PHILADELPHIA -- Spencer Strider returned to Atlanta early Saturday morning hoping to get a chance to pitch again this year.
Strider’s regular season came to a close when his left oblique again created discomfort as he attempted to begin a side session on Friday. The Braves placed the heralded rookie pitcher on the 15-day injured list with the hope he might be healthy enough to pitch at some point during the postseason.
“Hopefully, he heals up and is available,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We’ll know in a week or so.”
Strider felt discomfort near the end of his six-inning start against the Phillies on Sept. 18. The Braves revealed the oblique discomfort during the ensuing days, but there was hope the 23-year-old hurler could make at least one start during the upcoming week. Multiple tests allowed the team to stay positive.
But the discomfort was still present when Strider attempted to throw off a mound for the first time in five days. So, the Braves shut him down before he could suffer an injury that would definitely end his year.
“If the [oblique] goes, it’s a Spring Training thing,” Snitker said.
Strider posted a 2.67 ERA over 31 appearances (20 starts) and became the first Braves rookie during the modern era to record 200 strikeouts in a season. The top National League Rookie of the Year Award candidate would have likely been given a start during next weekend’s big series against the first-place Mets.
Bryce Elder started against the Nationals on Wednesday and could make another start against the same team on Monday at Nationals Park to help account for Strider's absence. The Braves could also promote Kyle Muller to make a start next week, possibly in place of Jake Odorizzi, who has lasted fewer than five innings in five of his eight starts for Atlanta, including each of his past two.
There was a chance Strider would have made a start during next weekend’s series against the Mets. The Braves still have the option to use Kyle Wright, Charlie Morton and Max Fried during that three-game set -- which could decide who wins NL East.