Opening day: Fried hurt as Braves knock off Nationals

Published 4:50 pm Thursday, March 30, 2023

By Howard Fendrich

AP Sports Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Atlanta Braves overcame the early exit of NL Cy Young Award runner-up Max Fried because of a bad leg Thursday with four hits by Travis d’Arnaud and three errors by Washington during a 7-2 victory over the Nationals on a sunny, chilly opening day.

The temperature was 45 degrees at first pitch, players from both teams lost balls in the bright daylight, and there were a total of five errors, three by Nationals shortstop CJ Abrams.

Designated hitter d’Arnaud capped his afternoon with a two-run double in the ninth and Austin Riley walked three times — once with the bases loaded — for Atlanta, which is coming off five NL East titles in a row. Washington finished last in the division each of the past three years.

Fried allowed one run before departing with what Atlanta said was left hamstring discomfort after wincing as he he ran to cover first base for the initial out of the fourth inning.

Lucas Luetge (1-0), one of five Braves relievers, was credited with the win.

Washington lefty Patrick Corbin (0-1) picked up right where he left off the past two seasons, lasting just one batter into the fourth inning and departing with a 6.00 ERA after giving up four runs, two earned. No pitcher in the big leagues had more losses in 2022 than his 19 or in 2021 than his 16.

The Braves batted around against Corbin in the second to lead 3-0 with the help of a bases-loaded walk. All but two of Atlanta’s 12 hits Thursday were singles.

There was one automatic ball called for a pitch-clock violation by Braves reliever Collin McHugh in the eighth, leading to what amounted to a three-pitch walk to Jeimer Candelario — the only obvious effect of the various new rules implemented in the majors this season. All of the bullpen use resulted in a game that lasted 3 hours, 7 minutes.


The Braves agreed to terms with starting SS Orlando Arcia on a three-year deal. A person with knowledge of the contract told The Associated Press it’s worth $6.3 million for two years, with a $2 million club option or a $1 million buyout for 2026. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because terms of the deal were not announced.


The Nationals honored late team owner Ted Lerner with a pregame video tribute and by adding his name to their stadium ring of honor. Players’ jersey sleeves carried a patch with his initials. Lerner passed away at age 97 in February. … Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.


Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg was put on the 60-day injured list Thursday as he recovers from an operation for thoracic outlet syndrome. General manager Mike Rizzo said the 2019 World Series MVP is simply resting at this point. “He’s not doing anything, baseball-wise. I met with him yesterday. We had a good discussion. He’s not going to be here today. He felt that he didn’t want to distract from the opening day festivities,” Rizzo said. “He’s just taking it day by day and trying to just get healthy.” It is not clear when, or even whether, Strasburg might pitch again in the majors.


Braves: Put RHP Raisel Iglesias on the 15-day IL with a strained right shoulder and three others on the 60-day IL: LHP Kolby Allard (strained right oblique muscle), LHP Tyler Matzek (injured UCL in left elbow) and RHP Huascar Ynoa (injured UCL in right elbow).

Nationals: Put RHP Víctor Arano (right shoulder strain), RHP Cade Cavalli (Tommy John surgery) and RHP Tanner Rainey (Tommy John surgery) on the 60-day IL, and 3B Carter Kieboom (right shoulder impingement) and C Israel Pineda (broken right finger) on the 10-day IL.


The series resumes Saturday with Braves RHP Spencer Strider facing Nationals RHP Josiah Gray.

 AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed.


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