Braves: AJ Smith-Shawver set to return to the mound

AJ Smith-Shawver, Braves

The Braves have a plethora of reinforcements on the way. Unfortunately, most of them are pitchers, which hasn’t been the issue over the first three months of the season.

Yesterday, A.J. Minter was activated after spending a month on the IL. Ian Anderson also made his third rehab start over the weekend, going three scoreless innings. The 26-year-old looks on track to potentially make his return to the majors at some point after the All-Star break, and he could be joined by AJ Smith-Shawver, whose rehab assignment is scheduled to begin tonight with High-A Rome.

AJ Smith-Shawver was placed on the IL almost immediately after he made his first start for the Braves this season in which he looked really impressive, tossing 4.1 shutout innings with four strikeouts.

Before the start of the season, the Braves top prospect was expected to eventually carve out a permanent role in the rotation this year. That still could happen, but he’s got a lot more competition than originally anticipated.

Even without Spencer Strider, Reynaldo Lopez has established himself with a first half worthy of an All-Star bid, and Spencer Schwellenbach looks the part of a major-leaguer already, something not many people would have predicted a few months ago. Add Ian Anderson into the mix, and the competition for the final spot(s) in Atlanta’s rotation has the potential to be a war.

It’s a good problem for Alex Anthopoulos and Brian Snitker to have. Within the next month, it’s possible we see both AJ Smith-Shawver and Ian Anderson make starts for the Braves again.


Photo: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

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