Braves won’t say never with long-shot Darren O’Day appearance

The Braves haven’t ruled out reliever Darren O’Day pitching this season, even if it’s a long shot.

O’Day, acquired alongside Kevin Gausman in a trade with the Orioles last July, has yet to appear in a game with the Braves. He made one appearance in spring training, on March 1.

The right-hander has missed the season with a forearm issue. He’s playing long toss, a small step forward in his process, but hasn’t thrown off a mound.

“We’re a week away from August,” manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s going to be late August or September probably before he could work his way back.”

Snitker didn’t say that brimming with confidence. Realistically, O’Day being ready to pitch in games - and be productive - when he hasn’t done so since June 26, 2018, seems optimistic. His $9 million already is a sunk cost.

If O’Day, whose contract expires after the season, never appears in a game, he’ll just be considered a tax for acquiring Gausman at a modest price. Gausman is trying to re-establish himself in the rotation, but his 10 starts last season contributed greatly to the Braves’ postseason return.