In case you’re still recovering from a long weekend and missed the news, Mike Soroka will pitch in a live game for the first time in over a year with the Rome Braves on Tuesday. His rehab assignment is officially set to begin, but I’m urging fans to temper expectations.
Soroka hasn’t started a major-league game in over two years. The Braves will take things extremely slow with him, and it will likely be at least a month before he’s throwing 5+ innings. Expecting him to contribute down the stretch or in the playoffs is unfair, but at the same time, Soroka has overachieved every step of the way during his major-league career. So, I’m not going to totally count him out pitching for the Braves at some point this season.
As of today, there are about six weeks left before the playoffs begin. I would say that’s just enough time for Soroka to be stretched out towards the end of the season. After that, it’s all about where his stuff is at. The Braves have shown no hesitancy in being aggressive when it comes to calling players up. If they believe a player can contribute and help the major-league club win, they are going to be on the roster come October.
Soroka’s situation is a little different than that of Michael Harris II or Vaughn Grissom, but I imagine a similar approach will be applied. If the Maple Maddux is feeling healthy and mowing down batters on the farm, he will at least get a chance to prove himself at the major-league level in late September. And if he passes that test, Mike Soroka very well could find himself on the Braves postseason roster.
Manager Brian Snitker certainly isn’t ruling it out. Here’s what he had to say on 92.9 The Game this morning:
#Braves MGR Brian Snitker discussed Mike Soroka's upcoming rehab assignment on @929TheGame this morning.
Soroka will start for @TheRomeBraves on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/2LVWtOTtlT
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) August 15, 2022
We should know relatively soon whether Soroka will be able to contribute to the major-league team this season, but if I had to put odds on it, I would say 40%.
That’s a generous number given all Soroka has been through. If this were most anyone else, I would have those odds at zero. But Soroka hasn’t let this incredible stretch of abysmal luck get him down. He’s remained positive throughout the entire process, which is a testament to his mental makeup. From the neck above, Mike Soroka isn’t like most pitchers, which is why I still give him an outside chance at contributing to the Braves when they need him most.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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