The Braves have announced their final Opening Day roster moves. As expected, righty Josh Tomlin and outfielder Matt Joyce were selected. To clear a 40-man roster spot, catcher Raffy Lopez was designated for assignment.
The Atlanta organization’s late-breaking addition of Tomlin came after a barrage of pitching injuries that the club hopes will prove to be minor. Starters Mike Foltynewicz and Kevin Gausman have officially been placed on the 10-day injured list along with relievers A.J. Minter and Darren O’Day.
The veteran Joyce will make the roster at the expense of Adam Duvall, who remains with the organization but has been optioned to Triple-A. A career .250/.351/.451 hitter against right-handed pitching in nearly 3400 plate appearances, Joyce will give the Braves the left-handed-hitting fourth outfielder they’d reportedly been seeking. He’s not an option in center field at this stage in his career, though on days that Ender Inciarte needs a breather, Atlanta can shift Ronald Acuna Jr. into center field while deploying Joyce in a corner.
Tomlin will serve as a long man out of the bullpen, providing depth for a Braves rotation that has been hit by injuries this spring. In addition to Foltynewicz and Gausman landing on the IL, right-hander Mike Soroka was out for much of Spring Training due to shoulder troubles and was optioned to Triple-A to build up strength. Tomlin had a brutal season with the Indians in 2018 but gave Cleveland nearly 500 innings of 4.44 ERA ball from 2013-17. The 34-year-old righty doesn’t miss many bats and has one of the game’s slowest fastballs but also has uncanny precision; over his past 557 MLB innings, he’s averaged just 1.1 BB/9.
Lopez, 31, hit .176/.265/.284 in 117 plate appearances with the Padres last season. The Braves acquired him from San Diego in exchange for cash back in early November, but he didn’t have a place on the active roster behind Tyler Flowers and Brian McCann.