The Braves made room for outfielder Jason Heyward by placing reliever Jordan Walden on the disabled-list with right shoulder inflammation and choosing to go with a six-man bullpen for the time being. Heyward was placed on the disabled list on April 22 following an emergency appendectomy procedure.
General manager Frank Wren generated excitement among fans with the acquisitions of B.J. and Justin Upton this offseason. The roster he assembled was arguably the most talented from top to bottom since he took over as general manager. However, that entire roster has not played a game together due to the injury bug.
Catcher Brian McCann missed the first month of the season as he recovered from shoulder surgery. First baseman Freddie Freeman missed significant action with an oblique strain, and the aforementioned appendectomy of Heyward has sidelined him for the past three weeks.
A full complement of players could lead to better results for the Braves. Before the season, the schedule looked front-loaded with two 10-game road trips and 24 home games to 32 road games in the first two months of the season. Not to mention, the Braves played both World Series representatives and two other division champions from 2012.
While the 5-9 start to May has been disappointing, the Braves should still feel good about sitting in first place in the National League East, with the schedule more favorable over the rest of the season as the team gets more healthy.
Friday night’s game will be the first look that fans will get of the full lineup in action at the same time. The projected lineup looked to be potent and formidable as the season began. Fans have received a small taste, but now, it’s time to observe just how potent the entire lineup can be.