ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves made a couple of surprising roster moves for the NL Division Series, adding hard-throwing reliever Daysbel Hernández and top prospect AJ Smith- Shawver ahead of Game 1 Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Braves revealed that Kyle Wright, a 21-game winner a year ago who was plagued by shoulder issues most of this season, was not available after sustaining a setback in his recovery.
Wright underwent an MRI on Friday and is likely to undergo surgery that would keep him out all of next season.
“Kyle is not right,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s going to have to have a procedure done in order to get him right.”
The Braves also passed on 40-year-old reliever Jesse Chavez, who missed a good chunk of the season with a leg injury but posted a 1.56 ERA in 36 appearances.
Chavez’s long layoff after getting hit in the left shin by Miguel Cabrera’s comebacker during a June game at Detroit persuaded the Braves to pass on using him in the NLDS.
“Jesse has missed three months, and he wasn’t throwing like he’s capable of throwing pretty much,” Snitker said.
Philadelphia made only one change from the 26-man roster it used for a two-game sweep of the Miami Marlins in the wild-card round. Right-hander Michael Lorenzen (9-9, 4.18 ERA) replaced infielder Weston Wilson to give the Phillies a 13th pitcher.
The addition of Hernández was the biggest shocker for the Braves. The 27-year-old Cuban reliever has made only four big league appearances, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings.
But he was highly effective on a rapid rise through the minor leagues this season, posting a cumulative 2.19 ERA in 23 appearances with High-A Rome, Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. Most notably, he had 36 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings.
Hernandez impressed the Braves with his performances in the team’s intrasquad games during a first-round bye.
“Pretty much pitched his way on,” Snitker said. “We threw him back to back, and it was as good as it was when we called him up early on and really liked him. But it was just pretty much the stuff that he showed.”
Smith-Shawver is another fast climber, going from Class A to the big leagues in just his third professional season. The 20-year-old right-hander appeared in six games with five starts for the Braves, going 1-0 with a 4.97 ERA.
The Braves went with 12 pitchers and added infielder Vaughn Grissom as an extra position player.
The 22-year-old came into spring training as the front-runner to start at shortstop but wound up spending most of the season in Triple-A, where he batted .330 with eight homers and 61 RBIs.
The rosters for the Braves-Phillies series:
Pitchers (12): RH Bryce Elder, LH Max Fried, LH Brad Hand, RH Daysbel Hernández, RH Raisel Iglesias, RH Joe Jimenez, RH Pierce Johnson, LH A.J. Minter, RH AJ Smith-Shawver, RH Spencer Strider, RH Michael Tonkin, RH Kirby Yates.
Catchers (2): Travis d’Arnaud, Sean Murphy.
Infielders (6): Ozzie Albies, Orlando Arcia, Vaughn Grissom, Nicky Lopez, Matt Olson, Austin Riley.
Outfielders (6): Ronald Acuña Jr., Michael Harris II, Marcell Ozuna, Kevin Pillar, Eddie Rosario, Forrest Wall.
Pitchers (13): LH José Alvarado, RH Seranthony Domínguez, RH Jeff Hoffman, RH Orion Kerkering, RH Craig Kimbrel, RH Michael Lorenzen, RH Aaron Nola, LH Cristopher Sánchez, LH Gregory Soto, LH Matt Strahm, LH Ranger Suárez, RH Taijuan Walker, RH Zack Wheeler.
Catchers (2): J.T. Realmuto, Garrett Stubbs.
Infielders (6): Alec Bohm, Bryce Harper, Edmundo Sosa, Bryson Stott, Trea Turner.
Outfielders (6): Nick Castellanos, Jake Cave, Brandon Marsh, Cristian Pache, Johan Rojas, Kyle Schwarber.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb