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Braves Continue to Battle Injuries

The Atlanta Braves look to continue weathering the storm against constant injuries early on in the 2023 season.

This season the Atlanta Braves have been through the gauntlet regarding injuries. Through the first two weeks of the season, players have been on and off the IL, and when one comes back, it seems a new player gets hurt. OF Michael Harris II, SP Max Fried, SP Kyle Wright, C Travis d’Arnaud, SP Mike Soroka, RP Raisel Iglesias, and RP Collin McHugh are the players who have done stints since the start of Spring Training.

Tuesday night against the Cincinnati Reds, injury struck the Braves again as SS Orlando Arcia took a 97 MPH fastball to the wrist. At first, Arcia went ahead and ran the bases. He then went into the dugout and left the game.

How the Injury Affects the Braves

Arcia has been nothing short of spectacular this season, and up until this point, he was well on his way to solidifying his name as the shortstop of the future for Atlanta. The Braves had no game on Thursday while traveling to Kansas City. Instead of enjoying a day off, the Braves now have to figure out who fills the hole at short.

So far in the young season, Arcia has been a stud. He has a .333 BA and a .911 OPS, tacking on two home runs. His 0.8 WAR is already higher than his total from all of 2022. Arcia earned all the praise he has been receiving, so for him to miss time will be a real hit to the Braves lineup.

Now X-rays have come back showing a micro-fracture in his wrist that will land him on the IL. An injury is never great, but I will admit that the silver lining in all of this is Braves will more than likely have SS Vaughn Grissom coming up, who has been hitting the leather off the ball in triple-A.

What are the Next Steps?

Grissom is currently making a home in Gwinnett. In ten games, Grissom has fifteen hits and 24 total bases. Hitting .366 in the minors is no laughing matter, and with him moving up, I expect him to get after it and give it his everything. It is essential to remember Grissom is filling in for Arcia right now, and this is his chance to earn the spot.

The battle for the shortstop position took a very interesting turn at the end of March, but Arcia proved to us that fans are just fans and not GMs for a reason because Arcia has been lights out. When Grissom went down to Gwinnett, he talked with Braves third base coach Ron Washington about the reason behind the move. Washington gave him some excellent advice that I hope he listened to, “you don’t like it? Play better”. Short and sweet, the way advice should be.

Now is the Time to Move Up

The Braves go to Kansas City to play the Royals, who sit at 4-9. It is not a terrible place to throw Grissom in the six-hole. Hopefully, Grissom will keep his bat hot and take this series to get some good at-bats while getting solid reps at short.

Last week I shared my thoughts on Grissom and how I thought the Braves would test him out in left field. I was incorrect about the position, but I did know Vaughn Grissom would be moving up sometime soon. Sadly, it has to be under these conditions.

Braves Stay Confident Through all of the Turmoil

An injury rarely produces an opportunity to be excited, but in this rare case, the Braves know that Arcia can be a high-WAR shortstop while Grissom can prove his bat will hold up in the big leagues. Last year, Grissom had a severe drop-off at the end of the season, finding him on the bench in the final stretch.

If Grissom can prove his bat is back and ready for action, I don’t see a reason for Grissom to move back to Gwinnett. I believe this potential call up could be the catalyst that shows the Braves organization that he is needed. Grissom is not a liability to put in the lineup. As of Friday morning, the transaction is official, meaning Vaughn Grissom is back with the Atlanta Braves.

All stats are through Thursday, April 13.


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