Braves closer to start the season on the IL

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Opening Day is a week away, and the Braves have their first substantial injury, as it was announced today that closer Raisel Iglesias will start the season on the IL with shoulder inflammation.

This is a massive blow to a bullpen that’s been shaky all Spring Training. It came into the season looking like one of the best groups on paper, but relievers can be extremely volatile from year-to-year, and losing your top arm before the season even starts will only magnify that.

From the sound of it, this looks to be the Braves being ultra-cautious. There’s no reason to risk anything this early in the season. Hopefully, Iglesias will be back on the mound by mid-April.

In the meantime, I expect A.J. Minter to take over as the team’s closer. He was one of the best relievers in baseball in 2022, and he has experience closing games from earlier in his career. I feel confident with him in the ninth inning, but the rest of the guys are going to have to step up in a big way while Iglesias is on the sidelines. The good thing is the Braves have a lot of depth when it comes to their bullpen.

As far as Iglesias’ roster spot, I would expect the team to give Nick Anderson a shot, who they just recently optioned to AAA Gwinnett. He’s an exciting arm that I think will have a critical role in this unit’s success as the season goes on, and it looks like he might get his opportunity much sooner than expected.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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