LOS ANGELES — Since the Braves acquired Sean Newcomb in a 2015 trade that sent Andrelton Simmons to the Angels, they had high expectations for the left-hander.
Over the years, Newcomb showed flashes but was inconsistent. He struggled to find his footing in the majors, which left everyone wondering how long the Braves would wait before deciding on his future.
The club on Tuesday announced it designated Newcomb for assignment. The Braves also optioned Huascar Ynoa to Triple-A.
They recalled right-hander Touki Toussaint and left-hander Dylan Lee to take those two roster spots.
Newcomb, who pitched in 144 games for the Braves after his 2017 debut, posted a 4.25 ERA over 383 ⅓ innings. He had a 7.20 ERA over five innings this season. He allowed a run over 1 ⅓ innings in what could be his final appearance for the Braves.
“He’s a big, strong left-hander that throws,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “There will be a lot of teams that take a crack at him. And hopefully for his sake, a change of scenery is something that helps get him going. He certainly has the physical abilities to be very successful here.”
The Braves can trade Newcomb or place him on waivers in the next seven days. If Newcomb clears waivers, the Braves can assign him to the minor leagues or release him outright.
Newcomb was out of minor-league options, which is part of the reason the Braves gave him every opportunity to carve out a role with them. Ynoa, on the other hand, had an option remaining.
The Braves sent Ynoa down because they have various off days coming up and they want the righty to continue getting regular work. It’s easier for the organization to keep Ynoa on a normal schedule and routine in the minors. The Braves’ next three off days are on Thursday, April 25 and May 5.
“The biggest thing for him now is to stay consistent and keep him on track because we’re going to need him,” Snitker said. “He missed a lot of time last year. He’s not a finished product. So I think it’ll be good for him to go down there and pitch regularly.”
The Braves optioned Ynoa after two rough starts to begin the season, which seems to open a rotation spot. Snitker on Monday said the team plans to use a six-man rotation at least until rosters are trimmed after May 1.
Ynoa allowed five runs over three innings in his season debut versus the Nationals, then was charged with five more over 3 ⅔ innings against the Dodgers on Monday. He had struggled, but his demotion is somewhat surprising given that Snitker said Ynoa’s outing was a step in the right direction.
“I think just his delivery, his posture, his breaking ball was good, his fastball was live, he threw some really good change-ups,” Snitker said. “Just the whole thing was so much better than the other day. He was so much more controlled in his delivery.
“This guy needs to be a big part here, and we just got to keep working and getting him going and getting him stretched out where he can help us.”
The time in Triple-A could help Ynoa figure out himself. This worked for pitchers Kyle Wright and A.J. Minter, who used their time in the minors to improve and have since found another level in the bigs.
Ynoa hasn’t been the same since he punched a dugout bench and broke his hand. In nine games (eight of them starts) before that in 2021, he pitched to a 3.02 ERA. In nine regular-season starts when he returned, he posted a 5.05 ERA. The club eventually removed him from its postseason roster because he had right shoulder inflammation.
In two starts at Triple-A this season, Toussaint has a 2.08 ERA over 8 ⅔ frames. Lee has a 1.69 ERA over 5 ⅓ innings in relief.
“Touki is a young guy that needs to probably be more consistent,” Snitker said. “He’s got a great ability to spin the ball. We’ve seen what he can do. …We knew that at some point, when we sent Touki out, we knew he was going to be here. He was going to be back and we were going to need him.”
Jacob Webb claimed by Diamondbacks
The Braves on Tuesday announced that the Diamondbacks claimed right-hander Jacob Webb off waivers. Atlanta designated Webb for assignment because it needed to clear a spot for righty Jackson Stephens a week ago.
Over 76 ⅔ innings for the Braves since 2019, Webb posted a 2.47 ERA.
The Braves also announced they outrighted catcher Chadwick Tromp to Triple-A.
Braves won’t necessarily use six starters
Snitker made it sound as if the Braves wouldn’t need six starting pitchers because of their upcoming off days.
The Braves used a six-man rotation to begin the season because they started with 14 games in 14 days. That run ends after Wednesday’s series finale at Dodger Stadium.
With the off days built into the schedule, the Braves’ starters will have extra days of rest.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com