The Braves have placed right-handed pitcher Anthony Swarzak on the 10-day injured list and have recalled Chad Sobotka to take his spot on the active roster, according to Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Swarzak is dealing with right shoulder inflammation.
It’s a dose of frustrating news for the Braves, who have largely had to scrap together a bullpen of misfits, outcasts, and converted starters. Among that group, though, Swarzak has emerged as perhaps the most reliable piece since his acquisition in late May. The team’s 15 blown saves are tied for the fourth-most in the National League, and Swarzak’s elevation represented a unforeseen development of stability for an otherwise tumultuous bullpen unit.
In light of his recent success, the trade that sent Jesse Biddle and Arodys Vizcaino to Seattle, though perceive as a relatively minor swap at the time, seems like a major victory for Alex Anthopoulos and company. Vizcaino, though a quality reliever in his own right, is out for the remainder of the season and wouldn’t have been able to contribute to a Braves’ postseason run in 2019. Meanwhile, Jesse Biddle failed to deliver in Seattle and has since been designated for assignment, now finding himself in the Rangers’ organization.
Swarzak, though, has a history of shoulder problems, including issues that he encountered this spring with the Mariners. It makes the latest injury more worrisome for the contending Braves, who will certainly hope that Swarzak’s injury doesn’t keep him out of action for an extended period of time. Regardless of his status, Atlanta will still likely be in the market for pitching help as the trade deadline approaches, but a significant injury to their best reliever would only heighten the demand for reinforcements.
Sobotka, meanwhile, has only pitched 14 innings for the Braves this season, and has returned mixed results in parts of two season with the team. The big right-hander has flashed solid strikeout stuff, but has often struggled to find the strike zone, walking an average of 5.7 batters per nine innings pitched for his career. To be sure, he has the tools to become a mainstay in the Atlanta bullpen, but whether he can put it all together in the Majors remains to be seen: he followed up last year’s 1.88 ERA with a 7.07 mark in limited action this season.