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Wright goes 3 scoreless vs. dangerous Yanks

Braves' No. 2 prospect strikes out three, allows two singles
@mlbbowman
March 5, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. -- As Kyle Wright cruised through a Yankees lineup that included Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge on Tuesday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the right-hander showed why there is a strong possibility he may soon become a fixture in Atlanta's rotation. "I think it was one of

TAMPA, Fla. -- As Kyle Wright cruised through a Yankees lineup that included Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge on Tuesday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the right-hander showed why there is a strong possibility he may soon become a fixture in Atlanta's rotation.

"I think it was one of the better ones I've pitched [against big leaguers]," Wright said. "I attacked the zone well, and when I fell behind, I made some pitches to help me get back into it. I think it was a great experience all the way around."

Less than two years removed from Vanderbilt and with just six big league innings under his belt, Wright doesn't have a long inventory against which to compare this outing. But there weren't any signs of limited experience or trepidation as the highly touted right-hander completed three scoreless innings in the Braves' 5-1 loss to the Yankees.

Wright made his presence known as he recorded two strikeouts in the first, pitching around Stanton's single. The 23-year-old righty froze Judge with a 3-2 curveball and then ended the inning by getting Luke Voit to swing through a 96-mph fastball.

"You just look at how the ball was jumping out of his hand," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He was real good."

After benefiting from a couple of valuable defensive contributions in the second, Wright ended his outing by getting Troy Tulowitzki to whiff on a 95-mph heater. The young hurler has notched six strikeouts, surrendered four hits and completed five walk-free innings through his first two starts against the Cardinals and Yankees.

"It's still a learning process for me, but every day I feel more and more comfortable," said Wright, whom MLB Pipeline ranks as the game's 30th-best prospect and the second-best prospect within Atlanta's rich system.

Wright has the potential to entrench himself within the Braves' rotation at some point this year. But it appears he could spend the early part of the season sharing Atlanta's fifth spot on a rotating basis with Touki Toussaint and Max Fried. Each of these prospects has Minor League options and could be shuttled between Atlanta and Gwinnett.

"All these guys are going to factor in at some point during the season," Snitker said. "It's good to see how they respond and handle themselves in these situations."

(Bringer of) Rain delayed
Rain prevented Josh Donaldson from simulating game activities at the Braves' complex on Tuesday. The 2015 American League MVP Award winner will complete these exercises Wednesday, enjoy the team's scheduled off-day Thursday and then make his spring debut on Friday night against the Phillies.

The Braves are being cautious with Donaldson, who battled Spring Training ailments before, with a calf injury the past two seasons. The third baseman still has enough time to compile approximately 40 plate appearances while getting regular days off over the remainder of the exhibition season.

Kevin Gausman will also make his spring debut Friday, after being slowed by right shoulder discomfort during the early days of camp.

Pache dazzles
When center fielder Cristian Pache ended Tuesday's sixth inning by making a sliding catch of DJ LeMahieu's drive to the left-center-field gap, he showed why Andruw Jones has spent the past two years touting him as the organization's best outfielder.

"I was looking to make sure [the infielders] were lined up good for the double, and the next thing you know, he's diving and making the catch," Snitker said. "We've known that about his defensive prowess."

MLB Pipeline ranks Pache as baseball's 37th-best prospect and the Braves' fourth-best prospect. The 20-year-old outfielder will likely begin this season with Double-A Mississippi.

Folty update
Mike Foltynewicz was cleared to resume throwing exercises. The All-Star hurler will not be ready to make what would have been his first Opening Day start, but the Braves are hopeful he could be ready to join the rotation by the end of the regular season's first full week.

Up next
Fifth-starter candidates Toussaint and Bryse Wilson will start the opposite ends of the Braves' split-squad games on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Toussaint will start the home game against the Tigers, and Wilson will be on the mound for the road game against the Marlins.

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