NORTH PORT, Fla. – In the middle of October, Ozzie Albies underwent right shoulder surgery – which he called “just a regular clean-up” – to address the pain he had experienced for a couple of years.
“It was barking a little bit,” Albies said of his shoulder.
The Braves’ second baseman said he had a shoulder impingement, so “they had to go through and clean it up a little bit.” Albies said he’s able to do everything on the field – he hit in live batting practice here this week – but that his overall build-up is backed up a bit.
“You don’t want to overdo anything,” Albies said. “It’s so early in spring. Just trying to be ready for opening day.”
Asked if he expects to be ready for the Braves’ March 30 regular-season opener in Washington, Albies said: “Yes, 100%.”
The offseason provided Albies the time to finally address his shoulder. He said the procedure “relieved all I was worried about.”
But it seems Albies played through shoulder pain at points over the past couple of years.
“That’s what I always have done,” he said. “I play hard no matter what. Everybody says, ‘Yeah, you’re 100%.’ You’re never 100%. You always have to sacrifice yourself out there and be good for your teammates because you don’t want to let anybody down, the same way they (don’t let you down).”
On Friday, manager Brian Snitker said Albies most likely would be the designated hitter three times before playing in the field. Snitker said Albies will DH in Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener versus the Red Sox at CoolToday Park.
“He says he feels great,” Snitker said. “He’s just taking it easy and working into it.”
Albies had a difficult 2022 season, as two injuries derailed his year. In June, he suffered a fracture in his left foot. And one day after returning from that, he fractured his right pinkie, effectively ending his season.
Albies hit .247 with a .703 OPS over 247 at-bats in his shortened 2022 season. He hit eight home runs and drove in 35 runs.
Albies’ return should provide the Braves with a tremendous boost in the 2023 season.
“Expecting to be ready for the season,” Albies said. “Obviously feel way better now than before, so I’m happy for that.”
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com