Fried, Newcomb nearing returns for Braves

April 29th, 2021

ATLANTA -- As Max Fried threw batting practice in pain-free fashion on Thursday afternoon, the left-hander provided every indication he’ll be ready to rejoin the Braves' rotation during next week’s series against the Nationals.

“We’ll see how he is coming in [Friday],” manager Brian Snitker said. “But I thought he looked really, really good today. It was real encouraging.”

If Fried recovers well over the next few days, he’ll likely start Tuesday or Wednesday at Nationals Park. He has been sidelined since sustaining a right hamstring strain while attempting to advance from second to third base on a wild pitch during an April 13 loss to the Marlins.

How Fried sustained the injury just added to the miseries he’s experienced while trying to build on the success he had last year, when he posted a 2.25 ERA over 11 starts.

After allowing career highs in runs (eight) and hits (nine) over four innings against the Marlins on April 13, Fried batted in the fourth inning because the Braves were carrying a short bench. He doubled, then strained the hamstring on the wild pitch.

As Fried has posted an 11.45 ERA through his first three starts, he has battled inconsistent command. The time off may allow him to refine his mechanics, which have seemed to be rushed, causing him to frequently fly open during his delivery.

Newcomb set to return
Left-hander Sean Newcomb is expected to rejoin the Braves when they begin a three-game series against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla., on Friday. Newcomb has been on the injured list since April 16. The club was never given permission to reveal the reason for placing the southpaw on the IL.

Newcomb cleared all health and safety protocols earlier this week, then began working out at the team’s alternate training site. He has allowed one run and two hits over 5 1/3 innings this year.

The Braves could also soon activate top setup man Chris Martin, who has been sidelined since right shoulder inflammation caused his fingers to go numb during an April 4 appearance in Philadelphia. Martin will throw a couple simulated games at the alternate training site before rejoining Atlanta’s bullpen.

Snitker Field
Snitker and his high school teammates were recently honored when Meridian High School in Macon, Ill., renamed its baseball field Snitker Field.

While the field bears the Braves manager’s name, it’s a dedication to the great memories that Snitker and his high school teammates created when they nearly won the Illinois state baseball championship in 1971.

Macon High School, which had an enrollment of 250 students at the time, lost the championship game to Chicago’s Lane Tech College Prep, which had more than 400 students try out for the baseball team. Just like high school basketball in Indiana, every Illinois high school, regardless of size, competed for the same state baseball championship.

“We were the Hoosiers that lost,” Snitker said.

Macon High School was consolidated into Meridian High School in 1994. This field dedication will help preserve the memories created by a team that made this small Illinois town so proud.

“I’m honored,” Snitker said. “Hopefully, I get back there one day to see it.”