Sean Newcomb expected to return Tuesday

The Braves’ bullpen, which has developed into a formidable group, should be bolstered in Chicago.

Sean Newcomb felt healthy in his rehab outing Saturday and is on track to return from the injured list Tuesday, manager Brian Snitker said Sunday.

Newcomb struck out five and allowed only one hit in his two innings for Triple-A Gwinnett.

“I just read the report and everything was good,” Snitker said. “Said he felt great. Line and stuff was really good. He struck out the five in two innings. He felt good, so he’ll take a couple days off and be ready to go.”

Newcomb exited a spot start last weekend after getting hit in the back of the head by J.T. Realmuto's liner. He never lost consciousness and the team didn't initially think he'd need time on the injured list.

Mike Foltynewicz was optioned Sunday to Triple-A, opening up a spot in the Braves' rotation. Newcomb likely won't fill that void, with Snitker expressing a desire to keep the lefty in a relief role, at least for "right now."

Overall, Newcomb has a 2.12 ERA in 34 innings this season. He’s struck out 29 and walked 12. Those numbers are reflected by his work in relief: Newcomb has posted a 0.95 ERA with 21 strikeouts against two walks in 17 innings out of the bullpen.

The Braves’ bullpen was heavily criticized early in the season, but it’s grown into a mostly reliable group since Anthony Swarzak’s addition. In fact, the relief core leads the majors in ERA since he joined May 22.

“We know what kind of talented arms we have in the bullpen,” first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “You can see it every time they go out there. ... A lot of guys we didn’t count on earlier in the season have stepped up for us. It’s going to be like that all season.”