Now, the Braves right-hander might be sidelined for at least three months.
“It's going to be a couple of months, probably, that he's going to be down,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Then, [he’s] going to end up having to get built back up. I hate to see that. The young guy was doing so good. It's going to be a big loss for us.”
Ynoa threw the frustration-filled punch after allowing the Brewers nine hits and five runs over just 4 1/3 innings. He experienced initial discomfort, but the pain didn’t truly begin to build until he flew back to Atlanta on the team charter Sunday night.
Members of the Braves’ medical staff confirmed the fracture on Monday morning.
“It’s a shame,” Snitker said of Ynoa, who is 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA through nine outings (eight starts). “He’s not the first and he won’t be the last. There’s probably no one who feels any worse than him, too.”
Ynoa wasn’t projected to begin the season in Atlanta’s rotation, but he had been the Braves’ best starter this year. The 22-year-old hurler had allowed four hits or fewer and two runs or fewer in six of the seven starts he had made before Sunday.
Braves fans had also been entertained by the unexpected offensive production of Ynoa, who hit two homers, including a grand slam against the Nationals on May 4. His success created playful comparisons to Babe Ruth and the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani.
Now, the Braves will just have to wait to see if Ynoa or Mike Soroka recovers in time to aid their rotation this year.
Soroka underwent exploratory surgery on his right Achilles tendon on Monday. The procedure allowed Dr. Gary Andersen and his staff to clean the region they initially surgically repaired in August.
Soroka’s potential timetable for return will be determined by how he responds over the next month.
With Soroka and Ynoa sidelined, the Braves’ rotation currently consists of Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Ian Anderson and Drew Smyly. The vacant spot will likely be filled by Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright or Tucker Davidson.
Once the Braves learned Ynoa would be sidelined, they opted to give each of their current rotation members an extra day of rest during this turn. That led the club to promote Davidson, who has posted a 0.64 ERA in two starts for Triple-A Gwinnett.