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NL East Notes: Soroka, Sanchez, Garcia, Rogers, Phillies, Doolittle


The Braves optioned Dylan Dodd to Triple-A today, creating a question about who might start against the Athletics on Tuesday during what was supposed to be Dodd’s next turn in the rotation.  Whether Bryce Elder pitches on Monday or Tuesday, Atlanta will need another starter for one of those two games, and it seems possible that Michael Soroka might be on the verge of his return to the big leagues.  Manager Brian Snitker downplayed the idea to Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other reporters, saying that Soroka was just one of “all options” the team was considering.

A decision will have to come relatively quickly, as Soroka is slated to start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday.  The right-hander has a 4.33 ERA, 23% strikeout rate, and 7.2% walk rate over 35 1/3 innings for Gwinnett this season, though one rough outing against Buffalo on April 30 (seven ER in three innings) somewhat skewed Soroka’s numbers.  If Soroka does return against the A’s, it will mark his first MLB appearance since August 3, 2020, as Soroka has had his career interrupted for close to three years due to a pair of Achilles tears.  It remains to be seen if Soroka can pitch anywhere near his 2019 All-Star form, but for an Atlanta team that will be without Max Fried and Kyle Wright for some time yet, the Braves would love to see Soroka at least eat some innings and stop a revolving door in the rotation.

More from around the NL East…

  • Jesus Sanchez plans to return from the 10-day injured list on Tuesday, the Marlins outfielder tells Kevin Barrel of Fish On First (Twitter link).  A right hamstring strain put Sanchez on the IL on May 14, but he is making a relatively quick return, assuming Sanchez comes out of his third Triple-A rehab game fine on Sunday.  The IL placement cut short a major hot streak for Sanchez, who was hitting .290/.364/.551 over his first 77 plate appearances of 2023.  In other Marlins injury news, the Miami Herald’s Jordan McPherson was among those to report that Avisail Garcia will start his own Triple-A rehab assignment on Tuesday, and Trevor Rogers will start rehabbing at A-ball next week.
  • Teams have been calling the Phillies in search of starting pitching, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told’s Todd Zolecki.  If that sounds unusual given Philadelphia’s own rotation needs, Dombrowski noted that teams are constantly looking for arms, but especially this early in the season, asking prices are “exorbitant” in trade talks.  Though the Phils have only a 25-27 record, they’re still in the thick of a crowded wild card race, and obviously the 2022 Phillies are an example of a team who roared back after a slow start.  It doesn’t sound like the Phillies have any plans to be deadline sellers of any kind, but in regards to the team’s own rotation, Dombrowski said the club might still be open to using Matt Strahm as a fifth starter if necessary later in the year.  “If we have to do that….we’d rather save that.  Because if you do it now, [Strahm is] going to be done by the first of August, and he’s very valuable for us,” Dombrowski said, referring to Strahm’s lack of workload while pitching as a reliever from 2020-22.
  • Sean Doolittle pitched a scoreless inning for the Nationals’ high-A affiliate in Wilmington tonight, marking the veteran reliever’s first game action of the 2023 season.  Doolittle has been working his way back from the internal brace procedure to his left elbow that prematurely ended his 2022 season last July.  There isn’t yet any timeline for Doolittle’s possible MLB return, as Nationals manager Davey Martinez told reporters (including’s Mark Zuckerman) that “Right now, we’ll just continue to let him build.  He’s going to have to pitch seven or eight times before we figure out what the next step is for him.”

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