Late today, the Atlanta Braves optioned starting pitcher Michael Soroka to AAA Gwinnett. The club has 31 players remaining in their Major League camp.
Today’s move wasn’t a surprise. The last time Soroka toed the rubber on a Major League mound was August 3, 2020. After three surgeries to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon. Soroka finally returned to the bump last August throwing 25 innings over six starts with Rome and Gwinnett.
Following his first injury-free offseason since 2019, Soroka came to camp with an eye on reclaiming his spot in the Braves rotation, but a hamstring injury stopped that attempt before it started.
The Road to Atlanta
Soroka started his first Grapefruit League game since 2019 Wednesday, facing the Tigers lineup once before leaving the game. Yesterday’s outing was the first step on his road back to Atlanta, he’ll have to make several starts with Gwinnett to work his way back to the dominating pitcher we saw in 2019.
The Atlanta Braves will want to get him up to 100 pitches while watching carefully for any sign of the shoulder fatigue he experienced last September.
How long that takes will depend on how quickly Soroka regains the pinpoint command that earned him a sixth place finish in Cy Young voting and a second place for NL Rookies of the Year.
Atlanta Braves Potential Rotation
In Kyle Write returns on time, the first three four slots in the Braves rotation are set, with Write joining Max Fried, Spencer Strider, and Charlie Morton. The fifth spot is still an open question with Hared Shuster and Dylan Dodd the remaining candidates.
The race looks neck-and-neck today; Shuster’s thrown 12 2/3 innings at a 0.71 ERA, striking out 16 and walking two, while Dodd thrown 13 innings with a 0.69 ERA, striking out 15 and walking two.
It’s a race to wire, but the Braves schedule is the roughest to open the season in a while, and both pitchers will get their shot before June.
That’s a Wrap
Atlanta Braves fans have waited impatiently for Soroka’ s return, and barring something unforeseen I expect them to see him in Atlanta In June.
The season’s less than two weeks away; buckle up, it looks like a fun ride ahead.