Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos told Fox Sports South that right-hander Mike Soroka could make his season debut in mid-April, David O’Brien of The Athletic relays. Soroka got through his third simulated game of the spring without any issues Friday. The 23-year-old remains on the comeback trail from a torn right Achilles that limited him to three starts last season. Before that, Soroka burst on the scene with 174 2/3 innings of 2.68 ERA pitching in 2019.
More from the National League East:
- Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto played a sim game Friday and could make his Grapefruit League debut next week, manager Joe Girardi announced (via Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer). The star has been on the mend from a fractured right thumb. Girardi added that outfielder Adam Haseley is “ahead of schedule” in his recovery from a groin strain. Haseley, who went down March 5, hasn’t officially been ruled out for Opening Day.
- Sticking with the Phillies, righty Vince Velasquez has an oblique injury, Girardi told Matt Gelb of The Athletic and other reporters. The severity is unknown, but oblique injuries often lead to absences that last for multiple weeks. It could be another shot to Philly’s staff, which has also seen Zach Eflin and Spencer Howard deal with injuries this spring. Velasquez could be their fifth starter to open 2021 if Eflin and Howar aren’t ready to go. In the event all three are shelved, though, it might open the door for veteran minor league addition Ivan Nova to claim a job.
- Nationals center fielder Victor Robles exited Friday’s game with back tightness, per Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. It doesn’t seem particularly serious, but the Nats will know more Saturday. Meanwhile, it was an encouraging day for righty Stephen Strasburg, who got through a 74-pitch sim game without any problems, Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com tweets. A calf injury has slowed Strasburg this spring, after the former World Series MVP missed almost all of 2020 – the first season of a seven-year, $245MM contract – with carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Mets slugger Dominic Smith informed Anthony DiComo of MLB.com and other reporters that he could return to Grapefruit League action as early as Sunday. Smith, the favorite to start in left field for the Mets, has been dealing with a right wrist issue that has sidelined him for the past couple of the days. He posted back-to-back excellent seasons at the plate from 2019-20, during which he combined for a .299/.366/.571 line with 21 home runs in 396 PA.