It took awhile - in more ways than one - but Michael Soroka is returning to the major leagues.
Soroka was a healthy scratch for a Triple-A start on Sunday. That was good news as the move cleared the way for the right-hander to return to the majors after a nearly three-year absence.
Soroka, who has not pitched in the majors since 2020 after battling two torn right Achilles tendons that required three surgeries, was scheduled to start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday. Two hours before the game, the Stripers announced that right-hander Nolan Kingham would start against Durham.
With Soroka scratched, he became the option for the Braves to start Monday’s game at Oakland. The Braves need a starter for the start of a three-game series against the A’s with Max Fried and Kyle Wright on the injured list. The Braves have filled in with three bullpen games recently and lost all three.
The Braves did not announce Monday’s starter for most of Sunday after naming. Bryce Elder and Jared Schuster to start Tuesday and Wednesday.
Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos all but said Soroka would start Monday during an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM Sunday.
“Soroka is doing really well,” Anthopoulos said. “He’s really the next guy up at this point. He was supposed to pitch for Gwinnett today. He will not pitch for Gwinnett today. So without me having to announce any types moves for the team, that’s pretty telling. He has done well. I saw his last start. He had two in a row that were good. We believe he’s ready to help our team. He’s the next guy up the next time we need a starter.”
When asked when the next time the Braves would need a starter, Anthopoulos answered “Tomorrow.”
Braves manager Brian Snitker was non-committal about the possibility of Soroka’s return before Sunday night series finale against the Phillies as he said he was not ready to name a starter. The official announcement finally came after the Braves’ 11-4 win over the Phillies, almost 12 hours after Soroka was scratched in Gwinnett.
“To go through everything he’s been through, and now to get back, is really a feather in that kid’s cap,” Snitker said. “And just the dedication and how hard that had to have been.”
The Braves optioned left-handed pitcher Dylan Dodd to Triple-A Gwinnett following Friday’s game against the Phillies. That was the first indication that Soroka’s return after almost 34 months was likely.
Soroka got the win in his last outing for Gwinnett on Tuesday. He worked six innings and allowed only two hits and one earned run while striking out eight and walking one. He threw 96 pitches. He is 1-2 with a 4.33 ERA in eight starts for the Stripers this season as he battles back from the two torn Achilles. He has pitched 35-1/3 innings.
Soroka last pitched in the major leagues Aug. 3, 2020, when he left a start after tearing his Achilles. Months later, on the day he had a protective boot removed, he tore the same Achilles walking down the dugout steps.
To recall Soroko, the Braves optioned right-hander Dereck Rordiguez to Triple-A. Rodriguez was recalled as part of the Dodd move. He pitched two innings in relief Sunday night.