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A.J. Smith-Shawver to make first career start in upcoming series against Nationals

Brian Snitker confirmed that Smith-Shawver will start Friday or Saturday

MLB: JUN 04 Braves at Diamondbacks Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Michael Soroka’s demotion to the minor leagues left a hole in the Atlanta Braves’ starting rotation. Brian Snitker confirmed Tuesday that rookie right-hander AJ Smith-Shawver will fill that spot by starting either Friday or Saturday against the Washington Nationals.

Smith-Shawver was promoted to the majors on May 30 and the original plan was for him to pitch out of the bullpen. He made his debut in Sunday’s come from behind win in Arizona allowing just one walk to go along with three strikeouts over 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

With Soroka showing that he needs more time to rediscover his form, Smith-Shawver’s performance gives the Braves another intriguing option. It has been a whirlwind season for Smith-Shawver who was Atlanta’s seventh round pick in the 2021 Draft. He made just seven starts between Rome, Mississippi and Gwinnett and allowed a total of four runs in 33 innings.

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