Smith (1-0) gave up a game-tying solo home run to Monte Harrison in the eighth inning Saturday but wound up with the win as Atlanta came away with a 2-1 victory over the Marlins. In just his third appearance of the season, Smith blew his first save in an Atlanta uniform, but he was still the pitcher of record when Adam Duvall answered with a blast of his own in the ninth. With Mark Melancon pitching well so far, look for Smith to continue working in a setup capacity rather than sharing in the save chances for his new team.
The Braves activated Smith from the COVID-19 injured list Thursday. Scott Schebler was designated for assignment to clear room for Smith on the 40- and 28-man rosters. The Braves weren't expected to activate Smith from the injured list until the weekend, but he was brought back a day early with Atlanta needing to trim down its active roster from 30 men. When he signed a three-year, $39 million deal with the Braves in the offseason, Smith was viewed as a potential candidate to close, but he'll most likely have to settle for a setup role in front of Mark Melancon after missing most of summer camp following a positive COVID-19 test. Smith was one of baseball's most dominant end gamers in 2019 with the Giants, posting a 2.76 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 96 strikeouts over 65.1 innings while converting 34 of 38 save chances.
Smith (illness) threw live batting practice Monday and is scheduled to throw a simulated game Wednesday, putting him on track to join the Atlanta bullpen this weekend, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports. "Everything went well," Braves manager Brian Snitker said after Monday's session. "He threw the ball really well. It was good to get him out there. I think he threw 25 pitches. He was turning it loose. We got done what we needed to." While the team's rotation is in tatters, the bullpen at least appears close to getting back to full strength. Smith should slot immediately into a high-leverage role once he comes off the injured list.
Smith (illness) threw another bullpen session Friday and will toss a live batting practice session and participate in a simulated game soon, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports. Smith is building up his arm strength after missing the entirety of summer camp due to a positive coronavirus test. Smith's target return date is not yet clear, though O'Brien speculates that it could come within a week.
Smith (illness) threw off a mound Thursday, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports. Smith has been progressing nicely in his return to throwing after battling COVID-19, and manager Brian Snitker said Thursday that his first mound work went very well. An official timetable for the southpaw's return hasn't been set, but he could be added to the active roster by next week if all goes well. He should slot into a high-leverage role out of the bullpen.