Bowman writes that presumptive Atlanta Braves starting shortstop Dansby Swanson is still recovering from offseason wrist surgery, and will miss a portion of his team’s Grapefruit League schedule in late February and perhaps early March as well. Per Bowman, the Braves have not yet cleared Swanson to participate in live batting practice.
None of this changes the prognosis for Swanson in terms of Opening Day availability, but it’s at least somewhat heartening to see the team and Swanson himself taking it slow after the distinct possibility that the wrist torqued what could have been an intriguing offensive season for the young infielder. Swanson missed part of May with “left wrist inflammation” and apparently played through discomfort for much of the year. He reaggravated the injury in the season’s final week and ended up missing the postseason as a result. While we can’t know for certain exactly when the damage occurred, there’s some decent speculation that he suffered the injury on April 20th. Swanson had managed a robust 155 wRC+, .347 xwOBA, and 90.6 mph average exit velocity before that game. Then, between that game and his injured list stint, he managed just a 26 wRC+, .251 xwOBA, and 84.3 mph average exit velocity. Even after returning from a couple of weeks of rest and rehab, Swanson went on to post a poor 72 wRC+, .266 xwOBA, and 86.1 mph exit velocity the rest of the way. On a results basis, three of his best six calendar weeks over the course of the year came during his first three weeks of the year.
Here’s to hoping that Swanson’s wrist continues to heal and recover just fine, and he can turn some heads by playing to the tune of his pre-April 20 himself once the 2019 season kicks off in earnest.
Also, in case you missed it, Bowman’s story also notes that the Braves have arranged their pitching as follows for their early Spring Training action: Touki Toussaint will start the Braves’ opener on Saturday and will be followed by Mike Foltynewicz on Sunday. Kolby Allard is first on the docket to relieve Toussaint; Bryse Wilson will do the same for Foltynewicz.