Johan Camargo reappeared in the Braves infield at third base Wednesday, making his first start since an accidental tumble Aug. 8 knocked him out of 25 games.
“I felt pretty good out there,” Camargo said through an interpreter. “I felt a lot better than I was expecting. I think it’s kind of hard to go back out there after something like that happens because it’s always in the back of your mind. But I felt good and I’m getting better and looking forward to what’s coming next.”
Camargo was activated Tuesday after a three-game rehabilitation stint in Triple-A Gwinnett. He was first expected to rejoin the major-league club Monday, but Braves manager Brian Snitker and Gwinnett manager Damon Berryhill determined he needed one more game to shake off the rust.
Camargo went 0-for-3 with a walk in Gwinnett’s season finale Monday.
“It’s normal,” Camargo said, confirming he needed another day. “That happens. You spend so much time away from it, you get a little rust and you have to go back to the place you were before. But I honestly don’t give that much too much thought. Now that I’m out there and I’m just moving forward.”
The injury was diagnosed as a bone bruise in his right knee. It derailed what had been a surprisingly productive rookie season for Camargo, who never was ranked among the Braves’ top prospects.
In his first 40 games, Camargo hit .327 with a .327 OBP. He cooled off before the injury, dropping to .253 with a .293 OBP in the next 26 games.
The Braves won’t use Camargo often. He was out of Thursday’s lineup, and will mostly spell Rio Ruiz at third base. Snitker will sub him in as a defensive replacement late in games, let him pinch-hit and give him a start every five days or so.
“I just try to enjoy myself,” Camargo said. “I did last night. I was happy to be back on the field. It felt good and the same thing the night before when I came to play (but game was rained out). I’m just thankful to have the opportunity again. I love being out there and I’m very happy. For me, being out there is the best.”