ARLINGTON, Texas – The Braves on Monday announced they transferred Kyle Wright to the 60-day injured list.
In a way, this means what we already knew: He’ll be out for a while.
Wright officially cannot return until July 3. He might even take longer than that. The Braves initially placed him on the injured list on May 4.
Last week, Wright said there’s no specific timetable for his return. At this point, the Braves are waiting for his right shoulder strain to heal.
The Braves’ medical team will re-evaluate Wright at a later date.
“They’re treating him up, (doing) exercises and everything, and the next time they check in with him, they’ll have a little better idea of where they’re at, I think,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said before Monday’s series opener versus Texas.
By placing Wright on the 60-day injured list, the Braves opened a 40-man roster spot for right-hander Dereck Rodriguez, whom they claimed off waivers from Minnesota. Rodriguez, the son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Over 229 2/3 innings in the major leagues over parts of five seasons, Rodriguez has a 4.27 ERA. Most of that work came with San Francisco in 2018 and 2019. Since the start of 2020, Rodriguez has only logged 12 1/3 frames.
He gives the Braves more pitching depth, which they’ll need as their system tries to fill the voids left by Wright and Max Fried (forearm strain).
“That’s the idea,” Snitker said. “He’s in Triple A, let him start. It’s another depth piece down the road if and when we need it.”
Before the Braves claimed him, Rodriguez posted a 4.66 ERA over seven games (two of them starts) across 19 1/3 innings.
A closer look at Minter’s numbers
The Braves are still confident in A.J. Minter, whose 8.05 ERA and 1.474 WHIP might not tell the full story. Those numbers look terrible, but a closer look might help fans keep their Minter stock.
This season, his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is .392. And because his hard-hit rate is 30.2%, which is actually lower than it was last season, that BABIP could suggest Minter has fallen victim to some tough luck.
Then there’s this: Minter’s Expected ERA (which takes into account the quality of contact he’s giving up) is 4.04. So perhaps he’s due for some better results soon.
“When they get so good and they set that bar really high, as soon as they stub their toe a little bit, everybody wants their head,” Snitker said. “This is a long season. These guys have weathered a lot of storms over the course of their their careers. I think he will. Right now, it’s like every ball that’s put in play, it seems like, finds a hole. If an umpire maybe calls one a little bit off, then he starts wanting to be too fine. It’s tough. It’s really tough. He’s a really good pitcher, his stuff’s still really good. He’s just going to have to figure it out and grind through it.”
Of course, baseball is a results-oriented business. Right now, Minter is struggling.
A fresh face and a new arm
When they arrived at Globe Life Field on Monday, the Braves knew they would face lefty Cody Bradford, who made his debut later that evening.
The established major leaguers in Atlanta’s clubhouse have intel on many pitchers around baseball.
Bradford, however, is an exception.
“You can see all the video you want, but until you get in there and feel it, you just really don’t know what a guy has,” Snitker said before the game. “I looked, he’s got really good numbers in Triple A. Once they get in there and see him, I think they should be fine.”
He was right: The Braves scored six runs on seven hits over five innings against Bradford. They homered twice and hit a lot of balls hard.
Before the Rangers called him up, Bradford had a 0.91 ERA over seven starts (39 2/3 innings) in Triple-A. He had 37 strikeouts and 13 walks.
Shuster to start Tuesday
Recently, “TBA” has become a fixture on the list of probable starting pitchers for the Braves.
(For those who don’t know: “TBA” means To Be Announced, and this is what teams list when they haven’t announced a starting pitcher for a specific day.)
Without Fried and Wright, the Braves have juggled their pitching situation. They already have executed two bullpen games, and lost both (though either could’ve gone the other way). Before the game, Snitker wasn’t ready to announce a starter for Tuesday.
After the game, he said it would be Jared Shuster. The lefty began the season on the opening-day roster.
He made two starts before the Braves optioned him. Since then, he has pitched to a 3.28 ERA over five starts (24 2/3 innings) for Triple-A Gwinnett.