Atlanta Braves' Mike Soroka unlikely to pitch in 2021 after tearing Achilles tendon again

CINCINNATI -- Atlanta Braves right-hander Mike Soroka is facing season-ending surgery after again tearing his right Achilles tendon.

The Braves said Saturday that Soroka suffered the new tear Thursday while walking to the clubhouse at Truist Park, where he was continuing his rehabilitation while the team is at Cincinnati.

"It was his first day out of the boot,'' manager Brian Snitker said before Saturday's game at Great American Ball Park. "He was just walking. I hate it for him. All signs were a go, until he took that step and felt that pop."

Soroka now faces his third surgery on the Achilles. The team said the procedure will be scheduled within a week.

There was no timetable for Soroka's return prior to this latest setback, although Snitker said he was hopeful that he could return by the end of this season. Soroka had not yet started throwing off the mound.

Snitker texted Soroka on Saturday morning after hearing the news and later spoke with him by phone.

"He's put things in perspective,'' Snitker said. "He's ready for this next journey he's going to be on. The day it happened, it really punched him in the gut.''

Soroka, who was Atlanta's Opening Day starter in 2020, first tore the Achilles against the New York Mets on Aug. 3. He had season-ending surgery and was working to return this season when he suffered a setback in May that led to a follow-up procedure.

He was again working to return this season before tearing the same Achilles. The Braves said an MRI confirmed the new tear.

Soroka emerged as one of the foundations of the Braves' rotation in 2019, when he went 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA. The Canadian pitcher earned a spot in the All-Star Game and finished second in National League Rookie of the Year balloting and sixth for the Cy Young Award.

News of Soroka's setback spread through the Braves' clubhouse Saturday.

"They're all sick for him,'' Snitker said.