Braves fans were not only blessed with their first win of spring training on Monday; they received some positive news regarding their starting shortstop, Dansby Swanson. David O’Brien of the Athletic said both Josh Donaldson and Dansby Swanson will make their spring training debuts on Friday.
#Braves plan to play Donaldson and Swanson for first time Friday, and Markakis probably will make his spring debut by end of week as well. Just pacing the veterans, and Swanson is at or ahead of schedule in return from wrist surgery.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) February 25, 2019
Markakis will also likely make his debut by the end of the week.
But the critical piece to this tweet is the fact that Swanson is ahead of schedule in his return from a wrist injury that forced him to miss the end of last season.
When the Braves’ shortstop initially left a late September game with a wrist issue, it was viewed as a precaution. It turned out to be much more severe, keeping him out of the NLDS. Swanson underwent surgery in November to remove a “loose body” from his left wrist that was nagging at him near the end of the season. Since then, the Braves and Swanson have taken the conservative approach in his recovery.
The former #1 overall pick out of Vandy proved that he could be an elite defensive shortstop at the MLB-level last year after an all-around shaky 2017, which was his first full season in the majors. Although, his struggles at the plate are still notable. Swanson only hit .238 with a .304 OBP last year, but he did show some extra pop, increasing his home run total from six to fourteen. The Braves are hoping for a better year at the plate from him now that he is fully healthy.