Dansby discusses Braves’ fast start and his friendship with Ozzie

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and second baseman Ozzie Albies hug after a recnt win. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Credit: David Zalubowski

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Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and second baseman Ozzie Albies hug after a recnt win. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Credit: David Zalubowski

Credit: David Zalubowski

After struggling in his first full major-league season in 2017, Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson has regained his confidence and is again playing like a guy the franchise planned to have as a cornerstone for many years.

He’s contributed plenty to the strong start by a Braves team that was 8-5 entering Saturday’s game against the Cubs, with Swanson batting .340 (seventh in the National League) with a .937 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

He was among five Braves ranked in the league’s top 20 in OPS before Saturday, along with Freddie Freeman (1.070, third in the NL), Ozzie Albies (.944) and the surprising duo of Preston Tucker (.939) and Ryan Flaherty (.922).

Swanson did a quick interview with the AJC in the visitor’s clubhouse Saturday morning at Wrigley Field. Here’s what he said:

On how well the team has played early:

“Any time you can start positive like we have it puts everyone in a good position. Something I don’t know if it’s even been noticed but, like, our bullpen’s been unbelievable. I just think there’s a lot of trust within right now and everyone’s kind of in-tune with one another and that’s what people have been able to see. Like we talked about earlier, the offense started out so great and there’s points where the pitchers will help us out because we’re not putting up as many runs as we could potentially could, so…. That’s what baseball is and we’ve been kind of trusting that process that we’ll just pick each other up however we need to.

On improvement of starting rotation in past week:

“There was never any doubt in our minds that they were going to throw well. Part of it is kind of getting used to some of the weather after spring training. You go from Florida where it’s hot into places where it’s a little bit chilly and there’s some rain and stuff, so they’ve made that adjustment and they’ve been great.”

On being encouraged by team's performance especially given level of competition and the elements, including cold temperatures, rain and snow:

“Yeah, we’ve played a lot of good teams so far and I think that any time you can compete against some of the best teams in the league it sets you up for success, like we’ve been doing. So I’m just really proud that every day we’ve come to compete and we’re just ultimately worried only about us and our game plan and how we want to attack. I think that’s paid huge dividends for us so far.”

On getting to play on daily basis alongside Albies now that he's settled in and Swanson's back playing at a high level:

“It’s great. There’s no more words or explanations that I can give – we enjoy each other, it’s a blessing to be able to play with one another, for sure.”

On  his friendship with Albies, which people outside the organization might not realize how close they are:

"Yeah, just look at our hugs after the games. (He laughs.) No, but we've been able to kind of develop that friendship and really enjoy the presence of one another, whether it's out on the field or in the clubhouse or whatever it may be. I think that's something that's kind of awesome to be a part of, to have someone that truly believes in you and cares about you and is always happy when you succeed, and vice-versa and all that. So it's pretty neat."

On being thrilled with what Albies has been able to do at the start of his first full season in the majors:

“He’s phenomenal. Everyone, even the untrained eye, can see how good he is. And the people that know a lot about baseball see even the smallest of details of what he does that make a difference. He’s great to have around.”

On the good vibe this team has, how everyone seems to be in tune with one another:

“It goes even beyond that. There’s just a lot of good people around – staff, players, just everybody. I think we all want the same thing, whether it’s players, coaches, the other staff (members). I mean, everyone wants us to succeed and will do things for one another to set us up for that success. And whenever you have that many people going for the same goal it definitely helps turn everyone in the right direction, that’s for sure.”