Michael Soroka is no longer starting for Gwinnett making his MLB return more likely

Jun 13, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Michael Soroka (40) delivers a pitch
Jun 13, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Michael Soroka (40) delivers a pitch / Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
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With Dylan Dodd getting optioned back to Gwinnett yesterday, all eyes have turned to the the Atlanta Braves' next series against Oakland and who was going to be in the rotation. Yeah, sure, it is possible that the newly recalled Dereck Rodriguez could factor into that, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone that didn't think it was becoming real that Michael Soroka could be making his return to the big leagues.

The first clue was a couple days ago when manager Brian Snitker made note of Soroka's excellent start in Triple-A and the fact that he threw north of 90 pitches. He made it clear that he wasn't announcing anything, but that Soroka was going to be firmly in the mix if/when the Braves needed another start. That took us to today where Soroka was supposed to start for the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers.

The Braves remained tight lipped on their plans for pitching in the coming days which is hardly a new phenomenon, but something is now clearly going on. Today, the Stripers announced that Nolan Kingham and NOT Soroka is going to be starting for Gwinnett today.

To be clear, yes...it is absolutely possible that Soroka's start got moved for completely different reasons and has nothing to do with an impending return. However, given the fact that the Braves' optioned Dodd just yesterday and they need a starter...well, it is not hard to read between the lines here especially since everyone seems to agree that bullpen games have not been working out.

The extremely tough road that Soroka has had to walk the last few years is well-known to Braves fans at this point. He tore his Achilles' tendon twice (and that doesn't count having a clean-up procedure after his body rejected the sutures from the first surgery) and he had a setback at the end of last season with elbow soreness and then this spring with a hamstring issue. That he has been able to endure all of that and somehow be in a position to return to the big leagues soon is nothing short of remarkable.