Braves’ Drew Smyly on track to make start Thursday

Credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Braves left-hander Drew Smyly is expected to make his next scheduled start Thursday in the series finale against the Mets.

Smyly, 32, left his previous outing Saturday after four innings because of left knee pain. He suffered no structural damage and was described as day-to-day.

“Everything is going well,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s continuing to get treatment. Right now, he’s on tap to start on Thursday.”

Losing Smyly for any amount of time would’ve been a blow for the Braves. The southpaw owns a 2.40 ERA across his past eight starts. The Braves have won seven of those games. Since a brutal April, Smyly has established himself as perhaps the team’s most consistent starter. He’s helped fueled a rotation that’s become the Braves’ greatest strength.

Thursday will be another pivotal game for the Braves. They split Monday’s doubleheader with the Mets and have three more contests against New York remaining this week. They entered Tuesday five games behind the Mets in the National League East.

Braves notes:

- Huascar Ynoa’s scheduled outing at the Florida complex was rained out Tuesday. Ynoa (hand) instead pitched a simulated game. His rehab assignment will continue with a minor-league affiliate this weekend, Snitker said. He’s on track to return in August.

- Snitker praised catcher Stephen Vogt, who’s drawn applause from several Braves starters since joining the team via trade. Vogt, 36, was credited by youngster Kyle Muller after the southpaw tossed five scoreless innings in a victory over the Mets on Monday. Vogt also is 6-for-19 (.316) with the Braves, giving them much better production batting than they’ve had at that position recently.

“I’ve been really happy with what I’ve seen out of Stephen, especially offensively,” Snitker said. “He’s swinging the bat really well. He’s learning the (pitchers). He’s a veteran guy. He’s been around. He’s done this. He has a good feel. He trusts his gut, his eyes, with making the in-game changes. The feel thing is invaluable with a catcher and veteran catcher like Stephen. And he swings the bat well. I really like how he’s fit in here.”

Vogt is helping the Braves get by until Travis d’Arnaud (thumb) returns next month. The team has used seven different backstops this season, mostly relying on a Vogt-Kevan Smith combo recently.