Kyle Wright to undergo shoulder procedure, will miss 2024 season

“I hate it for him,” manager Brian Snitker said of the 28-year-old righthander
Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright (30) throws a pitch to a Philadelphia Phillies batter during the first inning at Truist Park on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, in Atlanta. 
Miguel Martinez /

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright (30) throws a pitch to a Philadelphia Phillies batter during the first inning at Truist Park on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, in Atlanta.  Miguel Martinez /

Braves righthander Kyle Wright will undergo a shoulder procedure that will force him to miss the 2024 season. The righthander on Friday received an MRI that revealed enough damage to warrant surgery.

After the Braves lost to the Phillies 3-0 in Saturday’s Game 1 of the NLDS, Wright said the MRI showed perforations (little holes) in the shoulder capsule. Wright said the doctors probably won’t know how severe it is until they operate on it, but the imaging at least provided the reason for his pain and discomfort. And he seemed certain he won’t pitch at all next season.

Still, Wright felt relieved to know there’s a reason for his shoulder issues and a path forward. He was trying to pitch through this and make the postseason roster, then deal with it. But when he didn’t make the NLDS roster, he figured it was simply time to take care of this.

Snitker said the Braves could tell “Wright just wasn’t right” in his last few outings of the regular season.

On Saturday morning, the Braves announced they placed Wright on the 60-day injured list with a right shoulder strain. This is the same injury that sidelined him from early May until the middle of September.

The injured-list placement meant Wright wouldn’t be eligible to pitch in this postseason.

But this – the news that his 2024 also is gone – is brutal news.

A year ago, Wright led MLB with 21 wins. He also posted a 3.19 ERA over 30 starts as he experienced a breakout season.

Now this.

“I hate it for him,” Snitker said. “It’s a tough decision, No. 1, when you have to tell him he didn’t make the roster, but the reason, and then I think he just – he wants to get everything taken care of. And I hate it for the person, just because the kid wants to be out there, coming off a year like he did last year, I know it killed him all year to not be out here. And it’s hard, and there was something going on and they found it (Friday).”

It seemed surprising that Wright didn’t make the NLDS roster, but this gives us the reason why.

When asked about Wright, Max Fried, who spoke after Snitker, began with this, ”To be honest, that’s news to me.” He didn’t know the details, but he’s spent years as Wright’s teammate. The two rehabbed together this season. (Fried dealt with a forearm strain.)

“We spent a lot of time together,” Fried said. “He worked extremely hard to try to come back and battle, and I know he wanted to be a part of this run and into this playoffs, and that’s what he set his goals out to be. So just to hear that he’s not going to be with us throughout the playoffs, it’s really disheartening, just for him. He’s put in so much work, and he’s grinded.

“So to hear that, you feel for him, but I know that he’s one of the hardest workers that I’ve seen. He’s going to do everything that he can to make sure that he gets back to form and be able to compete and have success here for a long time.”

In May, Wright went on the injured list with a right shoulder strain. He didn’t pitch in another big-league game until September.

In four outings with the Braves to end the season, he allowed 12 runs over 12-1/3 innings. But he surrendered only two over 5-1/3 innings in his final two appearances.

He seemingly had a path to making the postseason roster, especially because Charlie Morton’s absence created fluidity in the Braves’ pitching plans for Game 3. But as we’ve now learned, he wasn’t healthy.

In January, Wright received a cortisone injection in his right shoulder, which put him behind in spring training. He made his season debut on April 11 and logged four starts before hitting the injured list. In those, he allowed nine earned runs in 16-2/3 innings.

His season never got going. And now, he’ll miss 2024, too, after his procedure.

This, of course, clouds the rotation picture for next season. It seemed Wright would try to make the most out of this postseason, then head into 2024 fully healthy and ready to return to form. And will Charlie Morton retire or return? This might depend on whether the Braves decide to pick up his $20 million option for 2024. And if you want to look further out, Fried is a free agent after next season.

In the offseason, Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos surely will work to put the club in the best spot. He’ll evaluate internal versus external options.

But for now, the Braves are in the postseason. They’re World Series favorites. They have the roster to win it all. Their chemistry should help.

They have all the ingredients of a championship team. Unfortunately, Wright, a major contributor last year, won’t be a part of this run.

“Obviously you feel for Kyle,” Matt Olson said. “I know he worked hard to try to get back and feel right this year. (A 21-win) guy, you don’t just stumble across that. So we know the kind of guy Kyle is and stuff that he has and what he means on the mound for us. But stuff happens, and the health is the No. 1 thing. So they tried to avoid it and see if it was something he could work through, but clearly it’s something he needs to get fixed and have heal properly.

“So it sucks that he’s gotta miss next year, but the overall long-term health is No. 1. So hopefully he gets right, and we’ll see him the next year.”