Braves rookie infielder sustained a bone bruise when he caught a spike and fell while attempting to do the same little hop over the first-base line that he does before each home game. (Video by David O'Brien)

Johan Camargo suffers bone bruise in right knee

Johan Camargo injured his right knee when trotting out to the field before the first inning Tuesday.

Brian Snitker announced after the game that he suffered a bone bruise and will head to the disabled list. He’s expected to miss up to a couple weeks but will avoid surgery.

Snitker said he expects Dansby Swanson to be called up to the team for Wednesday’s game.

While running out from the dugout for the series opener against the Phillies, Camargo landed awkwardly on his right leg as he reached down to do his usual routine before crossing the first-base line.

His cleat appeared to stick into the turf, and he fell immediately to the ground, grabbing at his knee in pain.

“I just want to thank God that it’s not worse than it is,” Camargo, who was on crutches after the game, said. “I’m really grateful for that. I don’t know if I can really say it’s bad luck. I do the same thing every time, so I don’t know if I (attribute) it to that. Maybe a spike got caught on the field or something. But yeah, I’m just glad it’s not worse than it is.”

The Braves announced the injury in the second inning as a hyperextended right knee with MRI results pending.

Camargo stayed on the ground as trainer Jim Lovell came to check on him. He was helped into the dugout and tunnel without putting much pressure on the leg.

“That’s a first … I’ve never seen that … what a way to start the day,” Snitker said. “I just saw him sitting there in a pile pretty much. I just thought maybe he tripped … I’ve seen guys trip before, but I’ve never seen a guy have to come out of the game for that.”

Jace Peterson came in to replace him at shortstop. Camargo has held the position regularly since Swanson was sent to Triple-A on July 26. Swanson was pulled from Gwinnett’s game in the third inning after Camargo’s injury.

When asked about the timetable he was given for the injury, Camargo said he expected it to be anywhere between 10 days and two weeks.

“When you look at it, I was thinking a lot worse,” Snitker said. “I’m thinking the kid’s probably going to be done for the year. They said they heard a pop. I’m just thinking he tore something and surgery. But they did the MRI and all and it’s just a bone bruise. It’ll be a couple weeks probably depending on tomorrow and things like that. But at least it’s not a surgical process, so that’s good for him because I just assumed the worst when they had to carry him off like that.”

The possibilities of an ACL or MCL injury popped into Camargo’s mind when he first fell.

“Absolutely,” Camargo said. “To be honest, at the moment, I was worried. So immediately I just began to pray that it wasn’t a more severe injury. I knew I was hurt, so I was just hoping for the best, that it wasn’t going to be too severe. But right now, I’m just going to focus on getting better and getting back out on the diamond.”

Camargo has been a pleasant surprise for Atlanta. After two short stints with the big-league club in April and May, he was called up June 3 and has taken hold of a permanent spot in the lineup. Originally playing third base primarily, Camargo shifted to shortstop once Swanson went to Gwinnett.

He’s hitting .292 with three home runs and 19 RBIs. He’s been worth 1.1 WAR according to Fangraphs in just 63 games and 197 plate appearances. While his bat has been solid, Camargo’s defense – and more specifically his arm – has been impressive. With the ability to play three infield spots well, Camargo has forced the front office to evaluate the future of the Braves’ infield.

“He’s doing really well. It’s been a really great experience for him. He’s played about as good of shortstop as you can. He’s got some big hits and he’s getting legs under him and doing really well. I hate it for him because he’s a hard-working kid. He loves to play. He brings a lot of energy to the lineup and it’s just unfortunate that some freak (injury) like that had to happen.”

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