3 pressing questions surrounding the Braves

May 5th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Mark Bowman’s Braves Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

With this month’s first homestand starting tonight, here are a few questions the Braves will need to answer in May.

Who will fill ’s shoes?

Wright came out of nowhere to win 21 games last year and now the baseball gods are feeding him a plethora of frustration. Wright started the season on the injured list, seemed to find a groove before rain limited him to three innings against the Marlins last week, and now finds himself back on the injured list. 

When Wright arrived at Spring Training, he was behind schedule because he rested three weeks in January after receiving a cortisone injection in his right shoulder. His preparations never felt rushed, especially after he began the season on the injured list. But now, he finds himself on the injured list with shoulder soreness, an always-concerning ailment for pitchers. 

With Wright sidelined, the Braves could lean on , or . Dodd came up from Triple-A Gwinnett to provide six strong innings in Thursday’s win over the Marlins. But with two off-days next week, the Braves don’t have to carry five starters again until May 16. So, the team can wait another week before deciding how to best fill its rotation while Wright is sidelined. 

What will the Braves do with ?

Same question that has been asked over the past month. The answer is just a little different since Ozuna hit three home runs over the past two days in Miami. This unexpected power display isn’t enough to create trade value. But it is enough for the Braves to hope this is a sign the veteran slugger might at least be a more reliable option in the lineup as a designated hitter.

The question has always been where will Ozuna fit once returns from the injured list?

With d’Arnaud returning from a fourth concussion, does it make sense to keep around to handle some backup catching duties while d’Arnaud primarily serves as a DH? Or maybe it just makes more sense to give d’Arnaud a little more time to ensure he is ready to catch a couple of times a week and serve as a DH in the other games. A little extra time would at least create a chance to know whether Ozuna’s past two days in Miami were actually the start of something.

What happens when returns?

Arcia began swinging a bat this week, meaning he could return from his broken wrist at some point next week. The veteran infielder will certainly regain his role as Atlanta’s shortstop. If he extends his early-season success, he’ll remain in that role. If the wrist injury limits him, there is a chance the job would be given to , who entered Thursday with a .862 OPS over his past 16 games for Gwinnett.