During their National League Division Series, the Braves will have Max Fried at their disposal to start. Charlie Morton will have to wait until there is a chance for him to start in the NLDS.
With a damaged right index finger, Morton was placed on the 15-day injury list. To start the first game of a split doubleheader against the Nationals on Sunday, Allan Winans was brought up from Triple-A Gwinnett.
When Morton had an MRI test on Saturday in Atlanta, the sprain was identified. The 39-year-old pitcher left Friday’s start at Nationals Park after one inning and 24 pitches with this as the first diagnosis.
“We were looking at the calendar and it’s going to be over three weeks [of recovery],” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “So, hopefully, best-case scenario, he could be ready for [the NLCS] if we advance.”
The Braves are once again dealing with rotation health difficulties at an unfortunate moment, one year after being crippled in the postseason by Fried’s sickness and Spencer Strider’s left oblique strain.
After another blister appeared on Fried’s left index finger during the start against the Nationals on Thursday night, he was put on the injured list. On October 7, when the first game of the NLDS is scheduled to take place, he will be able to be activated.
The roster for the NLDS won’t be finalized until Morton is qualified for activation. He might be brought in to fill in for an injured player, but the Braves believe he won’t be fit to throw before the start of the NLCS on October 16.
There is at least a potential that Morton will be considered for that best-of-seven series, which won’t begin for three more weeks.
With one out in the first inning of Friday’s 9-6 victory over the Nationals, Morton had soreness in his finger. He came in to start the second inning but left after the first.
Strider and Fried might end up making two starts over the best-of-five series, both with standard rest, thanks to an off day following Game 1 of the NLDS. Morton might now be replaced as the anticipated Game 3 starter by Bryce Elder, who currently has a 3.63 ERA and is ranked seventh in the NL.
During the final week of the regular season, Kyle Wright will switch to the bullpen. The Braves want to determine whether Wright’s pitching style might be useful as a reliever during the postseason. The right-hander has only made two starts since missing four months due to discomfort in the right shoulder.