To this point of the spring, the biggest health questions in Braves camp have surrounded youngster Mike Soroka and his balky shoulder. There’s nothing new yet on Soroka, who’ll face something of a test when he throws today. But there are some other health issues of note, as well as an update on the state of the club’s finances. Let’s have a look:
- Key righty Mike Foltynewicz was scratched from his next scheduled start due to elbow soreness, skipper Brian Snitker told reporters including MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (Twitter links). Initial indications are that this isn’t considered serious, with Snitker saying that Foltynewicz wouldn’t have missed a regular season outing. Still, the club has set up a medical review for the weekend to take a closer look. It’s obviously tough to say whether there’s any real cause for concern here. As Bowman notes, some minor elbow issues have bothered Foltynewicz in recent season. On the one hand, that suggests some history in the joint; on the other, it didn’t prevent him from turning in a breakout 2018 campaign.
- Meanwhile, fellow starters Luiz Gohara and Kevin Gausman are each dealing with some shoulder woes, Bowman further tweets. Both hurlers are throwing, which is certainly a good sign, though they’re each being handled with care. Whether they’ll be deemed ready to open the season in the MLB rotation will presumably be dictated by how their shoulders respond in the coming days, as they’ll need to begin building innings up to do so. In Gohara’s case, of course, he will also have to win a spot or take advantage of an opening.
- It’s still theoretically possible that the Braves will choose to add to their existing pitching mix. The rotation was a secondary topic of conversation for the club’s top decisionmakers in a recent interview in which they discussed the decision (to this point) not to dedicate further payroll space to the 2019 roster. While the Braves insist they have untapped spending capacity, there are those who think they should be more eager both to spend what has been allocated and open the pocketbook yet further. Today’s disclosures from owner Liberty Media add yet more fuel to the flames. As Eric Fisher of Sports Business Journal was among those to note (via Twitter), the ballclub reported a year-over-year jump from $7MM to $94MM in operating income before interest and depreciation. As the above-linked interview suggested would be the case, the club has indeed driven down its debt load, though Fisher notes it’s primed to take on more in loans to further build out its property investments surrounding SunTrust Park. Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution covered some other numbers from the team’s revenue report.