Braves hope Dallas Keuchel will start Friday

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Brian Snitker told the media on Friday that he hopes Dallas Keuchel will make his debut on Friday in Washington. Nothing is set in stone, but providing there are no setbacks, Atlanta fans will start their weekend with a treat in the form of a bearded lefty.

Keuchel threw seven scoreless innings in Rome last Monday and tossed 106 pitches in Mississippi on Saturday. Before being signed by the Braves, he was throwing simulated games every five days. Keuchel has told Alex Anthopoulos he is ready, and I’d be shocked if he wasn’t on the mound on Friday at Nationals Park.

Sean Newcomb set to return

Newcomb, who started for Kevin Gausman on Saturday, looks to be okay after taking a smoking line drive to the head off the bat of J.T. Realmuto. It forced Newk out of the game, but he did not suffer a concussion – only a noticeable bruise. Snitker said the lefty could be ready to pitch by Wednesday.

With Keuchel set to enter the rotation, expect Newcomb to go back to the bullpen where he has only allowed three runs in 16 appearances this season.

Ender Inciarte still not close to a return

The Braves are in no rush to bring back Ender Inciarte. They are 21-9 with Austin Riley starting in left field. Regardless, Snitker said the three-time Gold Glove award winner is not nearing his return. Snit also said the back injury is much more severe than he initially expected.

When Inciarte finally is healthy, the Braves will be forced to make a difficult decision. There is no way they can put him back in the starting lineup, and his lack of offense makes him a liability on the bench. I don’t see how this goes any other way than a trade or a potential stint in AAA.

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