Things have largely been going well for the Atlanta Braves in their Opening Day matchup as they currently lead the Nationals by the score of 4-1 which could have easily been more if they had been able to capitalize on the multitude of scoring chances early. However, the news got decided worse in the fourth inning as Max Fried was forced to leave the game with an apparent leg injury.
Max been pitching very well to start the day as he was efficient and the only run he gave up was at least partially because the sun has been fielders on both sides fits all afternoon. However, he was injured while running to cover first base on a ground ball and appeared to grab the back of his leg which, at least at first, leads one to think that he could have felt something in his hamstring. After a conversation with the training staff, the Braves pulled him from the game and newcomer Lucas Luetge entered the game.
What does Max Fried's injury mean in the short and long-term?
There is no official word just yet as to why he was pulled and one certainly hopes that it was just a precautionary move. That would not be unheard of as the Braves are not going to take any chances this early in the season with arguably their best pitcher. Moreover, the injury didn't LOOK too serious as Fried was able to make the play without too much difficulty.
The Braves are fortunate to have the starting pitching depth that they have. With Kyle Wright on the injured list as he works his way back into form after getting a cortisone shot in his shoulder this offseason, the Braves have already dipped into their minor league ranks with Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd expected to make early season starts. In the event that Fried has to miss any time, their options include Ian Anderson and Bryce Elder who both have experience in the major leagues.
While it is certainly far from ideal for Fried to get hurt in his first start of the season, the Braves are at least pretty well equipped to deal with his potential absence should that come to pass. Once we know more as to what is going on with Max, we will provide those updates.