Having been released on Monday, John Smoltz is available for whoever wants him. Just don’t count on the Braves being in that mix.
“With the anticipated addition of Tim Hudson in the near future we have not pursued John Smoltz,” Wren said in an e-mail on Monday.
This is hardly surprising, given the acrimonious parting of the two sides in the spring.
But even if the breakup had been the friendliest in the history of breakups, the Braves simply don’t need him. Only the Giants (3.51) and Dodgers (3.62) have better team ERAs than Atlanta (3.68). And even before the return of Hudson, their rotation is stacked with Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson, Javier Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens and a serviceable Kenshin Kawakami.
Atlanta’s closer situation has been an adventure, certainly, but it seems doubtful Smoltz could make it any better at this point.
And of course we already know how our resident Braves fan feels about it.
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The Reds have sent second baseman Scooter Gennett in for an MRI exam after he was forced to make an early departure from Friday’s 6-4 loss to the Brewers. The exact nature of the injury has yet to be reported, but starting pitcher Robert Stephenson said Gennett may have hurt himself after he “rolled weird” while trying to rein in a ground ball. He appeared to be grabbing at his right thigh/groin area immediately afterward and was helped off the field.
Following the incident, the 28-year-old was swiftly replaced by veteran infielder Carlos Rivero, who went hitless as he finished out the game. Though Gennett went 0-for-1 in his lone at-bat on Friday, he’s been tearing through the Cactus League competition this spring with a .351/.405/.486 batting line in 42 plate appearances so far.
The extent of Gennett’s injuries have not been disclosed — and may still be unknown to the team as well — but any significant setback would undoubtedly throw a wrench in the Reds’ plans this season, as he was the presumed starter at the keystone after turning in his first All-Star worthy performance in 2018. Although they have a promising alternative in top infield/outfield prospect Nick Senzel, the 23-year-old has not seen any time at second base this year and was recently reassigned to Triple-A Louisville to start the 2019 season.