Braves relievers A.J. Minter and Darren O’Day will likely open the season on the injured list, manager Brian Snitker acknowledged Sunday.
The Braves were optimistic through spring that both arms, crucial to the later innings, would be available when the team opens in Philadelphia on March 28. But with Minter playing long toss and O’Day yet to resume throwing, neither could be built up within the next couple weeks.
“I’d be real surprised if that happened,” Snitker said.
Minter has pitched in one game this spring, allowing a hit and not recording an out March 1. O’Day pitched the same day, going 2/3 inning, allowing a run on two hits.
O’Day is an unknown at this stage. It’s impossible to peg his timeline until he restarts a throwing program. The right-hander, acquired last July while sidelined with an injured hamstring, is expected to play a significant role as an experienced late-innings reliever.
Minter recorded 15 saves in his first full season. He split closer duties with Arodys Vizcaino, a method the Braves plan to continue in 2019, and any missed time is a notable detriment for a team already trying to solve questions in its bullpen.
“(Minter) is feeling good,” Snitker said. “Throwing off flat-ground. Everything is pushing in the right direction.”
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