Max Fried could rejoin Braves’ rotation next week

Credit: Atlanta Braves

Braves manager Brian Snitker comments on the progress of pitcher Max Fried and likelihood of his return to rotation.

Credit: Atlanta Braves

Braves left-hander Max Fried will throw a live batting practice later this week and could rejoin the rotation next week, manager Brian Snitker said Monday. Fried has been sidelined since suffering a hamstring strain while running the bases April 13.

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“It’s just a matter now of checking the boxes, building him back,” Snitker said of Fried, who threw his latest side session Monday afternoon. “Everything is pointing in a really good direction. We’ll have him face some hitters later in the week. Everything is going in the right direction with him.”

The Braves will play at least seven more games before Fried returns. They have four games against the Cubs in the coming days to conclude their second homestand. They’ll play a three-game series against the Blue Jays in Florida this weekend. The Braves are off May 3 before beginning a series in Washington against the Nationals, when they’re targeting Fried’s return.

“We’re going to wait until probably early in the Washington series,” Snitker said.

When he returns, the Braves will hope the break proved beneficial for Fried. The southpaw struggled before his injury, posting an 11.45 ERA in three starts. Fried is coming off a breakout season in which he had a 2.25 ERA and finished fifth in Cy Young voting.

Max Fried 2020 stats

Slowly, the Braves’ rotation is getting healthier. Drew Smyly returned from his own stint on the injured list Sunday, though he was lit up in a loss to the Diamondbacks. Fried’s return — and no other starter injuries in the days before — would give the Braves their initial four-man rotation back in Fried, Ian Anderson, Charlie Morton and Smyly.

In the meantime, the Braves have had the depth to withstand their pitching injuries. Bryse Wilson has made a couple starts. Kyle Wright had a spot start in Chicago. And Huascar Ynoa has been the most impressive, earning a 3.68 ERA with 25 strikeouts over his first 22 innings this season. Ynoa, barring a drop-off in performance, will likely retain the fifth starter spot until Mike Soroka (Achilles, shoulder inflammation) joins the group, though that’s probably over a month away.

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