Dansby Swanson’s injury took much longer than expected to heal. He was supposed to return once the mandatory ten days on the IL was up but wound up missing over a month with a nagging heel issue, and since his return, he hasn’t looked like the same player in the batter’s box.
In seven games, Swanson is batting .160 with just four hits. That could look a lot worse too. The Braves shortstop cashed in on two bloop singles in the same game against the Blue Jays on Monday. At this point, he will take what he can get, but Atlanta needs the renewed Dansby Swanson that showed up in the first four months of the season before the injury. The guy that was hitting a shade below .270 and on pace for 30 home runs while playing the most important position on the diamond. The shortstop that narrowly missed the All-Star Game.
For the few that believe Adeiny Hechavarria should see more playing time – stop. What he did for the Braves was incredible on short notice, but it was such a small sample size. We know what Hechavarria is; a Gold Glove-caliber defensive infielder with an inconsistent hit-tool. We saw him at his best, and his gratitude towards the organization as well as his contributions were much-needed. He might have even earned a spot on the playoff roster, but if the Braves are serious about winning a World Series, Swanson needs to return to form.
After last season – with the way his wrist injury affected him for the majority of the year – hopefully, this doesn’t have a similar effect. However, I don’t believe that to be the case. The Braves would have never rushed him back with such a huge lead in the division. That’s why they took it so cautiously in the first place.
I’ve always thought, even when he struggled earlier in his career, that Swanson shows up when the lights are shining the brightest. He’s a clutch player. The Braves are heading into what might be the most significant series of the season. What better time for him to break out of this funk than this weekend.