In just his second game back since being activated from the 60-day injured list, Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies suffered a broken right pinky finger in tonight’s game against the Phillies. The injury occurred while sliding into second base in the fourth inning, and Albies was replaced by Vaughn Grissom at second base for the top of the fifth.
The severity of the injury is not yet known, although the fact that initial x-rays determined the problem before the game ended could indicate more than just a small fracture. It would appear that Albies’ 2022 season could be over, perhaps even if Atlanta makes another run to the World Series.
Albies was a big contributor to last year’s championship team, earning his second career All-Star and Silver Slugger honors while also finishing 13th in NL MVP voting. However, Albies was off to a relatively slow start during the first two months of the 2022 campaign before he suffered a left foot fracture on June 13 and had to undergo surgery. As noted, Albies was sidelined until just yesterday when he went 1-for-4 with two RBI in Atlanta’s 7-2 win over Philadelphia.
The Braves have managed to thrive even without Albies for much of the season, and Grissom has somewhat unexpectedly stepped up as an immediate contributor after being promoted from Double-A just over a month ago. Grissom hit .304/.355/.482 over his first 121 plate appearances in the majors, leading to some speculation that the Braves would try Grissom in left field to keep his hot bat in the lineup. However, it seems as though opposing pitchers have started to adjust to Grissom, as the rookie has just a .607 OPS over his last 67 PA.
However, after Albies’ injury, it would appear that Grissom will now once again be the top option at second base for the remainder of the regular season and postseason. Orlando Arcia is also on hand to provide depth, and Ehire Adrianza is also at hand, but currently on the IL itself due to a quad strain. Pat Valaika, Hernan Perezand Ryan Goins are some of the Triple-A options with MLB experience, though Atlanta might have to add one of those players to the 40-man roster.
Less than a year ago the Braves beat the odds by winning the World Series despite losing a star player (Acuna) to injury for much of the season and throughout the playoffs. While the book is still not closed on Albies’ potential availability in the postseason, his absence for at least a few weeks will make it difficult for the Braves to overtake the Mets in the NL East, and possibly grab a first-round bye. The NL East runner-up is all but guaranteed to be the NL’s top wild card team and thus is set to host all three games (if necessary) of the Wild Card Series, however Atlanta would obviously love to avoid those extra games and extra. chance of elimination.