10:51AM: In related Braves roster news, right-handers Nick Anderson and Michael Tonkin will both be in the team’s Opening Day bullpen. (Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was among those to report the news.) Anderson and Tonkin will take over the roster spots created with Wright and Raisel Iglesias slated to start the year on the IL.
8:59AM: The battle to decide the Braves’ fifth starter has ended in something of a draw, as now both Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd will be making early turns in the rotation. According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (Twitter links), Kyle Wright is getting some “extra time” to fully prep for the season in the wake of some shoulder soreness, thus creating an opportunity for both Shuster and Dylan to make starts. Wright will go onto the 15-day injured list, The Athletic’s David O’Brien notes, but it seems possible that Wright will leave the IL when first eligible.
Wright’s usual offseason routine was interrupted in January when he received a cortisone shot in his right shoulder. That delayed Wright’s normal plan by roughly three weeks, and he didn’t make his first Spring Training start until last Monday. The Braves intend to give Wright an outing in minor league spring camp, and then a Triple-A start before bringing him onto the active roster. Counting the three days of IL backdating, Wright is seemingly in line to make his 2023 debut during the Braves’ series with the Reds from April 10-12.
Atlanta opens its season on March 30, has an off-day on March 31, and then has a game every day until April 13. This busy early schedule creates an early need for a full rotation, though Bowman writes that Dodd may not officially break camp, as the Braves will wait to call him up until his planned start on April 4 in St. Louis. That will give Atlanta a little more time in figuring out its 40-man roster maneuverings, as neither Dodd or Shuster are currently on the 40-man. (Other non-roster invitees like Jesse Chavez, Ehire Adrianza, and Kevin Pillar also look like solid bets to make the team, creating more need for extra space.)
Shuster seemingly has the slight edge over Dodd in the race to stick in the rotation, but now both southpaws will get a further opportunity to audition on the big league stage. It is a somewhat surprising outcome that didn’t appear to be on the radar when Atlanta started Spring Training, given that Ian Anderson, Bryce Elder, and Michael Soroka were the likeliest contenders to be the fifth starter. However, Shuster and Dodd both pitched so well that the Braves narrowed the field down to the two rookies, who will each be making their Major League debuts.