Mike Soroka Leaves Start vs. Mets With Lower Leg Injury

Bill Shanks

Braves ace pitcher Mike Soroka fell to the ground in the third inning with an apparent lower leg injury and had to be carried off the field. 

While speculating is dangerous, it certainly looked like Soroka may have injured his Achilles. He didn't seem to be favoring his knee, but he could not put pressure on his leg or walk off without assistance.

Mike Soroka - August 3 - 2
Braves manager Brian Snitker checks on starting pitcher Mike Soroka

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.

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.

A serious 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.

Mike Soroka - August 3 - 3
Manager Brian Snitker and one of the trainers help Mike Soroka off the field.

Soroka and Fried have combined for a 3.20 ERA this year, while the other four starters (Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Kyle Wright and Touki Toussaint) have a combined ERA of 7.71.

If Soroka is out for any extended period of time, the Braves could turn back to Foltynewicz, who cleared waivers and is now back at the Gwinnett camp trying to get on track.

Young guns Bryse Wilson, top prospect Ian Anderson, Tucker Davidson and Kyle Muller could also be options for Atlanta.

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 sniffing 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 of those at the backend of their rotation.

And now, they may 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. We don't know what the demand for a starting pitcher will be in a shortened season with an expanded postseason field. 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.

We'll update any news on Soroka's condition, but it looks like the Braves will be looking for another starting pitcher in the near future.

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