The Braves welcomed Sean Newcomb back to their bullpen Tuesday, while they remain hopeful that Mike Soroka will start at some point this weekend.
Newcomb left his spot start after taking a line drive off the back of his head June 15. He avoided serious harm, and the team placed him on the seven-day injured list. He pitched two scoreless innings for Triple-A Gwinnett in a rehab outing.
The lefty now returns to a relief role in which he’s found immense success after sputtering as a starter. Newcomb owns a 0.95 ERA with a 21:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17 innings of relief. He additionally gives the Braves another arm who can bear a multi-inning workload.
“That’s big in our situation right here,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s a guy we can hand the ball off to (for multiple innings). The biggest thing in (pitching multiple) innings is getting to the next at-bat, holding the game close, things like that until the pitcher hits again and you have to hit for them. Having him is big for us.”
Soroka played catch Tuesday and is set to throw off the mound Wednesday. The right-hander left his start Sunday with a right-forearm bruise after he was hit by a pitch.
His next turn in the rotation is Friday. The Braves expressed optimism he could make that outing Monday, but it could benefit them to give Soroka another day or two.
“We’ll see how he feels (Wednesday),” Snitker said. “He said he felt OK, stiff. I said ‘Yeah, you got hit by a baseball. It’s going to be stiff and probably a little sore.’ We’ll just wait and evaluate tomorrow when he gets here. … We’ll weigh all the options and see what’s best for him health-wise.”
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