Fried goes on IL, but likely to return for NLDS

September 22nd, 2023

WASHINGTON -- will miss the remainder of the season. But his latest blister issue doesn’t erase the likelihood he will serve as the Braves’ starting pitcher in either Game 1 or Game 2 of the National League Division Series.

Fried was placed on the 15-day injured list on Friday morning, and the club recalled right-hander Darius Vines from Triple-A Gwinnett. The southpaw provided six solid innings in a 10-3 win over the Nationals on Thursday night, but a reoccurring blister began to develop again during his final inning of work.

The 15-day span will expire on Oct. 6, one day before the Braves will begin the NLDS. So, Fried would be available to start Game 1 on Oct. 7 or Game 2 on Oct. 9.

"He'll be able to come off [the IL] right before the Division Series, so hopefully he makes his start in that series," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He can continue to throw. We can keep him active by just covering that thing up. It was bad enough that he wasn't gonna make his next start."

Fried battled blister issues during his Minor League days and after he first reached the Majors in 2017. There hadn’t been any reported issues over the past few years, but he indicated earlier this week that he had just found a better way to manage the blisters over the past few years.

Snitker said this latest blister is located on the pad of Fried's index finger. Many of the previous blisters that developed on this finger were closer to the fingernail.

“It’s something that obviously happens often,” Fried said Thursday night. “It’s just more about managing and dealing with it. It’s more of a case by case. But I should be good to go. Playoffs are what’s most important. So whatever is going to get us to that is what we’re going to do.”

Fried was given a few extra days of rest after the blister developed during the final inning of his five-inning effort against the Phillies on Sept. 12. The delay was effective enough for him to complete five of his six innings on Thursday night without any discomfort.

Snitker wasn't aware the blister had re-appeared until Fried exited the game and went to the clubhouse to undergo his normal post-start treatment.

As Fried gains additional rest, he can keep his arm strong by placing tape over his index finger whenever he is throwing. At some point over the next couple weeks, he will likely pitch in at least one simulated game.

"I hate this for him that he has to go through all of this again," Snitker said.

The Braves are hopeful Fried’s blister will disappear or at least become manageable. But there is now at least reason to question whether the left-hander would be available to make two starts during the NLDS. With an off-day between the first two games, the Game 1 and Game 2 starters will both be able to make a second start in the best-of-five series with normal rest.