Dansby Swanson amps up on-field activity

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson has increased his on-field workouts, including taking ground balls Saturday, an encouraging sign as he works his way back from a heel injury.

Swanson, 25, has missed 22 games thus far because of the injury, which occurred when his heel scraped a base.

The team has sorely missed Swanson’s defense, necessitating Friday’s signing of defensive specialist Adeiny Hechavarría. Swanson’s offense has also left a void, with the former first overall pick in the midst of a breakout season.

The Braves are happy with Swanson’s recent progress, which has included running, hitting and participating in defensive drills.

“He’s better today than he was yesterday,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s done some running, he’s accelerated some of the defensive things. It’s all trending in a good way.”

Swanson’s current rate gives the Braves hope he could return around the end of August, which would be a welcome development for a team that’s also lost a trio of outfielders - Nick Markakis, Austin Riley, Ender Inciarte - to injury.