Right shoulder woes land Soroka back on DL

June 22nd, 2018

ATLANTA -- A little more than a week after ending a month-long layoff, Braves rookie hurler is once again on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
"It's much the same as the problem we had before," Soroka said. "The good news about that is we're ahead of the curve and know what to do to get rid of it. It's just about what they told us to keep it under control."
Soroka was encouraged when an MRI performed Thursday showed no structural damage. But the Braves still had no choice but to put him back on the 10-day DL with what the pitcher described as rotator cuff inflammation. The Braves promoted versatile switch-hitting outfielder Danny Santana from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill the vacant roster spot.
"Something still isn't right," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's got [something] in there, and the best thing to do is to shut him down for a while and try to get him right."
The Braves recognized something was not right as Soroka's velocity dipped while he allowed four runs on eight hits, including six doubles, over 4 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays on Tuesday. His four-seam fastball touched 93.4 mph and averaged 92.3 mph during the first inning. In the fifth, it maxed out at 91.7 mph and dipped as low as 89.3 mph.
More importantly, Soroka could physically feel a difference with his arm speed.
"I know what's ahead of me and I know that it's something we have to take slowly," Soroka said. "I'm going to be getting there in a few days where I'm going to want to throw again. But it might be smarter to back it up a little more and just make sure it is gone because it doesn't do anyone any good for me to be pitching like this."
While the Braves are obviously not ready to set a timetable for Soroka's return, it's certainly feasible to believe the 20-year-old right-hander will remain on the DL through the All-Star break.
Soroka was initially placed on the DL when he felt shoulder discomfort following his May 12 start in Miami. He rested for a week, then prepared to make the first of two Minor League rehab starts on June 1.
When Soroka returned to Atlanta's rotation on June 13, he kept the Mets hitless through six innings and then exited his 74-pitch return having allowed just one hit over 6 1/3 frames. The lone four-seam fastball he threw during the seventh registered 93.4 mph.
"It's just getting angry at me because of the way my shoulder is," Soroka said. "That's all easily correctable. It's not like we did anything wrong the last time, it's just the way it is sometimes. It's something we need to get under control, so I can get out there, take the mound every fifth day and do what I know I can do."

Santana got off to a slow start this season for Gwinnett, but the outfielder hit .316 with seven home runs and a .978 OPS over his past 24 games.
Folty appears ready
Mike Foltynewicz completed Friday's bullpen session in pain-free fashion. If he doesn't feel any discomfort when he awakes Saturday, the Braves' right-hander will likely be activated from the DL to start Monday's game against the Reds.
Foltynewicz had been targeted to start Sunday, but with Soroka now on the DL, the Braves have opted to essentially put back in the rotation as soon as possible. McCarthy's start on Sunday will serve as his first appearance since June 15. McCarthy was the odd man out after Soroka and returned from the DL, but the Braves did not immediately push him into a relief role because there was some uncertainty about Foltynewicz, who has not pitched since exiting his June 12 start with right triceps tightness.

An inspiration
Recent White Sox draftee Matt Klug experienced the thrill of meeting Freddie Freeman before Friday night's game. Klug recently lost both of his parents and his best friend to early deaths. As he has persevered, he has been inspired by Freeman, who was just 10 years old when his mother passed away.
"Just seeing him up here is something you look up to," Klug said. "You think if he can do it, so can I."

Inspired by Klug's story and the determination he brought to the field every day, the White Sox took Klug in the 38th round of this year's MLB Draft. The 17-year-old suburban Atlanta native recently graduated from Brookwood High School, which is the alma mater of Snitker's children.

Snitker and Freeman both spent time with Klug on the field before Friday's batting practice was rained out.
"[Freeman] told me he knows what I've gone through and to just keep going," said Klug, who will attend the University of North Georgia-Gainesville this fall.