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Braves News: Bullpen struggles continue, Mike Soroka impresses, Dansby Swanson and more

All the news and notes for a busy Thursday around the majors.

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Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Atlanta Braves News

Diamondbacks dump Braves into dustbin and complete sweep with 4-1 victory

Mike Soroka impressed again but Atlanta’s bullpen struggled again and they were unable to generate any offense in a disappointing 4-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Braves suffer a three-game sweep at home. They will now head to Cleveland where they will face the Indians over the weekend.

Soroka impresses in debut but Braves fall again

Lost in Atlanta’s three-game losing streak was another splendid performance by a Braves starter. Soroka was pressed into action on Thursday and made his season debut allowing four hits and one run over five innings to go along with six strikeouts. Soroka once again showed that he is capable of being an impact pitcher for the Braves at the major league level. The only question mark has been in regards to his health and particularly the status of his shoulder which limited him to just five starts last season and delayed his 2019 preparations in spring training. However, Soroka tells MLB.com’s Mark Bowman that he and the Braves medical staff seem to have the issues with his throwing shoulder figured out.

“We know what we need to do to keep [the inflammation] out of there this time and why it happened the first time,” Soroka said. “It wasn’t so much a throwing issue as it was just my body was working. So, we figured that out and hopefully we know how to keep it that way.”

Carle goes back to Gwinnett to make room for Soroka

To make room for Soroka on the roster, the Braves optioned reliever Shane Carle back to Triple-A Gwinnett prior to Thursday’s game. Carle made just one appearance since being recalled throwing a scoreless inning despite two walks.

Six early breakout bats – the swing is the thing

The Athletic’s Eno Sarris takes a look at six early hitters that are showing breakout potential including Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson. Swanson is currently in a 2-for-18 stretch which has cooled his hot start but Sarris still likes what he sees with the changes in his approach. To put it simply, Swanson is swinging less and being more selective at the plate.

What we do know right now is that he’s swinging less, and that almost all of these reduced swings have come from not swinging at balls. This is enough to make me a believer in this season as a breakout season. I’d take him over fellow breakout Tim Beckham based on swing rate improvements — he’s a borderline top 15 shortstop if he can hit .270+ with 20 homers and 15+ stolen bases.

Braves’ fan confidence in manager Brian Snitker holds steady

This week’s FanPulse results are in and the Braves fans continue to show confidence in the club and manager Brian Snitker. Voting closed before the series with the Diamondbacks began so it will be interesting to see how their struggles in the series effect next week’s results.

Here’s each team’s closer of the future

MLB Pipeline’s Mike Rosenbaum and Jim Callis run down each team’s closer of the future. Chad Sobotka gets the nod for the Braves who despite his struggles this season, still has the stuff to develop into a solid end of the game option.

MLB News

Athletics sign Khris Davis to two-year, $33.5 million contract extension

The Oakland Athletics and slugger Khris Davis announced a two-year contract extension on Thursday that is worth $33.5 million. Davis has excelled since being traded to Oakland in 2016 and has the most home runs in the majors since that time.

Red Sox Place Dustin Pedroia On Injured List

The Boston Red Sox placed second baseman Dustin Pedroia on the injured list due to yet another injury to his left knee. This injury isn’t thought to be serious but it isn’t clear how much time he will miss. Pedroia has struggled so far this season and hasn’t been playing back-to-back days in the field so far this season. His best days are likely long gone and it remains to be seen if he can be a useful everyday option again.

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