The latest on Braves rookie Spencer Strider

Credit: Curtis Compton /

Credit: Curtis Compton /

MIAMI – For the first time since the Braves placed him on the injured list, Spencer Strider threw a baseball to begin ramping up again.

He played catch in Miami on Tuesday.

“We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow when he gets here,” manager Brian Snitker said. “But yeah, I saw him in (the clubhouse) after he did it, and he said he felt good.”

It is good news that Strider, who hit the injured list Sept. 24 with a left oblique strain, resumed throwing. But Snitker used a qualifier.

The Braves won’t truly know how Strider has progressed until he throws off a mound. On Tuesday, he played catch on flat ground.

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An important note: In Philadelphia, Strider felt pain when throwing off the mound, which necessitated the 15-day injured-list placement. And before that, Strider’s situation seemed encouraging because he felt well.

Eventually, Strider’s current throwing progression will reach getting off a mound. It’s unclear when that could be.

“Every time those guys throw, you never know what they’re going to do until the next day when they come in,” Snitker said.

Asked if the Braves could use Strider as a reliever upon his return, Snitker said: “We haven’t even really discussed that yet.”

The Braves have exercised extreme caution with Strider, who is in the mix to win National League Rookie of the Year. They haven’t pushed the flamethrower, who posted a 2.67 ERA over 31 games – 20 of them starts – this season. Strider struck out 202 batters over 131-2/3 innings. He reached 200 strikeouts in a season in the fewest innings in MLB history.

Thus, the Braves’ best chance at winning another World Series includes Strider.

Yates keeping an open mind to October

Reliever Kirby Yates is still on the injured list, but he is with the club in Miami. With the team on the verge of clinching another division title, the Braves gave him the option of going to Miami for the expected celebration.

“I’ve never been a part of anything like this, so I said yes,” Yates said.

He has never pitched in the postseason. It appears he will be healthy enough to perhaps earn an opportunity to do so this October.

Yates, who dealt with elbow inflammation, said he’s scheduled to throw a simulated game Friday. He doesn’t feel any more elbow pain.

Asked if he would feel ready to pitch in official games after that sim game, he said: “I think health-wise, yes. Baseball-wise, I don’t know. You don’t know that until you go into a game. Ultimately, that’s not my decision.”

Yates didn’t seem to know if he would be included on the 26-man postseason roster. But he will be with the taxi squad in Gwinnett if he doesn’t make it. He’ll stay ready in case the Braves need him.

And if they don’t? Well, he still views it as a good opportunity.

“For me, too, I’m not ready to stop throwing a ball because I feel like I’m trending in the right direction and am going to progress into next year, (taking) some of the things that I’m finding out about myself and some of the things that I’ll be able to start being able to do,” Yates said.

Of course, pitching in the postseason would mean a lot to Yates.

“I think that’s everything you kind of work for,” he said. “I think the older you get, the longer you’ve kind of been in the league and you haven’t gotten to experience it, that’s something you want to experience. At this point in my career now, all I care about is getting out there, getting healthy, helping the team win, and if that’s in the playoffs and helping the team win a World Series, to me that’s why we play.”

Harris moves back to the No. 8 spot

Michael Harris had hit third in the order five games in a row until Tuesday, when Snitker put him in the No. 8 spot.

On the reasoning for this, Snitker said: “The sinker-balling lefties that we’ve been facing, just to back him out of that a little bit.”

Braxton Garrett, Tuesday’s Marlins starter, has a sinker and a slider in his repertoire.

In five games in the No. 3 spot, Harris went 2-for-20 with seven strikeouts. Of course, this could be because of something other than his position in the batting order.