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Braves place ace Max Fried on the IL with a forearm strain

The Braves had already pushed back Fried’s scheduled start on Wednesday against the Red Sox, and now we know why.

Max Fried of the Atlanta Braves pitches during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Truist Park on May 5, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Alarm bells went off a couple of days ago when the Atlanta Braves scratched Max Fried from his scheduled start this coming Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox without any sort of official announcement. Now we know why: The NL Cy Young contender has been placed on the 15-day IL with a forearm strain.

Fried is coming off of easily his worst start of the season, when he gave up seven runs (five earned) on eight hits and two walks in six innings in a loss to the Baltimore Orioles last week. The lefty didn’t mention any discomfort after the game, and there was no noticeable dip in his velocity, but apparently something came up that player and team felt compelled to flag. The Braves haven’t yet issued any sort of official diagnosis or timetable for a return.

This will be Fried’s second trip to the injured list already this season, as he suffered a hamstring strain just 3.1 innings into his Opening Day start against the Washington Nationals that forced him to miss more than two weeks. He’s looked like one of the best pitchers in baseball since he returned, though, with 16.2 scoreless innings over three starts before that blow-up against Baltimore. The lefty has a 2.08 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 26 innings on the year, and is a big reason why the Braves have built a commanding lead in the NL East at 24-11.

Atlanta has yet to announce a corresponding roster move, but with both Kyle Wright and now Fried back on the IL, the team will likely once again turn to Triple-A lefties Dylan Dodd and Jared Shuster to fill in. The duo began the season in the Braves rotation due to Wright’s injury-delayed start and Fried’s hamstring strain, but they both struggled mightily, posting ERAs of 6.46 and 8.31 respectively. Now Atlanta has no choice but to hope they can find their footing in the Majors, at least until Michael Soroka returns in the coming days. (Or that a star-studded lineup can outscore teams on a nightly basis, which, given the heater Ronald Acuna Jr.’s on right now, isn’t out of the question.)