The Atlanta Braves' season-long rotation woes continued Tuesday when Max Fried, the top healthy starter, was placed on the 10-day injured list.
The latest blow to the rotation could accelerate the team's plans to have Cole Hamels rushed into action for his 2020 debut.
Fried had been the only current healthy member of the projected rotation before the season began.
Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Fried has a left-side muscle spasm in his lumbar spine. Anthopoulos said he hopes Fried can return from the IL as soon as he is eligible on Sept. 16.
Fried said his velocity “was definitely down” after he allowed three runs in five innings against the Washington Nationals on Saturday night. He is 6-0 with a 1.98 ERA after not taking a decision in the 10-4 loss.
Before the injury, Fried excelled as the team's top starter, filling the void left when the Braves lost opening day starter Mike Soroka to a torn right Achilles tendon suffered on Aug. 3 against the New York Mets.
Soroka's season-ending injury was only the most notable of a staggering series of setbacks that have rocked the rotation.
Former ace Mike Foltynewicz was designated for assignment and then assigned to the team's alternate training site after he was not signed by another club. The move came after the right-hander gave up three home runs, four walks and six runs in his 2020 debut, a 14-5 loss at Tampa Bay.