ROME — Kyle Wright took the next step in his return to the Atlanta Braves’ major league roster Thursday night when they began a rehab assignment with the High-A Rome Braves. Wright looked sharp on the mound tossing three scoreless innings to go along with four strikeouts.
Wright needed just 26 pitches to navigate three innings with 23 of those going for strikes. The only hit he allowed was a comebacker to the mound that deflected off his glove. His fastball was sitting in the 92-93 mph range, but he looked free and easy on the mound and his breaking ball looked sharp.
“I felt great. I’ve been working on a lot of stuff mechanically, so to kind of see that come into effect,” Wright said after the game. I really liked my tempo. I didn’t feel like I was rushing as much. I feel like I freed my arm up to throw. Definitely excited to see how I feel tomorrow and see how I bounce back, but I’m really excited with how easily I allowed my arm to work this go around as opposed to in the past.”
How Wright feels tomorrow will be key. His start to the season was delayed after getting a cortisone shot in his shoulder prior to the start of spring training. He said that he initially felt good when he began throwing during camp, but that the soreness started to creep in. He said that the Braves’ training staff had worked hard to prevent it happening again.
“I think the shutdown was really important because when I came back, I felt great,” Wright said. “But as I started throwing, normally you would get sore again, but it was different. I could notice that it was more general soreness and sore in the right spots. This go around, we really dove in pretty deep to make sure that we could try to prevent this from happening. As a starting pitcher, you never know and you’re not guaranteed no arm injuries, but there’s a lot of people that put in a lot of work to try to put this behind us.”
Provided he comes in feeling good, Wright said that he would likely need about three more rehab appearances in order to build up his pitch count.
“Yeah, probably another three more, I think. That’s kind of I think what we have on paper,” Wright said. “That could change, it could be less, could be more, you don’t really know. But probably at least three more to build the pitch count back up and get all those up downs in.”
Wright added that he is excited to be moving towards a return. While he and the Braves maintained that he would have a chance to return this season, there were no guarantees and he has been checking off the boxes needed to get to this point.
“I’m very excited. Being on the IL sucks, so it’s pretty boring. So I’m just itching at any opportunity to get back, at any amount of time I could possibly get back. I’ve got to continue to take it day by day. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself and have any setbacks or anything like that, but I’m really excited for the opportunity to get back and pitch for us again.”