Folty recovering, hopes to pitch again soon
ATLANTA -- When Mike Foltynewicz returned to Turner Field on Thursday afternoon, he was still attempting to regain the strength he lost while spending the past week battling pneumonia. But the Braves right-hander remains hopeful he will soon be back on the mound.
"It just [stinks] that something like that sidelined me," Foltynewicz said. "It wasn't an actual injury or anything. I just got sick. I feel really bad because I put my teammates in a bad situation."
When Foltynewicz was unable to make his scheduled start against the Marlins on Sept. 2, the Braves recalled Williams Perez from Triple-A Gwinnett earlier than expected. The rotation was also affected by a couple of other developments over the past week. Manny Banuelos was shut down with a sore left elbow and Matt Wisler experienced a brief bullpen stint aimed toward halting his recent struggles.
Wisler will return to the rotation to start Friday night's game against the Mets. But it is still not clear when Foltynewicz will return to action or what role he will assume.
Foltynewicz played catch for the first time in more than a week Thursday and will likely complete a few bullpen sessions before being inserted into a game. His energy was zapped to the point that he still feels some fatigue after walking a flight of stairs.
"He hasn't done anything," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think he's just been laid out. We'll see where he's at, but I can't tell you it's going to be Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday. We don't know if he's going to start or we'll just get him out of the 'pen and let him go an inning or two."
Foltynewicz began battling some congestion when the Braves traveled to San Diego on Aug. 16. His condition got worse after returning to Atlanta the following week. Still, the five innings he completed against the Rockies on Aug. 25 provided him and the team reason to look forward to how he pitched over the remainder of the season.
"It wasn't something I could really control, but it also stinks that I was kind of going in the right direction with my pitching," Foltynewicz said. "This kind of set me back a little bit."
The Braves made another change to the pitching staff Thursday, when they activated right-handed reliever Daniel Winkler from the 60-day disabled list. Winkler was selected out of the Rockies' system during the 2014 Rule 5 Draft. He spent this summer working out at the Braves' Spring Training complex while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The service time Winkler compiles over the remainder of this year counts toward the 90 days he is required to be on Atlanta's active roster. Thus, the Braves could essentially carry him through the first two months of next year and then send him to the Minors without having to offer him back to the Rockies.