WASHINGTON — Not much has gone wrong for the Braves during their 12-game win streak. But injury struck Monday night at Nationals Park. And now they may be without their All-Star second baseman for a while.
Ozzie Albies suffered a fractured left foot during the club’s 9-5 win over the Nationals, an injury that is expected to sideline Atlanta’s stalwart second baseman for at least a good chunk of the summer. Jammed by a 3-2 Steve Cishek fastball in the fifth, Albies tripped attempting to leave the batter’s box after an awkward swing resulted in a ground ball to short. He was unable to run to first base on the groundout, then limped gingerly back to the dugout and was replaced by Orlando Arcia to begin the next half-inning.
Shortly after, the Braves announced the fracture. Any potential timetable for Albies’ return was unclear as of Monday night, and he was not available for comment after the game.
“I hate it for Ozzie, and I hate it for us,” manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s one of those things. He’ll be fine. He’s young. He’ll heal quick, but I just hate it for the kid because he loves to play baseball and he’s such a big part of our club.”
“It’s hard to put into words. He’s like my little brother.”Dansby Swanson reacts to Ozzie Albies suffering a fractured left foot in tonight’s win. pic.twitter.com/1C5MP6dYWD
The injury comes just as Albies was heating up after a slow start, with 11 RBIs in his past seven games entering Monday night. Before that, it had been a down season for Albies, who is hitting .244 with eight homers and a .694 OPS through 62 games. The two-time All-Star and 2021 NL Silver Slugger winner became the youngest second baseman in MLB history to compile 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in the same season.
“The whole dugout kind of shut down, because you saw it right off the bat, when he fell,” center fielder Michael Harris II said. “You knew something was wrong, with him limping back. That definitely hurts. But we have to continue doing what we do, continue winning for him and for ourselves.”
The Braves are light on infield depth behind Arcia, who can play all three infield positions. But they have a plethora of versatile veteran options at Triple-A Gwinnett, where Pat Valaika, Kramer Robertson, Phil Gosselin, Ryan Goins and Hernán Pérez all tout big league experience. No. 5 prospect Braden Shewmake is also at Gwinnett, but the 24-year-old is a natural shortstop and hasn’t torn up Triple-A in his first crack at the level, hitting .266 with three homers and a .704 OPS through 48 games. If Atlanta decides Shewmake needs more seasoning, the club can easily dip into its veteran depth in the short term, while waiting for Albies’ timeline to become more clear.
For the Braves, this is a new problem. They’ve rarely had to spell Albies, who has become known for his durability since debuting down the stretch in 2017. Albies appeared in Atlanta’s first 62 games this season (starting 61) and has played in 565 since 2018, second most among full-time second basemen. Dansby Swanson’s 545 games since ‘18 are tied for sixth most among shortstops in that stretch, making he and Albies one of the game’s longest-running double-play partners.
“Winning is the goal, to continue to play well,” Swanson said. “At the end of the day, I think the guys we got in this clubhouse consistently show up and do the work to be successful that day. And I think that that focus is going to obviously lead to good things down the road.”