Atlanta Braves activate All-Star Will Smith (COVID-19) off injured list

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Will Smith
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Will Smith will return to the mound and make his 2020 debut this weekend after missing more than a month with COVID-19.

Smith, who signed to a $39 million contract this offseason, was activated off the injured list on Thursday, The All-Star reliever tested positive for the coronavirus at the start of July, along with three other teammates.

Braves activate Will Smith off injured list

The 31-year-old righty signed with the Braves this offseason to strengthen their bullpen. An All-Star in 2019, Smith dominated as a closer for the San Francisco Giants with 34 saves and a 2.76 ERA across 65.1 innings.

Smith gave the Braves permission to announce his positive COVID-19 test, part of MLB’s protocols. At the time, he was asymptomatic and the club was hopeful he could make a quick recovery.

Following a delayed offseason followed by a suspended training camp, Smith needed to receive clearance before he could resume throwing with the coaching staff. Fortunately, he made a full recovery and spent time at the team’s alternate site building his arm up to be ready for the remainder of the season.

The Braves have gone through a rough stretch of late, dropping two of their last three games. Even worse for the club, ace Mike Soroka is out for the season and star second baseman Ozzie Albies just landed on the injured list.