Braves: A.J. Minter injury update

MLB: APR 27 Guardians at Braves

A.J. Minter hasn’t pitched for the Braves since late May against the Washington Nationals. Initially, the team announced he was dealing with “hip inflammation,” and the hope is that he’d be ready to return immediately once he became eligible after spending the mandatory 15 days on the IL.

That hasn’t been the case. It’s been three weeks since the injury, and A.J. Minter has yet to appear at any level, but he seems to be getting closer, according to Justin Toscano of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. 

“Minter threw a bullpen session Monday,” Toscano writes. “He said he’ll throw live batting practice Wednesday in Rome against hitters from the Braves’ High-A affiliate. He’s scheduled to throw in a rehab game for Rome on Saturday.”

Toscano also revealed that the injury was more severe than simply hip inflammation. Minter has been dealing with a hip impingement, which explains the longer absence — and potentially — why his velocity has been down a tick this season.

“Obviously, the velocity has been down a little bit this year,” Minter said, via Justin Toscano. “I was trying to tell the trainers, ‘I just can’t use my legs real well.’ They looked at it and did all the tests they do, and I was getting a little bit of irritation with any external rotation in my hip.”

Minter’s velocity has been remarkably consistent throughout his entire career. This is his eighth season in the bigs, and prior to this year, his fastball average for a season never sat below 95.5 or above 96.6. So far this year, Minter’s heater is averaging 94.9 MPH. It’s not drastic, but this injury does explain why that might be, and the IL stint could prove to be a blessing in disguise.

Despite the injury, A.J. Minter has still been remarkably effective this season, boasting a 2.95 ERA, 0.984 WHIP, and 9.7 K/9. Like his velocity, it’s slightly below what we’ve gotten used to seeing out of him, but it’s scary to think that he could come back even better when the Braves deem him ready to return to Atlanta.

From the sound of it, that could happen as early as next week.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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