Atlanta Braves Option AJ Smith-Shawver, Recall Derrek Rodriguez

Atlanta Braves v Cincinnati Reds
Atlanta Braves v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Braves optioned AJ Smith-Shawver to Gwinnett Monday morning and recalled reliever Derreck Rodriguez, the club announced. Smith-Shawver was slated to start on Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins, but the club has other plans.

The 20-year-old was called up on May 30 and made his major league debut in relief in Arizona on June 4. After Michael Soroka was optioned, the Braves slotted him in the rotation, where he made three starts.

Smith-Shawver had his ups and downs in his three weeks in the rotation. In 14.1 innings, he allowed eight earned runs (5.01 ERA) and allowed five homers. He struck out 12 and walked five. His most recent start was his worst, where he allowed five runs in just 3.1 innings.

The righty will continue to build on his success in the minors, but his career to date is already impressive, considering that he only started pitching as a senior in high school in 2021. In 33 innings this year across A, AA, and AAA, Smith-Shawver has a 1.09 ERA.

Who is replacing Smith-Shawwver in the rotation?

Smith-Shawver's demotion obviously leaves a spot open in the rotation, and it appears that the Braves are likely bringing back Michael Soroka. Soroka last started on June 22, where he went seven innings in a complete game, only allowing one run and one hit, and taking a no-hitter into the seventh.

If Soroka does start against the Twins on June 28, it will be his first home start in 1059 days.

Derrek Rodríguez will fill in as the long reliever in a bullpen that was heavily taxed in the series against the Cincinnati Reds. Rodríguez, son of Hall-of-Famer Ivan Rodríguez, pitched one game for Atlanta this season, going two innings against the Phillies on May 28. He will likely be optioned for Wednesday's starter.