The Braves gave up 23 runs in their first three-game set of the season, and almost every one of them was a result of either a home-run or a walk. The bullpen looked even more atrocious than last year, and the starting rotation is riddled with question marks. Thankfully, the staff could look a whole lot different in the coming weeks.
Kevin Gausman, who shined for the Braves after being acquired at the trade deadline from the Orioles last year, threw 90 pitches in a minor league game on Saturday, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. The Braves are hoping he will be ready next Friday to start against the Marlins. In that same game, A.J. Minter tossed 20 pitches and struck out three batters. Bowman reports that if he continues in this direction, Minter will be activated this week as well.
Gausman threw 90 pitches during a Minor League start today. Targeted to debut Friday against the Marlins. Minter allowed a HR and notched 3 Ks while throwing 20 pitches in an inning today. If he continues to feel good, he could also be activated late next week https://t.co/XxFn61qFPD
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) March 30, 2019
Gabe Burns also had some positive light to shine on Mike Soroka’s situation, which is worrisome coming off a season in which he was shut down with shoulder soreness. The 21-year old right-hander is pitching in minor league games, but there is no scheduled date for his return. Burns speculates that Soroka could be back in late April. However, the Braves, as per usual, are going to be extra cautious with one of their top prospects.
Burns also reported that Luiz Gohara is throwing. Although, he appears much further off than Soroka.
Sticking with the good news: Brian Snitker told the media that Folty threw 43 pitches in a rehab start without any setbacks. He will still make two more minor league appearances but remains on schedule to be back in the majors by the middle of April. Bowman says his earliest possible return is April 14th.
In less encouraging news: Darren O’Day, who is on the books for $9 million this season and was expected to give the bullpen a substantial boost, is still ways away from returning. According to Gabe Burns, he is playing catch, but there is no timeline set for his return. Perhaps that means they will give Craig Kimbrel a call (I doubt it).
The 2019 season could not have gotten off to a worse start. The Braves are the only team without a win in the MLB. They walked 20 batters in a three-game set with the Phillies, and their already questionable pitching staff failed to instill any confidence. 159 games remain, but the Braves need to get healthy fast.