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Soroka feeling 'awesome' after live BP session

Young Braves ace likely on track for first Opening Day start
@mlbbowman
February 24, 2020

NORTH PORT, Fla. -- Mike Soroka quickly quieted concerns about his health when he exited Monday morning’s live BP session in pain-free fashion and began aiming to likely make his spring debut on Friday against the Yankees.

NORTH PORT, Fla. -- Mike Soroka quickly quieted concerns about his health when he exited Monday morning’s live BP session in pain-free fashion and began aiming to likely make his spring debut on Friday against the Yankees.

“I felt awesome,” Soroka said after throwing what essentially amounted to one simulated inning. “I felt like myself. So, we’re all go.”

Soroka had been scheduled to start Sunday, but the Braves opted to push him back a few days because he tweaked his right adductor muscle while throwing a live BP session last week.

“In my last live BP, I tried to my backside on my changeup,” Soroka said. “I just kind of dragged my backside a little long. I felt a little tightness in my adductor, so they said we might as well back it up a day or two.”

Box score: Blue Jays 4, Braves 3

The Braves have not annunced this week’s rotation. But by starting Soroka on Friday, they would put him back on the same schedule that had been set before he was skipped on Sunday. This track would allow the potential National League Cy Young Award candidate a chance to have five spring starts before making what would be his first career Opening Day start on March 26 vs. the D-backs.

“Five [starts] will be lots,” Soroka said. “We get to work on some things we’ve … worked on all offseason and ultimately get ready for Opening Day.”

Soroka earned this expected Opening Day assignment after posting a 2.68 ERA over 29 starts last season. He ended his memorable rookie year by limiting the Cardinals to two hits and one run over seven innings in Game 3 of the NL Division Series.

Getting a chance to make his first Opening Day start in Arizona would give Soroka a chance to extend his dominance outside of Atlanta. His MLB-best 1.55 road ERA was the third-best such mark posted by any pitcher (minimum 15 road starts) within the divisional era (since 1969). The only pitchers with better marks were Greg Maddux (1.12 in 1995) and Roger Clemens (1.32 in 2005).

Up next
Mike Foltynewicz will flip the page Tuesday when the Braves host the Twins at CoolToday Park. Foltynewicz will be making his first start since being chased during the Cardinals’ 10-run first inning in Game 5 of the National League Division Series last year. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET. Listen live on Gameday Audio.

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