Soroka re-tears Achilles, done for 2021

Snitker on hurler's future: 'I would never bet against this guy'

June 26th, 2021

ATLANTA -- will miss the remainder of this season after once again tearing his Achilles tendon.

The right-hander tore his surgically repaired right Achilles tendon while simply walking into the home clubhouse at Truist Park on Thursday, the team announced. An MRI exam showed a complete re-tear of the tendon. The pitcher was continuing to rehab from the surgical procedure performed after he originally tore his right Achilles on Aug. 3.

“I hate it for him,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s such a dedicated young man and wants nothing more than to be able to get out there and compete. He’ll do whatever he has to do.”

Soroka will undergo surgery next week. A timetable for his return will be determined after the procedure. But based on other re-tears, he likely won’t be ready to pitch again before July 2022.

As Soroka drove to Truist Park, he was feeling better than he had in months. A walking boot had been removed from his right foot on Wednesday and he was looking forward to accelerating his rehab program. But as he walked from his car and entered the clubhouse, he felt a pop that caused him to scream as he fell to the ground.

“That day, he was going into the ballpark feeling really good about things and ready to get, you know, get started again,” Snitker said.

This is another significant injury setback for Soroka, who has made just 37 starts dating back to his Major League debut on May 1, 2018. He made just five starts that year before being shut down with a right shoulder ailment. Then, after finishing sixth in balloting for the 2019 National League Cy Young Award, he tore the Achilles just three starts into the 2020 season.

Soroka was initially aiming to join Atlanta’s rotation near the end of April. That bid was halted by right shoulder inflammation, which he now believes was a result of the altered mechanics he used to compensate for the discomfort he was feeling around his right Achilles.

After continuing to feel discomfort while simply walking, Soroka underwent exploratory surgery in May. The procedure determined that the lingering discomfort the 23-year-old had been feeling since the end of March was a result of his body rejecting the sutures that had been placed in his Achilles during the initial surgery.

When Soroka spoke to reporters a little more than a week ago, he was still in a walking boot, but was hoping to be cleared to begin walking freely and throwing without being restricted by the end of this month. He was hopeful he might be able to pitch again at some point this season.

Now, there’s reason to question whether Soroka will be physically capable of getting back to where he was when he established himself as one of the game’s top pitchers in 2019.

“I expect him to get back,” Snitker said. “He’s determined. I would never bet against this guy.”