3 innings. However, he appreciates the friendships like the ones he has with Venters and Kimbrel most from that time.
"They're just a fun, good group of guys that I grew with," O'Flaherty said. "I was 24 when I went over to the Braves and now I'm 29, so it's a big chunk of your life at this point. I just made a lot of good friends."
While Kimbrel has had continued success since that time, O'Flaherty and Venters were hit hard by Tommy John surgery in 2013. O'Flaherty only returned to a Major League mound on July 4 while Venters continues trying to work his way back.
Throughout each pitcher's recovery, the southpaws have kept in touch. O'Flaherty is hopeful that Venters, who has suffered multiple setbacks due to pain and inflammation during his rehab process, can get through his current bullpen sessions without issue.
"I've been texting him and calling him and seeing how he's doing. This surgery is no easy ride. Every case is different," O'Flaherty said. "I know he's pushing as hard as he can, and it's just a tough surgery. There's good days and bad days. It's really just a mental grind to get through it. He's a tough guy. I'm sure he's going to be fine, and I'm wishing him the best and try to be encouraging whenever I talk to him, so I'm glad he's doing better. He's throwing bullpens now."
"We talk quite a bit," Venters added. "We text back and forth checking on each other and seeing where we're at and how we're progressing. It's been good to have somebody to kind of talk to and relate to that had it five days after me."
O'Flaherty has flourished since his return a little more than a month ago, posting a 1.64 ERA in 11 appearances, striking out nine and walking only two. The lefty, who was a part of three postseason runs as a Brave, is happy to contribute yet again to a winning club.
"I've been lucky. I keep landing on good teams. We've just got a good vibe in the clubhouse, a good carefree group," O'Flaherty said. "Kind of similar to what we had in Atlanta, just a laid back group of guys that just cares about winning, so that's a good thing. I just landed in another spot that fits my personality really well."
Lowrie goes on DL as expected, Parrino recalled
ATLANTA -- Switch-hitter Andy Parrino joined the Athletics at Turner Field on Friday afternoon and found himself in the starting lineup as manager Bob Melvin sent a righty-heavy lineup out to face Braves left-hander Alex Wood.
Parrino was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to take the place of Jed Lowrie, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured right index finger.
"He's really been consistent all year and swinging the bat a lot better right-handed this year than we've seen in past years," Melvin said of Parrino, who is 3-for-12 with two doubles and two walks for Oakland this year. "We saw that when he was up for a brief period last time he was here as well and swung the bat well right-handed, so therefore he's in there today."
Beginning his third stint in the Majors this season, Parrino just wants to help keep things rolling for a club that owns the best record in baseball.
"Hopefully just help this team win, no matter what it is," Parrino said. "I'm not going to try to win games for them but keep them in games. Play good defense, have quality at-bats and we'll see what happens."
Parrino jumps from one pennant chase to another as he leaves Sacramento, which leads the North Division of the Pacific Coast League, to take part in Oakland's title chase. To that he said, "Obviously, it's different being in the big leagues than Triple-A."
The River Cats can credit their lead partly to Parrino's performance. He was batting .286 (107-for-374) with seven homers, 19 doubles, 52 RBIs and a .363 on-base percentage in in 422 plate appearances with Sacramento upon his promotion.
"I'm just trying to swing at strikes, take the balls and see what happens," Parrino said. "Sometimes you worry too much about trying to get a hit and you don't put yourself in a position to actually get a hit because you're swinging at some bad pitches. Hopefully, I'll swing at more strikes and put the barrel on the ball."
Parrino also offers Oakland versatility in the field as he has experience playing shortstop, left field, second base and third base in the Majors.
"Tonight he told me I'm playing short, so we'll go day to day on that," Parrino said. "I've been up here before and played second, third and left, so that's always in the back of mind, but tonight I'm getting my work in and taking care of shortstop."
• Craig Gentry, who has been on the disabled list with a broken right hand since July 28, will take batting practice with Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday.
• Nick Punto is doing some light jogging as he recovers from a right hamstring strain that landed him on the disabled list on Aug. 3.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.