The Braves found themselves in a bit of a quandary ahead of Friday night’s game in that they didn’t have a scheduled starter, without any promising avenues in the high minors or the 40-man roster. We speculated that they might attempt to solve this challenge in a number of different ways, such as a bullpen game (perhaps with bulk thrown by Lucas Luetge, who hasn’t pitched since Opening Day), but it appears they’ll just recall Jared Shuster and go from there:
The #Braves today recalled LHP Jared Shuster to Atlanta and placed RHP Collin McHugh on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 6, 2023
The Collin McHugh portion of this roster move comes as an unfortunate surprise. McHugh hasn’t quite looked like himself in the early going (2/3 K/BB ratio so far), struggling massively with his cutter release and command, but it’s still a fairly big blow to the team, given that now they’re down both Raisel Iglesias and McHugh in terms of higher-leverage, later-inning options.
Shuster had a nightmare MLB debut, and will face a way tougher test than the Washington Nationals if he makes the start against the crazy-good-on-paper Padres. Maybe the Braves can just work him into a pitching sequence where he has an opener and is safeguarded from getting exposed against the fearsome top of the San Diego order multiple times, but that seems like wishful thinking at this point.
In any case, this is all a hypothetical problem for Friday’s game — Spencer Strider is set to take the hill in tonight’s home opener, and the Braves need to worry about winning that game before they can fret in earnest about the pitching plan for Friday.