Shortstop Dansby Swanson was back in the Braves lineup Wednesday, recalled earlier than expected from Triple-A Gwinnett after infielder Johan Camargo injured his right knee in a freak accident as he trotted onto the field Tuesday.
Swanson, who was optioned on July 26 after batting .214 with six homers and a .287 on-base percentage in 95 games for the major league team, didn’t produce eye-popping stats in 11 games at Gwinnett (.237 with one double, one home run, five RBIs, .356 OBP, .342 slugging percentage), but said he made a lot of progress mentally and began to get results this week after working hard to improve his approach at the plate.
After rejoining the Braves on Wednesday he discussed the experience of being sent down and spending a couple of weeks in Triple-A and how he believed it was beneficial.
Evaluating his experience at Gwinnett:
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“It was great. First of all, a lot of good guys down there. I enjoyed getting to play with them and just get back to square one, just enjoy myself and things like that. Being able to do it with those guys definitely made it a lot easier. Definitely in a good place right now.”
What did you get out of it?
“Everything. Just was able to kind of alleviate everything that’s been going on this year and just go down there and just enjoy myself, worry about enjoying myself rather than all the other stuff that comes with it. Just had a lot of fun. Which, it’s a game, so why not?”
On having a couple of good games in past three days — two hits, including a homer in one and an RBI double Tuesday before being taken out after one at-bat.
“I just felt a lot more comfortable. Comfortable and confident, just kind of felt like myself and felt like I was going in the right direction, staying steady. It was good to see some results to go along with the work I’ve been putting in.”
On played some second base at Gwinnett — two starts this week at the position:
“Yeah, I did. Familiarity and versatility’s always a good thing, right?”
Did you make any mechanical adjustments to your swing or just….
“More just thought process, really. Obviously I don’t want to share (specifics), but a lot of it was just thought process and putting myself in the best position possible to succeed. Being able to learn my swing better and how it naturally works and going off of that, rather than trying to do something that I may not be as comfortable with.”
On getting a chance to play with second baseman Ozzie Albies for the first time in majors (Albies was called up last week from Triple-A):
“It’s always a joy playing with him, so I expect that tonight and however long this lasts it will be the same thing. We’re just going to go out there and enjoy it together and take each moment for what it’s worth.”
Now that you spent time in the minors, do you see the benefit of being sent down and going through the experience?
“Absolutely. I think it kind of gives you a chance to slow things down and it allows … it kind of forces you to slow things down. We always talk about, like, live in the moment and all those types of things, but it speeds up a lot. So it was good to be able to go down there and relax and find myself a little bit and be ready to go again.”
Did you have that mindset as soon as you went down or did it take a few days to get over being kind of (ticked) off at being sent down?
“No, I went down there and I was like, what am I going to do, complain about my current circumstances, you know? It was good just to be in that atmosphere and that environment and be able to learn from that, and like said, enjoy playing.”
The guys down at Gwinnett welcome you right away?
“Yeah, they’re great. I love them all.”
When did you realize what was going on after you got pulled out of the game in the third inning Tuesday?
“I was like, what? Did I do something wrong? Did I, like, not hustle? I thought I did. And they just said that Camargo got hurt, and I was like, how? Because the game obviously had just started, I was thinking how did he get hurt already? Was there a play at second or something? And then someone told me and I was just baffled. I’m sure y’all are too, still. I haven’t seen the video; I don’t want to watch it. I’m just glad he seems to be OK, that he’s not seriously injured. I’m definitely happy for that. I got to see him today and everything. I hate it for him; you’d never want to put that on anybody. So I’m just happy he’s OK. But like I said, it was kind of confusing and mind-blowing at the same time.”
What did Camargo say about the injury?
“He said, ‘You know the thing I always do before I go out?’ I was like, yeah. And he goes, like, basically it didn’t work this time. His cleat got stuck apparently something. Yeah, wild. Bizarre. I don’t think anybody understands it. Other than just a freakish thing that happened. Just goes to show you that you never know what can go on, especially in this game.”