Braves top starter Mike Foltynewicz won’t be ready for the start of the season, general manager Alex Anthopoulos revealed Monday (Twitter link, with video, from 680 The Fan). The 27-year-old was scratched from a start nearly two weeks ago due to elbow soreness.
“Folty’s the one guy that, building him up as a starter, he’s not going to be ready,” said Anthopoulos. “Feeling great. Throwing. We were just mapping out his throwing program this morning in terms of bullpens, live BPs — all those type of things. We’re just trying to figure out what point do we get him up to five innings?”
Anthopoulos wouldn’t forecast specifically how much time Foltynewicz would need to get ready, as he’s not yet progressed to throwing off a mound. The GM speculated on anywhere from one to three would-be turns through the rotation, though the situation remains fluid. Anthopoulos did acknowledge that had Foltynewicz been healthy, he’d likely have been given the Opening Day nod for the Braves.
With Foltynewicz out for the start of the year, the Braves will open with Julio Teheran, Sean Newcomb and Kevin Gausman locked into rotation spots. As Anthopoulos noted, the significant number of off-days the Braves have early in the year will allow them to work with only a four-man rotation early on, so there may only be one other spot up for grabs. Atlanta isn’t lacking for options to take that fourth spot in the rotation to open the year; Touki Toussaint, Kyle Wright, Max Fried and Bryse Wilson have all made multiple starts already this spring — Wright will make a third today — and could all conceivably get a look in that spot. Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that with Foltynewicz sidelined, Teheran or Newcomb (likely the former) will receive the actual Opening Day start.