Even if Kyle Wright is slightly behind in his throwing schedule, Atlanta is hoping he won’t have to start the regular season on the injured list, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. The right-hander produced comfortably his best season to date last year, breaking out after owning a combined 6.56 ERA. over the previous four seasons to go 21-5 with a 3.19 ERA over 180 1/3 innings.
The 27-year-old’s off-season prep was halted for three weeks in January following a cortisone injection in his right shoulder. That’s put him behind schedule as spring training begins, and Wright’s unlikely to make any starts for Atlanta over the first few weeks of Grapefruit League action in Florida. As Bowman reports, the hope is he’ll be able to increase his pitch count during the back half of spring training to a point where he can throw around 75 pitches in his regular season debut. That would probably mean he’d miss Atlanta’s opening series in Washington, instead targeting the trip to St Louis as a possible season debut.
Here’s some more notes from around the National League East:
- The Nationals intend to use 2022 breakout star Joey Meneses in a utility role this season. Manager Dave Martinez told reporters (including Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post) that Meneses would play “a lot of a little bit of everywhere.” That’ll mean he sees time at first base, left field and DH on the rebuilding Nats. As a 30-year-old rookie, Meneses slashed .324/.367/.563 with 13 home runs across 240 plate appearances last season, a small bright spot in a disappointing campaign for Washington. He was certainly helped by a .371 BABIP, but nonetheless it was an impressive debut stint in the big leagues for a player who toiled away for 11 years for reaching the bigs.
- Sticking with the Nats for now, and reliever Tanner Rainey is targeting a return at the 12-month mark since his Tommy John surgery. As Jessica Camerato of MLB.com reports, Rainey is in the third week of his throwing program, and a return a year after surgery would have him slated to be back on the mound in the first week of August. Of course, there’s a lot that can happen between now and then, and with the Nats in the midst of a rebuild they’d certainly be unlikely to rush him back, but it’s an encouraging sign for the 30-year-old, who worked to a 3.30 ERA over 30 innings last season before going down.
- Phillies infielder Edmundo Sosa is working on learning center field, according to Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The plan is for the Phillies to get Sosa some center field reps during spring training in the hope he’ll be in a position for that to be an option during the regular season. Sosa has appeared in all of 3 1/3 innings in the outfield in his career, but the bulk of his appearances for the Cardinals and Phillies have come in the middle infield spots. After slashing .227/.275/.369 with two home runs, Sosa projects as an infield option on the bench in 2023, with Trea Turner and Bryson Stott manning the positions full time. Veteran Josh Harrison is also projected as a bench option that can cover the infield positions, so adding center field to Sosa’s repertoire would certainly help to deepen the bench options available to manager Rob Thomson.