Instead of giving up on Sean Newcomb, the Braves could benefit from transitioning him back to the bullpen, where he finally found consistent success last year.
Newcomb was optioned to the Braves’ alternate training site in Lawrenceville, Ga., after he was chased during the second inning of a 13-8 loss to the Phillies on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. Seven of Atlanta’s runs came in a ninth-inning rally, which included homers from Johan Camargo and Austin Riley, as well as Nick Markakis’ 500th career double.
“We’re going to need him before this thing is over,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s just got to go back and keep pitching.”
Snitker’s message was slightly different than the one delivered when Mike Foltynewicz was designated for assignment after his first start on July 27. Foltynewicz’s steep and sudden decline befuddled everyone.
Newcomb’s struggles have unfortunately been similar to what he has experienced as a starter since flirting with an All-Star selection through the first few months of the 2018 season.
“It’s frustrating for him, too,” Snitker said. “We’ll just kind of keep working with him.”
Having already lost four projected starters since the start of Summer Camp, the Braves are running thin on available internal depth. But at the same time, they can’t confidently rely on Newcomb, who has totaled 41 outs over four starts. That’s essentially an average of 3 1/3 innings per start.
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