After spending three weeks on the injured list, Max Fried will make his return to the mound on Wednesday against the Nationals.
Fried threw live batting practice last week, and says he is back to his normal five-day routine. The Braves lefty has also been baserunning and taking time to work on his craft in the batter's box.
Fried was sidelined following an April 13 loss to the Marlins, during which he suffered a right hamstring strain while trying to advance from second to third base on a wild pitch.
“I’m feeling great. I'm itching to get back out there," Fried said. "I've never liked just sitting on the sidelines watching [our] guys go out there and play. I'm really excited to get back out there and start competing again and try to win games.”
Compared to his numbers from the 2020 season, Fried struggled through his first three starts of the season. The lefty has an 11.45 ERA through 11 innings. Fried has had time on the IL to work through some of his mechanical issues and hopes to regain the pop he maintained last year, when he had a 2.25 ERA with 50 strikeouts and a 7-0 record over 11 starts.
“I wasn't as crisp in my delivery, and I wasn't as timed up," Fried said. "I was really late and I wasn't really driving the baseball like I was last year. [I] definitely wanted to make sure that when I came back I was going to be doing more of driving the baseball and focusing on executing those spots like I was last year, rather than just kind of throwing it in there.”
Jones down, Kazmar up
On Monday's off-day, the Braves optioned Nate Jones to the alternate training site. Atlanta had opted for a short bench during its weekend series against Toronto because of the DH, but because the Braves began a series against their division rival on Tuesday, they returned back to their roots with a five-man bench.
To fill Jones’ spot the Braves recalled veteran infielder Sean Kazmar Jr.
Kazmar, 36, spent most of the past 12 years in the Minors -- he was recalled in April for the first time since 2008. The infielder appeared in two games and went 0-for-1 before being sent back to the alternate training site.
With the Minor League season beginning on Tuesday, clubs won’t have to rely on the alternate site and teams will again be able to evaluate Minor Leaguers in competitive game action.
“It's great, I talked to a couple of the managers today when they were on their way to the games and everybody’s excited," manager Brian Snitker said. "It's going to be such a good thing to get Minor League baseball going again. It’d just be nice to take another step towards normalcy I think.”
• Travis d’Arnaud underwent successful surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb on Monday. The surgery was performed in Atlanta by Dr. Gary Lourie.
d’Arnaud exited Saturday's game against the Blue Jays in the sixth inning, after awkwardly tagging Randal Grichuk at the plate. He will spend the next few weeks rehabbing while remaining on the 60-day IL, likely for the full 60 days, but Snitker and the Braves expect to see d'Arnaud return later in the season. The catcher has a .220 average with 18 hits, including two home runs, over 23 games.
• The Braves announced that Chris Martin will have a rehab assignment with the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers. Martin will pitch an inning on Wednesday as he works through right shoulder inflammation.
• Snitker also gave an update on outfielder Guillermo Heredia's status. Heredia was placed on the 10-day IL on Saturday due to right hamstring inflammation. He has thrown and hit soft toss over the past few days, but has not yet begun any running drills.
Heredia was hitting .300/.429/.575 over 49 plate appearances before going on the IL. He will continue to receive treatment as the Braves eye his return.