After an extended wait, the Braves expect ace Mike Foltynewicz to return Saturday against the Rockies.
Foltynewicz, who hasn’t pitched since his spring training debut because of elbow soreness, made his final rehab start Sunday. He threw a side session Tuesday.
“Everything is pointing towards him starting Saturday,” manager Brian Snitker said. The Braves initially hoped he’d be back after three rehab starts, but Foltynewicz wasn’t as crisp as they hoped in his third. Their depth allowed them additional patience for another rehab start.
Foltynewicz threw 89 pitches, allowing six runs, in his 5-1/3 innings Sunday. He wasn’t the beneficiary of several umpire decisions, but the Braves were more concerned with his process than results. It was his second appearance exceeding the 80-pitch mark.
“Everybody there said his stuff was really, really good,” Snitker said. “He felt great. (The box score) wasn’t really indicative of the outing.”
Foltynewicz is coming off the best year of his career. The hard-throwing righty posted a 2.85 ERA with 202 strikeouts across 31 starts, earning All-Star honors. His 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings ranked sixth best in the National League.
A Saturday debut gives Foltynewicz an extra day of rest. Julio Teheran will start Thursday, with Max Fried following him Friday. The return of Foltynewicz will provide another boost to a rotation that ranks among the National League’s best.
The Braves’ immediate rotation plan: Foltynewicz, Fried, Teheran, Kevin Gausman and a mix-and-match with the starter prospects.
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