Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson has become good friends quickly with top second-base prospect Ozzie Albies, and hated to hear of Albies’ season-ending fractured elbow in a playoff game for Double-A Mississippi.
The two had been teammates at Mississippi before Swanson was called up to the major league team 3 ½ weeks ago.
Albies was injured Wednesday and diagnosed Thursday after being examined at Dr. James Andrews’ clinic. He will have surgery next week that will force Albies, 19, to miss the Arizona Fall League and keep him out of baseball activities until January.
“I just talked to him today,” Swanson said. “What are you going to say? That sucks. He was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll be ready for next year.’ He just told me, like, it’s all part of a plan. He’s fine (mentally).”
The left-handed hitting Albies, who is only about 5 foot 8 and 155 pounds but wiry strong, broke the olecranon bone at the tip of his right elbow while taking a swing on a foul ball that sailed outside the left-field line during a game Wednesday.
“I saw the video, it wasn’t a violent swing or anything,” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said. “Something that happened just right, I guess. Because it wasn’t like a whirlybird, foul-a-ball back, exaggerated swing. It looked just like a normal swing that something unfortunate just happened.”
The Braves have had two pitchers in recent years break the olecranon bone while throwing a pitch, Gavin Floyd in June 2014 and Dan Winkler in the second week of this season. But no one who was asked Wednesday could recall a hitter breaking the bone on a swing, including Snitker, who’s been in professional baseball for 40 years.
Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock broke the olecranon bone in his right elbow while sliding in an April 1 game, and returned to the active roster three weeks ago after missing about five months of the season.
The Braves think that Albies will be ready when spring training begins in February, though it’s uncertain if he’ll be ready to compete for a spot on the major league opening day roster as originally planned.
“He’s a young kid, strong, I would think he’s going to heal fast,” Snitker said. “But still, you’ve got to be careful when you ramp things like that back up when you get back…. It’s a shame. The kid’s having fun, playing in the playoffs, having a heck of a year.”