The Braves announced Tuesday that right-hander Kevin Gausman has been placed on the 10-day injured list due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Lefty A.J. Minter is up from Triple-A Gwinnett in a corresponding move. Meanwhile, the league announced that third baseman Josh Donaldson has received a one-game suspension for his role in last night’s benches-clearing incident with the Pirates, but he’s appealed the punishment and is in Tuesday’s lineup.
With Gausman shelved for the time being, lefty Sean Newcomb will likely make at least a one-off return to the rotation in Atlanta this weekend, tweets MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. That’d change in the event that Newcomb is needed out of the bullpen Friday, but he won’t pitch out of the ’pen for at least the next couple of days after picking up a win with 4 2/3 innings of exceptional relief yesterday.
It’s been a nightmare of a season for Gausman, whom the Braves acquired from the Orioles at last year’s non-waiver trade deadline. Acquired to be a piece of the rotation for multiple years, Gausman has instead pitched like a non-tender candidate thus far in 2019. He’s posted a 6.21 ERA through 62 1/3 innings, albeit with more promising K/BB numbers. Gausman has averaged 9.2 strikeouts and 3.5 walks per nine innings while actually logging the lowest full-season home run rate of his career (1.16 HR/9). He’s been plagued by a somewhat elevated .339 average on balls in play, but the greater problem has been an inability to strand runners; Gausman’s 57.6 percent strand rate is nearly 20 percent lower than his career mark (74.2 percent).
It’s not clear how long Gausman is expected to be out, but even if he’s facing an extended absence, this figures to be a brief return to the rotation for Newcomb. Atlanta signed Dallas Keuchel last week, and he’s slated to make a second minor league appearance on Saturday, per David O’Brien of The Athletic (Twitter link). Keuchel tossed seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts in his first appearance with Class-A Rome this week as he continues to build toward a return to the big league mound.
As for Donaldson, he clearly took exception to being hit by a Joe Musgrove offering in last night’s contest and voiced his thoughts toward Musgrove as he walked toward first base. The two eventually had to be separated by Pittsburgh catcher Elias Diaz, and the incident led to ejections for Donaldson, Musgrove and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.