Braves' rotation holding steady, despite injuries

May 26th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Mark Bowman’s Braves Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

You know all the concern you’ve felt since and  were placed on the injured list during the early days of May? Well, as we near June, the injury-depleted starting rotation isn’t nearly as concerning as what has been a thin bullpen.

This actually was a very encouraging week for the rotation. Fried began throwing again for the first time in three weeks, and  provided indication he doesn’t need to make any more preparations with Triple-A Gwinnett.

Fried may still need at least another month to complete all necessary preparations to rejoin Atlanta’s rotation. Having not thrown for the past three weeks, the lefty is currently just playing catch. He’ll need to progress from long toss to bullpen sessions to live batting practice before he begins a rehab stint that could include at least four starts.

But it is encouraging that he needed only three weeks to rest after developing a left forearm strain during his May 5 start against the Orioles.

“It’s always good when they start that progression,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s a sign they are feeling good.”

Speaking of feeling good, Soroka is as close to returning to the Majors as he has been since first tearing his right Achilles on Aug. 3, 2020. He positioned himself for a promotion on Tuesday, when he threw 96 pitches and allowed just one run in six innings for Gwinnett.

Could Soroka be activated to make a start during next week’s series in Oakland? The Braves haven’t said that yet. But it does feel like he will become part of Atlanta’s rotation soon.

Soroka’s return will be a feel-good event. Everybody has pulled for the lovable Canadian as he has battled both physical and mental strife while bidding to prove he can indeed be effective after twice tearing his right Achilles in the past three years.

At the same time, Soroka’s return could prove to be one of the most important moments of the Braves’ season. , and  have carried the load while Fried and Wright have been absent from the rotation.

enters Friday's start against the Phillies with the confidence he’s gained via the two effective starts he’s made since returning from Gwinnett.  also came back up Thursday to provide five solid innings in a win against the Phillies.

Will Dodd get another start? Will Soroka join the rotation next week? The Braves will make these decisions in the next couple of days. They at least now have an additional immediate option and enhanced hope they can persevere until Fried and Wright return.