The fifth spot in the rotation has been a mess for the Braves so far this season, but there are a couple of reasons to believe that it will be just fine. First and foremost is Spencer Strider, who is more than deserving of a chance to start after the way he’s performed so far that season. However, down the road, another player could take over the role — former NL Cy Young candidate Mike Soroka.
Soroka’s story is a sad one, and if he eventually returns at some point this season, it will surely bring a tear to many. Following his second Achilles tear last season, I thought it was a long shot he would pitch in 2022, and I believed there was a chance we may never see him again in Atlanta or the majors at all. Thankfully, it looks like I will be wrong. Before yesterday’s game against the Phillies, Soroka was spotted throwing a bullpen with Brian Snitker in attendance.
Mike Soroka bullpen session 👀 pic.twitter.com/XGJqeugpgW
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) May 24, 2022
There’s no questioning Soroka is well ahead of schedule. Following the injury, which occurred in early July of last year, I talked to Dr. Mark Drakos, an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, and he said it would be a full 12 months before Soroka was able to throw off a mound again. We aren’t even in June, and it’s clear Soroka is well on his way back.
Over the next few weeks, the hope is that Soroka will check all the boxes and begin throwing in simulated games before eventually beginning his rehab assignment. I still have my reservations, but anything he gives the Braves this season will be icing on the cake. Hopefully, he can make an impact sometime after the All-Star break.