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Michael Soroka’s Comeback: 1,029 Days Later

By: Mallory Morrow

Edited By: Kylie Augis

After 1,029 days of being absent from the mound, Michael Soroka started his first Major League Baseball game after tearing his right achilles twice. Michael Soroka, pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, was born and raised in Canada. Soroka was drafted by the Braves in 2015 in the first round as pick 28 and made his Major League debut May 1, 2018. Soroka encountered some other injuries, like his shoulder, until his first torn achilles Aug. 3, 2020. I remember sitting on the couch watching as Soroka fell to the ground after breaking toward a ground ball. Little did Braves fans know Soroka would need exploratory surgery and would tear the same achilles again, less than a year before the first tear.

Soroka had everything going for him in his incredible 2019 season. Soroka’s 2018 debut season was cut short due to on again, off again shoulder inflammation. In 2019, Soroka came back from his hurt shoulder slashing a 2.68 earned run average with 13 wins and four losses. With this accomplished season, Soroka was voted into sixth place for National League Cy Young and second place for National League Rookie of the Year. As a result of these accomplishments, Soroka was named starting pitcher on Opening Day for the 2020 season.

Soroka had two great starts for his 2020 season and went to make his third start Aug. 3, 2020. In Soroka’s third start, a game against the New York Mets, he stepped off the mound toward a ground ball. After stepping off the mound, everyone knew Soroka was injured badly as he fell to the ground. It was announced Soroka tore his achilles and he underwent surgery along with a lot of therapy in hopes of returning to the mound in 2021. Before getting back to the MLB mound, Soroka experienced discomfort while training and had to undergo exploratory surgery May 2021.

While Soroka was making his way into the Braves clubhouse at Truist Park, he felt a pop in his right leg again. Soroka’s right achilles was torn for the second time June 24, 2021, less than a year before the first tear. Soroka was simply walking and not playing when this tear happened. It was a major setback for Soroka who was expecting to be back starting so soon. Faced with yet another surgery and more rehabilitation, Soroka powered through. Beginning Aug. 16, 2022 Soroka made various starts with teams in the Braves Minor League system, but his 2022 season was ended by elbow soreness.

Going into 2023 optimistically, Soroka got the opportunity to pitch during Spring Training, and then headed back to the Braves Triple-A team, the Gwinnett Stripers. After Soroka made several good starts in Gwinnett and with a depleted pitching rotation in Atlanta, the Braves needed him. Soroka was called up, made his first big league start May 29, 2023 and finally got to pitch in a major league game for the first time in 1,029 days.

Michael Soroka’s story is one of perseverance, determination and hard work. Not only can other players learn from Soroka not giving up, but everyone can use his good attitude in everyday life too.

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