With the Atlanta Braves’ first game of the shortened MLB season in Orlando less than two weeks away, the team is working every day at Truist Park and doing intrasquad scrimmages to simulate regular season games.
Since Braves reliever Will Smith tested positive for COVID-19 and veteran starter Felix Hernandez opted out of the season due to concerns about the virus, manager Brian Snitker has tested new arms to fill in the vacant spots. Pitchers like Kyle Wright and Josh Tomlin, who were used both as relievers and starters last season, are preparing to pitch in any possible scenario.
“I think it’s very important to have pitching depth especially since every day we come here, you have potential to lose somebody as the tests come in. We talked about overall pitching depth… I think we’re seeing we’re already going to tap into it,” Snitker said on Sunday. “It’s good to have a lot of those options because you never know on a given day who is going to be available.”
Wright, who first debuted for the Braves back in 2018, has been in and out of the majors the last two years. Tomlin appeared in 51 games for the Braves last year, but only started once.
“Wright’s first live yesterday was really, really good. He’s feeling really good and it’ll be good to get him out there in these intrasquads,” Snitker said. “We’re stretching Tomlin out because you never know. I don’t know right now if he’ll start or if he’ll be a bridge guy or if he’ll be a multifaceted guy like he was last year. When he goes, we’re going to stretch him out with the potential to start. His versatility and what he brings is going to be huge in this situation.”
Snitker also addressed the significance of taking caution and doing everything possible to prevent any further spread of the virus to his team.
“We’ve talked about why it’s so important for everybody to take care and follow the rules because a team could get punched in the gut pretty bad with positive tests,” Snitker said. “I think it’s really important for the guys to realize that it behooves us to try and play this thing out and lead a really boring life for the next three months. It’s not that long. It’s 66 days and I think we can get through anything in that time.”