The Atlanta Braves are closing in on the trade deadline, but they could also be closing to getting back some key internal pieces back as well.
Huascar Ynoa was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday down at the team’s Spring Training complex in North Port but rain forced the cancellation of the game. Ynoa took part in a simulated game which Brian Snitker said could have been a better situation anyway.
“I don’t know, that might be better,” Snitker said of Ynoa’s simulated game. “We can control the the innings and get done what we need to get done out of him as far as is up down.”
Snitker added that Ynoa’s next appearance will be with one of the team’s affiliates. It remains to be seen whether Ynoa returns to Atlanta as a starter or as part of the bullpen, but his return would provide a boost in whatever role they choose.
Drew Smyly still scheduled for Thursday
After a rough start to the season, Drew Smyly has settled in and pitched much better for the Braves of late. Smyly allowed three hits over four scoreless innings in his last start against the Phillies but was forced to leave the game due to some knee soreness. He was checked out by the team the next day and was slated to throw on the side Monday. Snitker said that went well and for now, Smyly is still penciled in to start Thursday’s series finale in New York.
“Everything went good and he’s continuing to get treatment,” Snitker said of Smyly. “Right now, he’s on on tap to start on Thursday.”
Kyle Muller earning praise
One reason the Braves might be able to afford to put Ynoa in the bullpen is the emergence of Kyle Muller as a starter. In five starts, Muller has a 1.90 ERA to go along with 13 walks and 25 strikeouts. The walks will be a concern, but Muller has shown the ability to perform in the big moments and that was on display in Monday’s doubleheader when he struck out Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto back-to-back to escape a jam.
“Very encouraged, that’s for sure,” Snitker said of Muller’s performance. “You look at these young guys that have come up this year. How they handled themselves, you can see them maturing, kind of figuring some things out, getting confidence, trusting their stuff.”
“Kyle looks like he likes the competition and competing,” Snitker added. “He’s an aggressive kid and it’s really good to see. I’ve only been around in spring training but just to see where he’s come this year and the growth that he’s had has been really good.”