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Braves’ Michael Soroka set for first MLB start since 2020


Michael Soroka will start for the Atlanta Braves on Monday night at Oakland, manager Brian Snitker announced, marking the right-hander’s return to the big leagues after almost three years and two Achilles tears.

Soroka, 25, last pitched in the majors on Aug. 3, 2020, three games into the pandemic-shortened season, when he suffered a torn right Achilles tendon against the New York Mets. Following a setback that required a follow-up surgery, he suffered another tear of the same Achilles tendon midway through the 2021 season while walking into the clubhouse.

Soroka suffered another complication in his comeback when a hamstring injury slowed his progress this spring.

“To get back is really a feather in that kid’s cap,” Snitker said Sunday night after his team defeated the visiting Phillies 11-4.

Soroka initially was set to pitch for Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday against the Durham Bulls before the team called an audible and scratched him in favor of right-hander Nolan Kingham.

Ronald Acuna Jr. said he was “super happy, super excited for him, super proud of him” and added “I’m just hoping for continued good health.”

Soroka looked like an emerging ace when he finished 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 2019 and placed second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting and sixth in the NL Cy Young voting.

The Braves are 0-3 in bullpen committee games as they attempt to overcome losing two key starters, Max Fried (strained left forearm) and Kyle Wright (right shoulder inflammation), to the injured list in early May. Each is expected to miss at least two months.

Soroka was 1-2 with a 4.33 ERA in eight games with Triple-A Gwinnett. He allowed a combined four hits and two runs over 10⅔ innings in his last two starts for the Stripers.

Right-hander Dereck Rodriguez, who gave up one hit in two scoreless innings Sunday against the Phillies, was optioned to Gwinnett after the game to clear a roster spot for Soroka.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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