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Post-Season Stud Ian Anderson Sent To Minors As Braves Rookies Advance

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at January 1, 1970

Spring training is always full of surprises. But seldom does a club cut a recent post-season star with nearly two weeks left in camp.

The Atlanta Braves did that Tuesday when they sent Ian Anderson to Triple-A Gwinnett along with fellow starter Bryce Elder. Both had been competing for the vacant fifth slot in the Atlanta rotation.

The right-handers had combined for 12 wins in 31 starts for the Braves last year but had struggled during exhibition play this spring.

In eight post-season games, Anderson had posted a 4-0 record and 1.26 earned run average. That included a Game 3 victory over the Houston Astros in the 2021 World Series in which he hurled five hitless innings.

Anderson owns a perfect 0.00 earned run average in the Wild-Card Series, Division Series, and World Series, allowing his only October runs in four Championship Series games.

But he struggled with command last year, even though he won a career-high 10 games, and was sent to the minors in August with a 5.00 ERA. When his control troubles continued this spring, the Braves decided to look elsewhere for their fifth starter.

Anderson, who turns 25 in May, is a year older than Elder but has considerably more major-league experience.

He had a golden opportunity to nail down the fifth spot because of injuries to Mike Soroka, Kolby Allard, and Kyle Wright, who led the majors with 21 wins last summer.

Elder, used as both a starter and reliever last year, picked up his first win while making nine starts. The sinker-baller finished with a fine 3.17 ERA but struggled this spring.

Anderson has now had two down years in a row and could become trade bait for a team willing to take a chance on a recent post-season hero with a solid arm. He will not be eligible for arbitration until 2024 and can’t test free agency until 2027. His $710,000 salary last year was just above the major-league minimum.

Atlanta’s first four spots are occupied by veterans: left-hander Max Fried, who finished second in the running for last year’s Cy Young Award, and righties Spencer Strider, Charlie Morton, and Wright, whose spring training debut has been delayed by a sore shoulder.

With Anderson and Elder now at Triple-A Gwinnett, manager Brian Snitker is strongly considering two rookies for rotation openings.

Southpaw Jared Shuster, the team’s first-round pick in the 2020 amateur draft, has enjoyed a strong spring training, posting a microscopic 1.04 ERA and averaging a strikeout per inning in games so far. He also had a solid season in the upper minors last year, finishing at Gwinnett.

Dylan Dodd, who throws right-handed, could also sneak into the rotation.

After pitching at three levels of the minors last year, he has yet to allow a run in 2023 spring training games against major-league opposition. His 3.36 ERA in the minors last year attracted attention in Atlanta.

Schuster and Dodd, both 24, are not on the 40-man Braves roster. But spots will open when the team puts injured pitchers Tyler Matzek and Huascar Ynoa on the 60-day disabled list. Both are out for the year in the wake of Tommy John elbow surgery.

Atlanta will need a five-man rotation because it has only two off-days during the opening month.

The Braves are hoping to extend their best-in-baseball streak of five straight division titles but have fierce competition in the National League East from the Philadelphia Phillies, who rode a wild-card berth to the World Series, and New York Mets, who finished with 101 wins, the same total as the Braves. Atlanta was awarded the division crown because it won the season series from New York, 10-9.


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