Baseball season is upon us, and the Braves have finally released their opening day 25 man roster. The Braves were fortunate this spring to avoid significant injury to any of their expected starters, but a few potential contributors have landed on the disabled list leading into the season. Most of the damage was done to a now weakened bullpen.
#Braves have also placed Mauricio Cabrera, Armando Rivero, Dan Winkler and Micah Johnson on the 10-day DL, retroactive to 3/30.— Kyle Tait (@HearKyleTait) April 2, 2017
The biggest loss for the team in the early going would appear to be Mauricio Cabrera, who was expected to take on a much larger role for the team in the early going this season. It’s going to be interesting to watch how that big fastball plays for the entirety of a major league season after his solid debut last season, but that will unfortunately be on hold as his elbow hasn’t cooperated early this season. As soon as he returns the Braves should have a nice boost to a bullpen that doesn’t look nearly as strong as many people were expecting going into spring training.
Armando Rivero will join a now 3 year run of Braves Rule V picks not making the opening day roster, with Rivero and Winkler both dealing with injuries. As of yet there is no timetable for Rivero’s return, which also brings into question just how serious his shoulder injury is and whether he will end up playing for the Braves. If he does, he’s already 29 and the short timetable for successful relievers makes the injury even more painful.
Both Johnson and Winkler have looked promising for the Braves when healthy, but for Winkler that time has been short and he still faces an uphill battle after his broken elbow last year. He has to spend 54 more days on the active roster to lose Rule V status, and it’s a question if he’ll be able to cover those this season.
Micah Johnson looked strong in spring training and seemed poised to make a run at a utility spot on the weak Braves bench, but his broken wrist is a major setback and probably relegates him to AAA for the remainder of the season even after he is able to recover. He wouldn’t have been the first man off the bench, but probably would have made the addition of Emilio Bonifacio unnecessary. Both he and Winkler are likely to be placed on the 60 day DL if the 40 man roster were to fill up.