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Braves All-Star Second Baseman Could Return as Soon as Friday

David O’Brien of The Athletic reports that Ozzie Albies has begun swinging a bat and could return from the 10-day injured list when first eligible on Friday. However, if he’s not ready to go friday, his return would like come soon after. Albies suffered a fractured right toe when he was hit by a pitch a week ago. Luis Guillorme and David Fletcher have been handling second base duties for Atlanta in the All-Star’s absence. The news comes as a good one especiallyt a day after Albies wasn’t wearing a protective walking boot Sunday.

Strong Chance for Ozzie Albies to Return Later This Week

Losing Albies hurt the club as he’s been a consistent strong hitter. He was off to a hot start to the year, hitting .317/.386/.492. Losing that kind of production was unwelcoming for Atlanta who is also without Spencer Strider and Sean Murphy. Strider is out following season-ending elbow surgery whereas Murphy is working his way back from an olbique strain. Having three key contributors all out at once is less than ideal. Albies has landed on the injured list in four of the last five seasons.

No Luck with the Injuries

The second baseman’s injury history dates back to 2016 when he was with Double-A Mississippi. He fractured his elbow while taking a swing late that season. But he did reach the majors almost a year later. Albies then missed half of the COVID-shortened 2020 season with a right wrist bone bruise. He then fractured his left foot while taking a swing during the 2022 season. Albies also missed the postseason that year as it ended one day after he completed a three-month stint on the injured list.

Albies Replacement at Second Base

Fletcher provided Altanta with some depth all over the diamond. He’s played the three infield positions to the left of first base as well as the outfield corners. Fletcher is known to be a strong defender but with a contact-oriented approach at the plate. His strong performance in the shortened 2020 season saw him hit .319/.376/.425. The Los Angeles Angels decided to give Fletcher a five-year extension after that campaign. Unfortunately, his production dipped, indicating his 2020 seasons with a clear outlier. He’s hit .277/.323/.359 in his career and /259/.296/.327 since the 2020 season.

The Angels passed Fletcher through waivers twice last year. Since not one club claimed him and had over three years of service time, he elected free agency. When he signed with Atlanta, they outrighted him off the roster after acquiring him. However the injury to Albies opened the door for Fletvher to return to the majors. If he’s kicked off the roster again and clears waivers, he could elect free agency without losing money on his contract.

Main Photo: © Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports



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