5 things Braves: Recent roster moves focused on pitching

Credit: Atlanta Braves

Braves manager Brian Snitker addresses right Achilles injury suffered by pitcher Mike Soroka. (Interview edited for time)

Credit: Atlanta Braves

The Braves roster must remain at 28 players during the 2020 season, as agreed upon by the players union and MLB. Some recent moves coincide with Mike Soroka undergoing surgery following an Achilles injury:

⋅ Recalled right-hander Chad Sobotka from the alternate training site in Gwinnett on Sunday and returned him Monday.

⋅ The Braves activated left-hander Will Smith on Aug. 6 from his rehabilitation assignment. Smith, who signed a $39 million, three-year deal, missed the summer camp following a positive test for the coronavirus.

The Braves had been waiting for the right spot to use him. Smith showed his value in his debut, Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader in Philadelphia. The Phillies already had scored one run off Luke Jackson, and after Jackson walked Rhys Hoskins, Snitker turned to Smith with two outs in the fifth. The 31-year-old walked Bryce Harper, bringing up Didi Gregorius, who could’ve tied the score on one swing. Smith instead had Gregorius pop out in foul ground on the first pitch, easily escaping his first stressful moment.

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⋅ The Braves placed reliever Chris Martin on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Aug. 6, with an esophageal constriction. As a result, the Braves activated left-handed pitcher Robbie Erlin. Erlin — who the team claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates — will provide more pitching depth with the capability of covering multiple innings. It’s a plus that he’s a lefty, though the Braves’ major-league roster in is good shape now with southpaws Smith, A.J. Minter, Grant Dayton and Tyler Matzek.

⋅ Outfielder Scott Schebler, who the Braves acquired via trade from Cincinnati in July, was designated for assignment Aug. 6 while Sobotka and catcher Alex Jackson were optioned to the club’s alternate training site as the team reduced its roster to 28 players.

⋅ The Braves outrighted left-hander Chris Rusin, who was designated for assignment, to the alternate site Aug. 6. Rusin, 33, spent the past five years with the Rockies.