Braves place righty Spencer Strider on 15-day IL with strained oblique
The Atlanta Braves announced they have placed starting pitcher Spencer Strider on the 15-day IL with a strained left oblique muscle, backdated to September 21. Right-hander Alan Rangel will be recalled in a corresponding move. The Braves have also reinstated Ehire Adrianza from the 10-day IL and have optioned infielder Rylan Bannon to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Strider has been nothing short of sensational for Atlanta in 2022. Slotted as a bullpen arm to start the season, Strider dominated in relief, posting a 2.22 ERA in 24 1/3 innings out of the ’pen. The Braves transitioned the rookie to the rotation on May 30, and he has been one of the most effective starters in baseball. In 107 1/3 innings over 20 starts, Strider has held opponents to a .183 BA and a minuscule .274 slugging. He was named NL Rookie of the Month in July and has amassed 202 strikeouts between his work in the bullpen and the rotation, good for fourth in the senior circuit.
Strider’s move to the IL follows a brilliant outing on September 18 against the Phillies, in which he struck out 10 batters and gave up one run over six innings. He left the game with a tender left oblique, which prompted the Braves to preemptively push back his next start as a precaution. Strider will remain on the IL until the final day of the regular season, calling his readiness for the postseason into question should he suffer any setbacks. For the time being, it seems likely that right-hander Bryce Elder will continue to fill Strider’s spot in the rotation, as he did when Strider was initially pushed back. Alan Rangel will be recalled to account for the Braves’ hole in their pitching matrix. Rangel has started 26 games in 2022 for Double-A Mississippi and has accumulated a 5.26 ERA.
It will be a massive loss for Atlanta if Strider is unable to pitch in the postseason. This will hold especially true if the Braves are unable to win the NL East and are forced to compete in one of the NL wild-card series, where a one-two punch of Strider and Max Fried would be particularly formidable. Should Strider not be available for the wild-card series, the Braves rotation figures to be Fried in Game 1, Kyle Wright in Game 2 and Charlie Morton in the decider. There is also the scenario in which Strider, without the luxury of a traditional minor-league rehab process, comes out of the bullpen for Atlanta for one or more postseason series. Regardless of what transpires, Brian Snitker and his staff will have their hands full as they balance the Braves’ immediate postseason aspirations with the future health of their budding ace.
Adrianza will return to Atlanta’s bench after being placed on the 10-day IL with a left quad strain. The 33-year-old utility infielder began 2022 with the Nationals before being returning to the Braves via a trade-deadline swap. Adrianza has logged only eight at-bats for the Braves since his arrival in August, collecting a singular hit. Adrianza takes the place of infielder Rylan Bannon, whom the Braves claimed off waivers in August. Bannon played in only one game during his time with the Braves and made no plate appearances.