Wright (shoulder) to have surgery, expected to miss 2024 season

October 7th, 2023

ATLANTA -- Kyle Wright entered this week bidding for a postseason roster spot. He exited it knowing he will likely undergo right shoulder surgery and miss the entire 2024 season.

“You could tell he wasn't right in the last three or four outings in the regular season, and it just wasn't going to be,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

Quite honestly, Wright hasn’t been right since January, when shoulder discomfort led to a cortisone shot and the need to halt preseason preparations for three weeks. He was limited during most of Spring Training and began a four-month injured list stint after his May 3 start. He returned in September and spent the past few weeks trying to prove he could assist the Braves during the playoffs.

But Wright never regained his velocity and needed more time than usual to recover from certain outings. So after he threw in an intrasquad game on Wednesday, the Braves scheduled a Friday afternoon MRI exam, which led to the revelation he would need surgery.

“I hate it for him,” Snitker said. “I mean, it's a tough decision. Number one, when you have to tell him he didn't make the roster, but the reason. He wants to get everything taken care of. I hate it for the person, just because the kid wants to be out there. Coming off a year like he did last year, I know it killed him all year to not be out here. And it's hard, and there was something going on and they found something yesterday.”

Wright was taken fifth overall by the Braves in the 2017 MLB Draft. He finally lived up to expectations when he notched a MLB-best 21 wins in 2022. Wright's bid to build on that success began to deteriorate when he needed the cortisone shot that halted his January preparations and put him three weeks behind when he came to Spring Training.

“They tried to avoid [surgery] and see if it was something he could work through, but clearly it's something he needs to get fixed and have heal properly,” Braves first baseman Matt Olson said. “So it sucks that he's got to miss next year, but the overall long-term health is number one.”

Wright made five starts before he was shut down during the first week of May. He didn’t begin his Minor League rehab stint until Aug. 24. Wright joined Atlanta’s roster on Sept. 11 and made two starts before it was decided he might be best utilized as a reliever. But the need for extra recovery time lessened the potential value of him coming out of the bullpen.

Wright’s four-seam fastball averaged 95.1 mph in 2022 and 93.3 mph this year.

“I know that he's one of the hardest workers that I've seen,” Braves starter Max Fried said. “He's going to do everything that he can to make sure that he gets back to form and be able to compete and have success here for a long time.”