The Atlanta Braves will recall right-hander Michael Soroka from Triple-A ahead of Monday's game against the Oakland Athletics, manager Brian Snitker announced Sunday. Soroka, who was scratched from his expected start for Gwinnett on Sunday, will be throwing his first big-league pitch since August 3, 2020.
Soroka, 25, appeared to be on the cusp of stardom back then. In 37 career starts, he compiled a 2.86 ERA (159 ERA+) and a 3.11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Soroka even finished second in National League Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2019, as well as sixth in Cy Young Award balloting -- all the while making the All-Star Game.
Unfortunately, Soroka has since had difficulties staying on the mound. In his most recent big-league appearance, he tore his right Achilles tendon. That injury sidelined him for the rest of the season. He then tore his Achilles again the following June, submitting him to another lengthy rehab process. Soroka was expected to begin a rehab assignment last summer, but that was pushed back into August after he felt more tightness around his Achilles.
At that point, Soroka ventured to a training facility in Utah where he underwent mechanical testing to identify potential deficiencies. Soroka detailed the process and the analysis he received to David O'Brien of The Athletic:
Side-by-side video of him before and after the fixes in Utah shows how much straighter his direction is to home plate now. "I think I always did a little bit, but right about 2018 — the year I got called up — I really started falling towards the third base side. Almost, like, the third base (on-deck) batter's circle. Kind of falling over those toes, and out of my hip; I was pushing, basically, out of the ball of my foot from the get-go, and then twisting on it.
"…When we learn how to push, we learn how to push with our big muscles — you know, like quads. So you end up feeling powerful in a quad-push position. A ton of guys are getting into that. And while I was seeing Bob, there were numerous other guys that he'd dealt with, with back-Achilles issues."
Soroka has spent this season in Triple-A, starting eight times and amassing a 4.33 ERA and a 3.18 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's now set to join a Braves rotation dealing with its share of injuries, including to Max Fried and Kyle Wright. Despite that, Atlanta has held on to first place in the NL East.