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G-Braves' bullpen misses Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel's absence — even if just temporary — certainly hurts the Gwinnett bullpen.

A new and improved Stephen Marek may be able to help fill in, though.

Marek didn't get the job done with the G-Braves a year ago and his future in the Atlanta organization seemed in doubt.

Knowing that he had to recommit himself, the 25-year-old right-hander dropped considerable weight in the offseason and it has paid off so far.

Marek hadn't allowed a run in 11 appearances with Class AA Mississippi before being summoned to the G-Braves when Kimbrel was called up by Atlanta on Wednesday after saving six games in as many tries.

How impressive was Marek in the Southern League? He had a 4-0 record, was perfect in four save opportunities and had 18 strikeouts to one walk in 13 innings.

Marek, acquired from the Angels along with Casey Kotchman in the deadline deal for Mark Teixeira in 2008, needed a bounce-back performance. He had a 7.94 ERA in six games with Gwinnett last season and a 5.72 mark in 38 games with Mississippi.

Saturday's game at Syracuse suspended

The G-Braves led 4-2 and were threatening to pad the advantage when Saturday's game at Syracuse was stopped because of rain in the top of the fifth inning. Play will be resumed at the point where it was stopped before today's scheduled series finale at 1 p.m.

Syracuse won the first two games, extending Gwinnett's losing streak to three games. The G-Braves were shut out for the second time this season on Friday, with prized Washington prospect Stephen Strasburg allowing just one hit over the first six innings.

The scoreless stretch was broken in the first inning Saturday, with the G-Braves scoring three runs. When play was halted, Matt Young, Mitch Jones and Barbaro Canizares each already had two hits.

Freeman still sitting out

Freddie Freeman wasn't in the G-Braves lineup Saturday, missing his second game after tweaking a hamstring during the series opener at Syracuse on Thursday night.

The first baseman's status is listed as day to day.

Freeman is batting .284 with four homers and a team-best 16 RBIs. There is no designated hitter in the Syracuse series because it is a match-up of two National League farm teams.

The DH will return when the G-Braves begin a four-game series at Pawtucket on Monday.

Schafer on the mend

Jordan Schafer was 4-for-14 with a double and a stolen base in his first four rehab games with Class A Rome, playing three straight and then sitting out one before returning Friday night. He had four strikeouts and four walks.

The outfielder, who had surgery on his left wrist last September, is scheduled to stay with Rome through the end of its homestand on Monday. If all goes well, Schafer may join the G-Braves at some point this week.

Gwinnett returns to Coolray Field on Friday to begin a series with Lehigh Valley.