Mike Soroka out for the season with torn Achilles
Braves manager Brian Snitker announced after Monday's game that ace pitcher Mike Soroka tore his right Achilles tendon in the third inning and will be out for the rest of the season.
Soroka was moving toward first base on a ground ball by J.D. Davis. He immediately fell down and when he got up hobbled a few steps before going back down on the ground.
Snitker and one of the trainers had to help Soroka make it to the clubhouse, as Soroka was unable to put any weight on his right foot.
Soroka was struggling Monday night for this first time this season. He had allowed four runs on three hits and had walked four batters in 2 1/3 innings. Soroka got the loss as the Braves fell to the Mets 7-2 in the series finale.
Coming into Monday's game, Soroka had allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits in 11 1/3 innings—a 1.59 ERA—with three walks and eight strikeouts over his first two starts of the year.
This injury could be crippling to the Braves. Soroka and Max Fried have been their most reliable starters through the first 10 games of the season.
Soroka and Fried had combined for a 3.20 ERA this year coming into Monday's game, while the other four starters (Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Kyle Wright and Touki Toussaint) have a combined ERA of 7.71.
The Braves could turn back to Foltynewicz, who cleared waivers and is now back at the Gwinnett camp trying to get on track. Although it was clear last week Foltynewicz has a lot of work to do before being considered for another chance.
Young pitchers Bryse Wilson, top prospect Ian Anderson, Tucker Davidson and Kyle Muller could also be options for Atlanta. It's difficult to know how they have been doing since there are no stats for the workouts in Gwinnett.
Veteran right-hander Josh Tomlin has served as a bridge pitcher between the rotation and bullpen in the first 10 games of the season, but he has experience starting in his 11-year career.
Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos was likely already asking around to see what starting pitchers might be available for a trade before the Aug. 31 trade deadline. Even before Soroka's injury Monday, the Braves were in need of a quality number three starter, given the struggles at the backend of their rotation.
And now, they need more than that. But with 16 of the 30 MLB teams making the postseason this year, it's unclear how soon will teams be willing to part with their starters in a trade. Teams might want to wait a few weeks to see if what they playoff race looks like before making a deal.
The other question, if the Braves look to trade for a starter, is how much the other team asks for in return. How much are the Braves willing to give up in a trade for a pitcher who might only be on the roster for the next two months—if the season even gets that far before the coronavirus pandemic causes it to shut down.
Former Braves' farmhand and Cardinals' star pitcher Adam Wainwright tore his Achilles in late-April 2015. He returned at the very end of the regular season five months later as a reliever, but it took Wainwright into spring training 2016 before he was pitching without pain.
Most projections for this type of injury are a recovery time of 9-12 months, so this could cost Soroka the start of the 2021 season, as well.
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