Braves won’t rule out Johan Camargo returning this season

Braves infielder Johan Valentin Camargo was born Dec. 13, 1993 in Panama City, Panama. Camargo signed with the Braves on July 2, 2010, when he was 16. Camargo made his major league debut, with the Braves, on April 11, 2017. Camargo hit .299 in 82 games in the 2017 season. He had four home runs and 27 RBIs in 241 at-bats. Camargo also recorded 21 doubles in 2017. Entering 2018 spring training, Camargo was the apparent choice to begin the season as the starter at third base before an injury sidelined him.

Braves utilityman Johan Camargo was placed on the 10-day injured list Friday after fouling a ball off his shin during Wednesday’s game. The injury was defined as a right shin fracture.

It came at an unfortunate time for the 25-year-old, who was showing signs of improved play since returning from a stint in Triple-A Gwinnett. He was 5-for-11 with two homers, two doubles and three RBIs in his previous nine games since a Sept. 1 promotion.

Camargo has not been ruled out for the season, however. His fracture is being treated like a bruise, and he could restart activities in roughly three weeks, according to manager Brian Snitker.

“They’ll treat it like a bruise,” he said of Camargo’s fracture, which had him on crutches after Wednesday’s game. “In 2-1/2, three weeks, if it heals, he could be back ready to go. So we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m not going to say he’s done for the year because he may not be.”

Even on an optimistic timeline, it’s difficult to envision Camargo returning. The Braves are set to begin the NLDS during the first week of October. With the minor-league season over, Camargo wouldn’t have rehab games available; instructional league or simulated at-bats would be the only options.

If Camargo heals by the NLCS – if the Braves were to win the first round – he still wouldn’t have logged any rehab games, making it hard to script a scenario in which the team can confidently bring him back. But the Braves aren’t ready to wave the white flag, at least publicly. Despite the team’s immense depth, Camargo is a notable loss from a versatility standpoint.

The switch-hitter struggled most of the season, failing to earn consistent playing time and eventually being demoted to the minors, replaced by free-agent signee Adeiny Hechavarria. Camargo hit .233/.279/.384 with 32 RBIs and 31 runs scored in 98 games.

“I hate it for him,” Snitker said. “He went back (to Triple-A), revamped his swing and everything. It was working. He was doing really well.”