The Atlanta Braves placed left-handed starter Max Fried on the injured list on Tuesday because of a muscle spasm in his lumbar spine. In a corresponding move, the Braves recalled right-hander Kyle Wright from their alternate site. The Braves also activated righty Jacob Webb from the injured list and designated infielder Charlie Culberson for assignment.
Fried, 26, appeared to be one of the front-runners for the National League Cy Young Award. Through nine starts, he has posted a 1.98 ERA (241 ERA+) and a 2.76 strikeout-to-walk ratio. According to Baseball-Reference's calculation, Fried was tied with Shane Bieber for the most productive pitcher in the majors this season, with 2.8 Wins Above Replacement.
The Braves' rotation has battled with injuries and ineffectiveness all season. Opening Day starter Mike Soroka is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, while the other three members of Atlanta's original starting five -- Wright, Sean Newcomb, and Mike Foltynewicz -- have each spent time at the alternate site because of poor performance. The Braves had recently addressed their rotation by promoting Ian Anderson and acquiring Tommy Milone.
Veteran left-hander Cole Hamels, who signed a one-year deal with the Braves over the winter, has yet to appear in a game this season because of injury. He recently threw a live batting practice session that encouraged team officials he would debut sooner than later.
Wright, the fifth pick in the 2017 draft, could be running out of chances with the Braves. In 15 career big-league appearances, he has racked up a 7.52 ERA and has recorded as many walks as strikeouts. Earlier this season, he permitted 12 runs on 17 hits and 16 walks in 15 frames.
The Braves entered Tuesday with a 24-17 record and a two-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East. Atlanta will play two more games against the Miami Marlins before beginning a 10-game road trip that will see them make stops to face the Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, and New York Mets.