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Riley rooting for ASG finalists: 'I'm super happy'

Soroka feels lingering tightness; Newcomb activated
@mlbbowman
June 26, 2019

CHICAGO -- Had Austin Riley made his Major League debut a little earlier, the Braves likely would have eight players on the ballot when the Google MLB All-Star Starters Election began Wednesday. Even though the timing was not right for Riley, he will be eagerly waiting to see how his

CHICAGO -- Had Austin Riley made his Major League debut a little earlier, the Braves likely would have eight players on the ballot when the Google MLB All-Star Starters Election began Wednesday.

Even though the timing was not right for Riley, he will be eagerly waiting to see how his seven teammates fare in this new balloting process that will determine who will be in the starting lineups for this year’s All-Star Game.

“To have seven guys is pretty impressive,” Riley said. “It shows you the complete team we have. Everybody comes in here and gets after it. It’s cool to be a part of. I’m super happy for those guys. Hopefully, all seven make it and then go out there and show out for Atlanta.”

Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies and Nick Markakis are the Braves’ candidates looking to earn a second straight All-Star selection. Freeman drew more votes than any other player last year, and Markakis was elected to start in what was his first career All-Star Game.

Brian McCann earned an All-Star selection in seven of his first eight full Major League seasons (2006-13) with the Braves and now is in position to again represent the hometown team that brought him back this year.

The other Braves on the ballot are Josh Donaldson, who is seeking his fourth All-Star selection, and Dansby Swanson and Ronald Acuña Jr., who are seeking their first.

Since his Major League debut May 15, Riley has the National League’s fifth-highest homer total (12). Ender Inciarte, who has been sidelined since injuring his lower back on May 14, was listed as the Braves’ third outfielder on the Primary ballot.

“Everybody wants to be on the ballot,” Riley said. “I’m just trying to get my feet wet and be that fly on the wall. I just want to come out here, do my business and take care of business.”

Soroka update

Mike Soroka felt some lingering tightness when he tested his bruised right forearm by playing catch at Wrigley Field on Tuesday afternoon. Soroka is scheduled throw a side session on Wednesday. The Braves will then determine whether he’ll make a start during this weekend’s series against the Mets.

Soroka’s next turn in the rotation would come Friday in series opener at Citi Field. But it seems more likely the Braves will push him back at least a day or two. There certainly isn’t any reason to take any risks with the 21-year-old right-hander, who ranks second in the Majors with a 2.07 ERA.

If the Braves were to place Soroka on the injured list, the rookie would be eligible to be activated July 4. Soroka remains hopeful to start this weekend, but he seems to understand the benefit of possibly pushing his start back.

“Even if you feel like you could do it, doesn’t necessarily mean everything is OK to do it,” Soroka said, “because if your forearm is tight, it means your elbow is tight, which means everything else in your arm is tight.

“You’re just putting yourself at risk. So, we’re going to make sure we’re at 100 percent instead of 90 percent.”

Newcomb returns

After being activated from the 7-day concussion injured list Tuesday, Sean Newcomb said the Braves made the right move to sideline him after he experienced a “tiny bit of fogginess” three days after he was hit in the back of the head by J.T. Realmuto’s line drive.

“Yeah, definitely, just to be safe with the brain, because I had some concussions in the past,” said Newcomb, who suffered the concussions while playing high school football.

Chad Sobotka was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett to open a roster spot for Newcomb, whose ability to cover multiple innings will provide some much-needed depth to the Braves’ bullpen, which has been taxed over the past few days.

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