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Braves Team News

Fried (left hand) optimistic he'll make next start

Wright recalled to join bullpen; Riley to play OF at Triple-A
@mlbbowman
May 8, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Max Fried did not feel any discomfort as he played catch before Wednesday night’s series finale against the Dodgers. But the Braves southpaw’s status for Sunday’s start against the D-backs will remain questionable until he tests his bruised left hand during a side session. “He went out

LOS ANGELES -- Max Fried did not feel any discomfort as he played catch before Wednesday night’s series finale against the Dodgers. But the Braves southpaw’s status for Sunday’s start against the D-backs will remain questionable until he tests his bruised left hand during a side session.

“He went out and threw the ball around and felt fine,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “But until he actually [throws off a mound] and starts throwing breaking balls, we won’t know. If it’s a problem, then we’ll adjust at that point in time.”

The fact Fried remains in line to make his next start is certainly good news for the Braves, who saw the young hurler exit Tuesday night’s loss to the Dodgers after the meaty portion of his left hand was struck by Alex Verdugo’s second-inning liner. X-rays were negative, and the swelling was minimal when Fried woke up Wednesday morning.

“[My hand] was a little stiff, but nothing out of the ordinary,” Fried said. “I didn’t wake up with any shooting pain, which was nice. I’ll just keep doing treatment and try to get it right.”

Fried will attempt to pass the next test when he completes a side session on Thursday or Friday. But he is confident he’ll be ready to take his next turn.

“Everything is looking really good right now,” Fried said. “It’s just really positive.”

Wright returns

Because Josh Tomlin will be unavailable for a few days after pitching four innings following Fried's exit, the Braves recalled Kyle Wright from Triple-A Gwinnett to serve as a long-relief option.

Wright was chosen because he had been scheduled to start for Gwinnett on Wednesday. The Braves' No. 2 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, began this season in Atlanta’s rotation, but he was demoted after posting a 7.07 ERA over three starts.

Wright’s struggles continued as he allowed at least five runs in two of his first three starts made for Gwinnett. But the 23-year-old hurler, who is less than two years removed from Vanderbilt University, turned things around while limiting Durham to three runs over seven innings last Friday.

Left-handed reliever Grant Dayton was optioned to Gwinnett to create a roster spot for Wright.

Creating versatility

Austin Riley’s recent power surge has led the Braves to finally follow through with plans to get a feel for his ability to play the outfield.

After Riley made his first professional start as an outfielder Wednesday night, Snitker said the club's No. 5 prospect will begin to get a few starts per week in left field for Triple-A Gwinnett.

“I think it will be good for him to experience that, like we had talked about in Spring Training,” Snitker said. “It will be good for him to get out there a couple days a week. You never know when his break might come here.”

With Josh Donaldson blocking Riley’s rise to the Majors, the Braves simply want to increase possibilities for the 22-year-old slugger, who has homered 10 times in his past 13 games.

Riley came to Spring Training anticipating the chance to be tested in left field. But he played only one Grapefruit League game as an outfielder. If he proves capable of handling himself as an outfielder, the Braves could gain the depth necessary to make it more comfortable to possibly attempt to trade Adam Duvall or Ender Inciarte as they try to strengthen their bullpen at some point within the next few weeks or months.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.