Dylan Dodd excited for debut, ready to ‘go out there and compete’

Jared Shuster optioned, Jordan Luplow designated for assignment
Dylan Dodd throws in the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in North Port, Fla., Saturday, March 18, 2023.

Credit: AP photo/Gerald Herbert

Credit: AP photo/Gerald Herbert

Dylan Dodd throws in the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in North Port, Fla., Saturday, March 18, 2023.

ST. LOUIS – At one point, Dylan Dodd pitched for a junior college. He was not on anyone’s radar.

He still dreamed of making the big leagues. But did he doubt it at times during those two seasons at Kankakee Community College in Illinois?

“Oh, definitely,” he said on Monday at Busch Stadium. “At that time, I was just trying to find a way to get my school paid for after junior college, and kind of go from there.”

Dodd eventually went to Southeast Missouri State, where he blossomed into a third-round draft pick in 2021. On Tuesday, less than two years after the Braves drafted him, Dodd will make his MLB debut.

“Now that the moment’s here, I really don’t know (what to expect),” Dodd said. “I’m sure there’s going to be a ton of emotion and jitters going out there, but I just have to continue to do what I do. It’s still the same game at the end of the day, and I just gotta trust my stuff and my ability, and just go out there and compete.”

The Braves on Monday selected Dodd’s contract. To make room on the 26-man roster, they optioned left-hander Jared Shuster, who debuted Sunday in Washington. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, they designated outfielder Jordan Luplow for assignment.

Shuster on Sunday allowed four runs over 4 2/3 innings. All four came in the first inning. Shuster settled down after that. He wasn’t scheduled to start again until Friday, and the Braves didn’t want that to be a dead roster spot for the time being.

“I talked to him at the hotel (Monday) morning and just told him, you know what, you have to peel off the layers to become a big leaguer,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “And I said it wasn’t our plan originally but (with) Max (Fried) going down, we had to make some adjustments. We don’t want to mess with our bullpen right now. It was the right move to make.

“He’ll go down, he’ll stay regular down there. I praised him for getting through that first inning and then getting into the fifth inning. That was a really nice job, what he did, and he didn’t kill the bullpen. He put up a bunch of zeros after that first inning, and we just couldn’t do anything with Gore to come back in that ballgame.”

The Braves haven’t named starting pitchers for Wednesday – vacated by Fried, who suffered a left hamstring strain on opening day – or Friday. Snitker said they probably won’t name Wednesday’s starter until after Tuesday’s game. And they won’t announce Friday’s starter until later this week.

They’re going to see how everything shakes out in St. Louis.

“We got three tough games to get through here right now before we worry about Friday,” Snitker said.

Over the offseason, the Braves signed Luplow to a one-year, $1.4 million deal. Luplow entered camp with an oblique strain that put him behind his fellow outfielders. Toward the end of camp, the Braves optioned him to Triple A, where he started the season before they designated him for assignment.

The Braves have seven days to trade Luplow or put him on waivers. If Luplow were to clear waivers, the Braves could keep him and send him back to Triple A.

To clear a 26-man roster spot, the Braves could’ve opted to option Nick Anderson. They could’ve designated MIchael Tonkin, who is out of options, to open a spot on both the 40-man and 26-man rosters with one move.

But Tonkin on Sunday tossed 2 1/3 scoreless frames to help preserve the bullpen. It’s clear the Braves value his role on this team for now, which is a credit to Tonkin because, out of spring training, it looked like he may be the odd man out when the Braves had to make their first moves.

“I guess I’m trying not to look into it too much,” Tonkin said. “I mean, ultimately, my job is the same no matter what -- I have to go out there and get outs. I’m here now, and that’s kind of where to focus is.”

For now, here’s what we know: Dodd, who is 24, will debut in front of family and friends on Tuesday. Busch Stadium is around three and a half hours from his hometown of Bismarck, Illinois. It will be a special moment for Dodd, who worked hard to get here.

“Honestly, I think I was kind of a late bloomer,” Dodd said. “I didn’t really grow into my body until later, and kind of moving into my junior year is kind of when I really saw that huge difference.”

This spring, Dodd allowed four earned runs over 18 innings in Grapefruit League action. He struck out 20 batters and walked only four.

Playing in the bigs has been his dream forever. His parents talk about how he would always walk around the house with a bat and a ball as a young boy.

On Tuesday, he will face the likes of Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt in a potent Cardinals lineup.

“They’re a good team and they got some unbelievable hitters” Dodd said. “But I‘m super excited to go out there and compete against them.”

Raisel Iglesias not throwing yet

Closer Raisel Iglesias began the year on the injured list because of right shoulder inflammation. On March 23, the Braves announced he would not throw for seven days.

On Monday, April 3, Snitker said Iglesias has not yet resumed throwing. He has been getting treatment.

“Until he starts throwing again, we don’t know about him,” Snitker said.