When Ian Anderson completed 2 2/3 innings on Sunday and Huascar Ynoa tallied just three innings in Monday’s start, the Braves were in trouble. They ended up using Tuesday’s tentatively planned starter Tucker Davidson just to get through Monday’s game. Consequently, they opted to promote Bryce Elder, who still hadn’t thrown the first pitch of his second full professional season.
But any concerns about Elder’s readiness quickly evaporated as he limited the Nationals to three runs over 5 2/3 innings on Tuesday. His effort allowed the Braves to reset their bullpen. More importantly, the right-hander created reason to think he has earned at least one more start.
Not bad for a guy who entered his sophomore year of high school planning to golf instead of play baseball. The opportunity to play both golf and baseball arose when Brian Tickell became Decatur (Texas) High School’s baseball coach. Tickell told Elder he could play both sports as long as he threw his side sessions, completed his pitcher fielding practice drills and was available to pitch when scheduled.
Two years later, Elder landed at the University of Texas, where he pitched well enough to be selected by the Braves in the fifth round of the 2020 MLB Draft.
“If it wasn’t for [Tickell], regardless of what he taught me, I wouldn’t be here,” Elder said. “I can’t thank him enough.”