Kevin Gausman set to start Saturday after suspension

Braves starter Kevin Gausman will return from his suspension and start Saturday, though he jokes the team might not need him back.

Gausman was suspended for intentionally throwing at Marlins starter Jose Urena earlier this month. He appealed the punishment, making two starts before dropping his case Sunday. 

The timing worked for Gausman and the Braves: He’ll start Saturday against the Brewers on extra rest. The team didn’t really have to tweak its rotation – Max Fried went Friday on regular rest.

Gausman wasn’t in the dugout the past few nights, missing the Braves’ final win in Arizona and series victory over the Cardinals. The latter included the debut of prospect Austin Riley, who’s already homered and had a three-hit night.

“It’s been weird these last few days, feeling like I’m not really part of the team to be honest,” Gausman said. “I’ve been watching the games, but haven’t been in the dugout. But we’ve been winning all of them, so I’m not sure the guys want me to come back.”

Gausman said the last comment in jest, but the Braves do have the depth to withstand an injury or suspension. He and Julio Teheran have become the veterans of the rotation, while Mike Soroka and Fried are the young aces. 

The LSU product hasn’t had his best season, pitching to a 4.50 ERA with a 46:17 strikeout-to-walk ratio, though his last start against Arizona was among his best. He played a crucial role in the Braves’ National League East title last season, earning a 2.87 ERA over his 10 starts after the team added him at the trade deadline.

Now, as more youngsters emerge in the rotation, Gausman can potentially be the middle-of-the-staff innings eater. But outside Fried and Soroka, the rotation has been hit or miss. How Gausman and Teheran stabilize determines how “good” the rotation can be.

“I think it’s always good when you have veterans and youngsters at the same time,” he said. “We feed off each other. To watch what Mike has done has been great. It’s made me think about throwing a sinker. He’s been really impressive. Julio has gotten into a good stride. He’s got a good mindset right now. Even the guys who come up, the moment isn’t too big for them. They just pop right in there. It’s impressive to see.”

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