Max Fried injury history and updates
By Logan Dollar
Atlanta Braves staff leader, Max Fried, has been placed on the 15 day IL with a strained left forearm. This news came as a surprise to most that follow the team, considering the left hander had been dominate early on this season and showed no signs of health issues. Early in the afternoon yesterday, Atlanta announced Fried's IL stint and that it would be backdated to May 6th.
This most recent injury is his second encounter with the IL in 2023 and will certainly be a much longer stay than his initial trip. Luckily, the team seems to be confident that Fried avoided his second Tommy John surgery, but the rehab will likely be tenuous and require another spring training-like ramp up before he can return.
Let's revisit all of Max Fried's injuries in his professional career starting with the minor leagues, examine how long he was out each time, and how his performance was effected upon his returns.
Max Fried Injury History
July 2014 - May 2016 - Tommy John Surgery
Some may not know that Max Fried was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres. In late July of 2014, Max felt elbow pain in his throwing arm after a minor league start and would ultimately require his first and only Tommy John surgery. Atlanta would eventually make the trade for Fried while he was sidelined recovering from the injury. He made his Braves minor league debut at the start of the 2016 season. He clearly recovered well as he spent two seasons climbing the ranks until he made his major league debut in 2018.
July 2018 - Blisters
Fried made his debut in 2017, but only had a handful of starts. The same went for 2018, but his first run in with injuries in the major leagues came in July of that year in Atlanta. The left-hander had multiple issues with blisters on his throwing hand that reportedly affected his outings, and ultimately lead to being on the injured list in July of that year. It was shown to be the left middle finger that was the main culprit. It isn't hard to imagine the side effects that would have on anyone's dominate throwing hand. Some Braves fans may remember that this was somewhat of an ongoing saga into the next few years of his career.
May 2019 & July 2019 - Hand/ Blister
It's worth noting that Fried was struck in the hand by an Alex Verdugo comeback line drive in May of 2019. He was pulled from his start at the time, but x-rays were negative and he actually took the mound in his next turn in the rotation. However; just two months later, the pesky blisters returned and he spent 10 days on the IL after dealing with them in 2018 as well. Fried would ultimately stay mostly healthy in his first full major league season, while going 17-6 with 4.02 ERA in over 160 innings.
September 2020 - Lumbar Muscle Spasm
In the COVID shortened year of 2020, Fried reportedly dealt with lower back tightness for several starts. This ultimately culminated in a 10-day IL stint where he was listed as officially having spasms in his lumbar spine. Fried would miss the minimum amount of starts and go on to pitch well in what was left of the very quirky 60 game season.
April 2021 - Hamstring Injury
In a bit of foreshadowing, Fried spent 3 weeks on the IL with a hamstring injury in the 2021 season's first month; however, this particular time was done in the ancient times of baseball when pitcher's hit and ran for themselves. Fried tweaked the hamstring running from second to third and would not return to the starting rotation until May of that year.
June 2021 - Blister
The saga continues as Fried would miss a start because of blisters on his throwing hand once again. This would be the last known run in with the blisters to date, but they had definitely been a factor through most of Fried's early career.
August 2022 - Concussion
With arguably his weirdest injury, Max Fried hit his head on the ground when trying to retrieve an errant throw from shortstop Dansby Swanson on a double play attempt. Fried would go on to miss a couple of starts, but luckily suffered no reported long term effects from the concussion. He impressively recovered to the tune of finishing second in the National League Cy Young race.
April 2023 - Left Hamstring
In Fried's most recent injury, before his newly strained forearm, the left-hander strained his left hamstring on Opening Day of 2023. When trying to cover first, midway through his start against the Nationals, Fried pulled up lame after successfully recording the out. Although he attempted to throw some pitches and push through, he came out and eventually missed the first three weeks of the season. Fried recovered nicely and was off to a great start building on his near Cy Young winning 2022. Unfortunately, the 2023 award will not likely be in his future.