Braves News: Joe Jimenez "close to 100% right now", expects to be ready Opening Day

Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

When the Atlanta Braves acquired reliever Joe Jimenez from the Tigers this offseason, it was a move that caught some folks off guard. Jimenez certainly has a live arm, but in order to nab him, the Braves had to give up arguably their best position prospect (and certainly the closest to the big leagues) Justyn-Henry Malloy.

Once the dust settled, most agreed that the addition of Jimenez would simply help the Braves continue to double down on the bullpen as a strength of the roster without taking on too much of a financial commitment to do it. However, when word got out that Jimenez had a surgical procedure on his back this offseason, some of those fears started popping back up again.

Fortunately, those fears appear to be unfounded as Jimenez went on the record to explain exactly where he is at this point in spring training.

While DOB's initial reporting on Jimenez's back procedure noted that it was considered minor and that he was expected to be ready by the start of the season, it sure is nice to hear straight from Jimenez that all is well. Jimenez noted that his offseason has been normal despite the procedure given how minor the procedure truly was. He also noted that he has been extra cautious by not participating in the World Baseball Classic which will allow him to be close to the Braves' training staff.

While some of his overall numbers in his career with the Tigers weren't particularly awesome, Jimenez has some very encouraging peripherals, notably his strikeout rate. Case in point: in 2022, Jimenez struck out 77 batters in 56.2 innings pitched on his way to one of his best seasons as a professional. Hopefully he can keep his walk rate in check with the Braves as he was able to do with the Tigers in 2022.