NORTH PORT, Fla. — A week from opening day, the Braves received some unfortunate news.
They will begin the season without closer Raisel Iglesias, who will start the season on the injured list because of low-grade shoulder inflammation. Iglesias will not throw for seven days.
The Braves hope Iglesias will only need the required 15 days on the injured list.
“To get him right, we shut him down, will build him back and hopefully can get him sooner than later,” manager Brian Snitker said.
On Wednesday, Iglesias felt something while playing catch at the Braves’ spring training complex, Snitker said. He reported it to the team.
Iglesias underwent an MRI.
“There’s inflammation in there,” Snitker said. “Everything structurally is good. Hopefully we can get ahead of it.”
This could be a massive blow for the Braves, depending on how long Iglesias is sidelined. He was terrific after Atlanta acquired him, allowing one run over 26 ⅓ innings after the trade last season. He struck out 30 batters and walked five.
Who will close?
“That just happened,” Snitker said. “The good thing is: (A.J.) Minter has closed. He obviously would be the obvious guy. Yeah, I don’t know. It may be a matchup scenario-type thing. You just got to audible a little bit with the guys that you have and see.”
Minter, a late-inning lefty, has 25 career saves, including five last season.
Joe Jiménez, acquired from Detroit over the offseason, has 20 career saves.
“He’s pitched the leverage innings,” Snitker said of Jiménez. “I think we’ll just have to wait and see how we get there. It’ll be kind of like, how do we get to the ninth inning? What’s the eighth inning look like, and what’s our best matchup for that? And deal with the ninth inning when we get there.”
The positive for the Braves in this regard: Collin McHugh and Lucas Luetge can give them multiple innings. The Braves have versatility in their bullpen, which will help in this situation.
“Even with this not happening, I think it’s good to have guys like that to bridge to the back end of the game,” Snitker said.
Iglesias’ eventual injured-list placement will open a spot in the bullpen. Currently, righties Jesse Chavez and Michael Tonkin are still in big-league camp.
Nick Anderson had pitched well in spring games, but the Braves optioned him Monday. Anderson allowed three runs over eight innings – and he allowed two of those runs in one outing – struck out 11 batters and walked one.
It seems Anderson’s minor-league options heavily factored into the decision to option him. The Braves want to keep their depth. Anderson might be a prime candidate for the opening-day roster. (If the Braves place an injured player such as Iglesias on the roster and then put him on the injured list, someone who has been optioned, such as Anderson, wouldn’t need to spend the required time in the minors.)
“He’s a guy that’s continuing to throw the ball well,” Snitker said of Anderson. “It’s something that we’ll have to deal with.”
And it came when the Braves have less than a week left here.
“You just never know,” Snitker said.
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