The Atlanta Braves optioned right-hander Kyle Wright to their alternate training site on Wednesday, clearing the way for Bryse Wilson to open the season as the No. 5 starter.
Wright made two postseason starts in 2020 following a strong finish to the regular season but was unable to pitch with consistency this spring. He had a 4.50 ERA in 16 innings this spring after finishing 2020 with a 2-4 record and 5.21 ERA in eight regular-season starts.
Wright, 25, helped the Braves advance to the NL Championship Series last season. Making his postseason debut, he threw six scoreless innings in Game 3 of Atlanta’s three-game sweep of Miami in the NL Division Series. He couldn’t maintain that form, however, as he gave up seven runs while recording only two outs in his only NLCS start, a 15-3 loss to the Dodgers.
Wright and Wilson led the competition for the fifth spot in the rotation as the Braves await the return of Mike Soroka from a torn Achilles tendon. Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Ian Anderson and Drew Smyly are expected to open the season as the team’s first four starters, though manager Brian Snitker has not announced the rotation.
Snitker said Wright was “good in spurts” this spring.
“He hasn’t been real sharp,” Snitker said. “This is going to be an opportunity for him to go down and stay regular. We’re going to need him before the year is over.”
The Braves remain optimistic that Wright, a first-round draft pick in 2017, eventually could earn a spot in the rotation. But that will come only after the right-hander delivers more consistent production that was lacking this spring.
“Kyle would be the first to tell you,” Snitker said. “Not everything is clicking on all cylinders. We all see the stuff. My God, it’s just crazy. And that’s OK, you know, if he just keeps working and refining his craft. Like I said, we’re going to need him at some point. We’re going to use them all.”
Wilson, 23, is 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 13 2/3 innings this spring. The right-hander had a 4.02 ERA in six games, including two starts, in 2020.
The Braves also optioned right-hander Jacob Webb to the alternate training site. Webb was competing for a spot in the bullpen.
The moves leave 40 players in the Braves’ major league camp.