Braves notes: Max Fried begins throwing, Michael Tonkin hits the injured list

Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) works to a Houston Astros batter during the first inning at Truist Park on Sunday, April 23, 2023, in Atlanta. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) works to a Houston Astros batter during the first inning at Truist Park on Sunday, April 23, 2023, in Atlanta. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Max Fried has started to throw.

Hours before the Braves began a series with the Phillies, Fried on Thursday played catch at 60 feet at Truist Park, manager Brian Snitker said. This was the first day Fried threw.

It seems like he’s in the very early stages of a throwing progression as he works his way back from a forearm strain.

“He’s started, so that’s always a good thing when they start that progression like that,” Snitker said. “Obviously they’re feeling good if they’re gonna let him throw.”

Snitker didn’t know any details on the throwing progression. So, at this point, we don’t know when he might graduate to the next step.

We do know this: Fried will need to complete a full throwing program before presumably going on a rehab assignment. The most comparable thing to this might be a spring training build-up.

It still will be a while before Fried takes the mound for the Braves again. But this is a start, and it’s promising news for the Braves.

On May 9, the Braves placed Fried on the 15-day injured list with the forearm strain. They said there was no tear, meaning Fried wouldn’t need Tommy John surgery. He would require only time needed to allow the injury to calm down and heal before he started ramping up from scratch.

The Braves are without Fried and Kyle Wright. Fried is expected to return before Wright, who has a right shoulder strain.

Tonkin to the injured list

The Braves needed to make a move to bring up Dylan Dodd, who they penciled in as Thursday’s starter.

They placed Michael Tonkin on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to Wednesday, with a strained neck. Snitker said Tonkin reported the ailment Thursday.

“We’ve been riding him pretty hard here,” Snitker said. “It’s just another one of them things that we want to make sure we get him right because we’re gonna need him again. I kind of feel we’ve asked a lot of him, a lot of multiple-inning-type roles. He’s been so good for us in doing all that, that we don’t want to take a chance of him hurting himself, his neck or whatever it is. So we’ll just calm everything down and hopefully get through it and get him back.”

For the most part, Tonkin has pitched well for the Braves this season. But over his past three outings, he allowed nine runs – six earned – over 7-1/3 innings. He served up two homers in this stretch.

The bigger picture is this: Tonkin has been a pleasant surprise for the Braves, who put him on the opening-day roster out of spring training. He performs a role similar to what Jackson Stephens did last season.

He’s a length guy out of the bullpen. He pitches in any situation, and 10 of his 13 appearances have been multi-inning outings.

As Snitker always says in spring training: You never know who might play a larger role than anticipated.

“There’s always those guys,” Snitker said. “Every year, there’s gonna be somebody that you’re not counting on or you’re not expecting is going to have an opportunity and do something really good with it.”

One funny moment

Snitker was asked if Dodd, back in the majors again, went to say hello once he entered the clubhouse.

Not exactly.

Snitker saw him before.

“He was driving around there (in the players’ parking lot) lost because I don’t think he could find his spot, so I got to see him before he came in,” Snitker said, with his classic dry sense of humor.

He soon added: “I saw that he ended up parking somewhere, so I guess he found it.”

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