“It gets you a little emotional, but I couldn’t be happier to do it,” Fried said.
Members of the baseball world have spent the past couple months mourning the passing of Skaggs, the former Angels pitcher who died in the Dallas-area team hotel on July 1. Major League Baseball has given Fried, Christian Yelich, Mike Moustakas, Lucas Giolito and Jack Flaherty permission to adorn their jersey this weekend with this tribute message on the back of their respective jerseys.
Fried, Giolito and Flaherty played together at suburban Los Angeles’ Harvard-Westlake High School. They spent the past few offseasons working out with Skaggs.
“One of [Skaggs’] big sayings when [we] were working out was ‘bring spark,’ which to me meant do whatever you had to do to leave it all out there on the field and bring that spark every day,” Fried said.
Fried will wear “Maximus” on the back of his jersey during the games played against the Mets on Friday and Sunday. He appreciates MLB providing him a chance to take a little bit more than just Skaggs’ memory with him to the mound on Saturday.
“The group of us who worked out together [with Skaggs] were talking and we thought it was a good idea to do something to honor him in some way,” Fried said. “We just got to talking and reached out to the reps at the Players Association to see if they thought it could be doable. We had already put our [Players’ Weekend] names in [earlier this year]. But just to be able to do this for one night or a couple nights to pay our respects and give him a nice tribute is something we wanted to do.”
Dansby Swanson’s previously bruised right heel did not create any discomfort when he went 3-for-4 while serving as a designated hitter for Class A Rome on Thursday night. Swanson will extend his rehab assignment by playing at least six innings at the shortstop position on Friday.
The Braves will evaluate Swanson on Saturday to get a better feel for when he will be ready to be activated. There’s a chance the 25-year-old shortstop could be activated early next week, but the Braves want to give him time to regain his endurance and shake off the rust that has developed since he was placed on the injured list retroactive to July 24.
Austin Riley began his rehab assignment by serving as Rome’s designated hitter on Friday. Riley has not experienced any lingering discomfort since a MRI exam performed on Aug. 8 showed a partially torn ligament in his right knee. The young slugger will likely remain on his rehab assignment until rosters expand on Sept. 1.
Darren O'Day recorded two strikeouts in a scoreless inning for the Gulf Coast League Braves on Friday. This was the first time O’Day pitched in a game since he strained his right forearm during his Spring Training debut on March 1. O’Day, currently on the 60-day injured list, is a possible September addition, but before making a decision, the Braves need to make sure he’s healthy and that there is room on what has become a crowded 40-man roster.