Notes: Smith on track; rotation; Albies' wrist

August 3rd, 2020

ATLANTA -- To keep on track to be activated later this week, the Braves did not allow Mother Nature to alter the left-handed reliever’s schedule on Monday afternoon.

As heavy storms passed through the Truist Park area, Smith was throwing live batting practice within one of the stadium’s indoor batting cages. The All-Star reliever will throw a simulated game on Wednesday and possibly make his season debut this weekend in Philadelphia.

“Everything went well,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He threw the ball really well. It was good to get him out there. I think he threw 25 pitches. He was turning it loose. We got done what we needed to.”

Smith tested positive for COVID-19 before Summer Camp began on July 3 and was not cleared to return to the team’s facilities until July 26. He remained asymptomatic throughout the month, so the suburban Atlanta native was able to continue making some preparations on his own.

Mark Melancon has been labeled the team’s closer dating back to November, when Smith signed a three-year, $39 million deal. But the addition of Smith will provide another closing option and add quality depth to a bullpen that has impressed with a 3.07 ERA through 10 games.

Rotation plans
The Braves have not yet shown an indication that they plan to promote top pitching prospect Ian Anderson this week.

Sean Newcomb is lined up to face the Blue Jays on Wednesday and Touki Toussaint will start Thursday’s series finale against Toronto. In other words, it doesn’t look like the Braves are ready to make any adjustments to the final three spots of their rotation, which has produced a 7.71 ERA through two turns.

Newcomb has weakened his bid to remain in the rotation while allowing opponents to produce a .378 on-base percentage through his first two starts. But Toussaint and Kyle Wright have both shown signs of promise in the fourth and fifth spots.

Toussaint blanked the Mets over four innings while making his first start on Saturday in place of Mike Foltynewicz, who was designated for assignment five days earlier. Toussaint had to accelerate his preparations after spending the first two weeks of Summer Camp on the injured list.

Like Smith, Toussaint tested positive but remained asymptomatic.

Albies’ wrist
Ozzie Albies was back in the lineup for Monday night’s series finale against the Mets.

After Albies was out of the lineup for the second time in three days on Sunday, Snitker said he would spend the next couple of weeks occasionally resting Albies, who has been dealing with a right wrist ailment that began bothering him just before the start of the regular season.

“It was two weeks ago when I first felt it,” Albies said. “It was just a little thing, so I kept playing. But then I just felt it a little bit more and had to rest it. It’s getting better right now.”

Albies does not remember any specific event that may have caused the wrist discomfort. He recorded three extra-base hits in a July 26 win in New York. But entering Monday, he had gone 2-for-13 over his past four games.