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Austin Riley will not need surgery, hopeful for rehab stint in two weeks

This seems to be a best case scenario for Riley and the Braves.

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

It seems we now have the explanation as to why Brian Snitker went with Johan Camargo as his DH in today’s rubber game against the Twins. Austin Riley has been placed on the 10-day injured list due a knee injury he suffered in the weight room yesterday. Obviously, this is less than ideal with both Dansby Swanson and Nick Markakis currently on the shelf as well.

While the initial report has just general details, logic suggests that any injury that happens to a ligament and results in an immediate placement on the injured list is not encouraging. While details will become available in time, it certainly seems as if there is a decent chance Riley could be unavailable for an extended period of time.

Losing Riley may not seem to be that big of an issue, as his struggles since the All-Star Break (29 wRC+) have significantly reduced his playing time. However, it appeared over the past few games he started his approach at the plate had improved. While his production has certainly faltered since his incredible first month in the majors, the potential his bat offers within the lineup will certainly be missed.

The bigger question for the Braves is now what to do in regards to the roster. The losses of Swanson, Markakis, and now Riley have certainly thinned out the position player depth on the Braves 40-Man roster. The Braves will have to make a roster move, perhaps more than one, to replace Riley. With an open roster spot due to the Reds claiming Kevin Gausman, things could get quite interesting over the next few days.

While the series win in Minnesota is wonderful, it would be false to say this is not concerning for the Braves roster. With Markakis out till mid-September and a return for Swanson still undecided, any moves Atlanta makes will have to be with the mindset of filling a roster spot for weeks instead of days.

The hope is that we soon find out that the injury to Riley is minor. As roster moves and injury updates occur, we will update you as soon as possible.

UPDATE- 08/08/2019

The initial specifics on Austin Riley’s knee injury that he suffered during the Braves series in Minnesota confirm what many feared. Riley suffered a partial LCL tear, and he will be seeking further confirmation about the extent of the damage over the next few days. Obviously, any type of ligament tear is far from ideal.

While it is hard to determine the length of time for a recovery, especially with the need for surgery being unknown, there is a good chance Riley could be out for the season. While the Braves certainly could use his bat down the stretch and in the playoffs, it seems logical the Braves will be cautious with Riley’s recovery.

At the very least, the Braves have more certainty as to their offensive options going forward. With Riley and Nick Markakis both being unavailable for the next several weeks and potentially the season, Atlanta could now have a high priority on adding an outfield bat to the roster. With the lack of an August trade deadline this year, the avenue to accomplish that is not as clear, but is certainly still possible if Atlanta wants to consider external options.

With an unfilled 40-man slot still available, it is likely the Braves will address this situation with more roster transactions in the near future. Internally, options could include Lucas Duda, Alex Jackson, Rafael Ortega, or Pedro Florimon. Regardless of what they decide to do, the decision will likely be made with the rest of the season in mind instead of just a few days.

As more details emerge on the Braves young slugger, we will make sure to keep you updated.

UPDATE- 08/13/2019

It appears that Lady Luck has finally turned her frown upside down when it comes to the Atlanta Braves. After receiving further medical evaluations, it was determined that rookie Austin Riley will not need surgery. Furthermore, it seems his recovery time will be much shorter than initially anticipated. Riley hopes to begin his rehab assignment in two weeks.

With the limitations of their current options becoming more prevalent, this is wonderful news for the Atlanta Braves. Yes, Austin Riley was not a starting option before he got hurt. However, despite his struggles, none of the Braves other bench/platoon options come close to the potential Riley can offer. Even if not in the everyday lineup, Riley simply offers the chance to change a game with one swing every time he is at the plate.

While his return to Atlanta is likely 3 to 4 weeks away, at least there is now light at the end of the tunnel. If the Braves can navigate through what has been a rough August in terms of injuries, there are encouraging signs that they could be back at full strength for a good part of September and the stretch run.

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