Snitker also talked about Ronald Acuna Jr’s return to the outfield.
A familiar face was back in the Atlanta Braves clubhouse Friday afternoon and the the team is hoping that his presence can give them a shot in the arm for the final stretch of the regular season. Ozzie Albies is back in the lineup for the first time since June 13 when he suffered a broken foot during an at-bat with against the Washington Nationals.
Albies said that he is feeling great physically and is excited to return to the team. He couldn’t remember the exact date, but said it has been a long time since he has had any discomfort in his surgically repaired foot.
He added that he is excited to return for the final stretch and admitted that it was hard being away from the action.
“Great work they’ve done for the last three months, but it’s hard being at home on the couch and you can’t even go do anything,” Albies said. “It was pretty tough, but mentally I was strong.”
The Braves are coming off of a 4-4 road trip and have dropped four of five overall. They trail the Mets by one game in the NL East standings entering play Friday. Brian Snitker said that getting Albies back will give the team a lift on and off the field.
“It’s just good to see him walking around the clubhouse again,” Snitker said of Albies. “Ozzie’s got a way of making everybody feel good about themselves and feel better. I know he’s excited. Reports are good, running around good. I think he’s anxious to get going.”
Albies is back in Friday’s lineup hitting eighth and playing second base. Snitker said that they would monitor how he is feeling on a day-to-day basis going forward.
“We’ll see. I mean, he says he feels good and everything, which is really good,” Snitker said. “Obviously, we won’t be crazy or stupid about it. We’ll trust him and I think he’s going to be forthright with us. If he needs to DH a day or something like that, we can always work that in. So we’ll just kind of get him out there and run him around and see how it is day to day.”
With Albies back, Vaughn Grissom is out of the lineup for just the second time since his promotion from Double A. Grissom gave the team a significant lift, but his role will change over the final few weeks of the regular season.
“He did an awesome job,” Albies answered when asked about the job Grissom did filling in at second base. “He’s a great baseball player.”
Snitker said that the team will take a game-by-game approach to the lineup going forward. He said that Grissom could see some time at second if Albies needs to DH a day and that they were planning to work him out in the outfield although he didn’t elaborate on that idea.
“Just wait and see, again, that’ll be a day to day thing,” Snitker said. “See how we match up. Maybe certain time in the lineup or if Ozzie needs a day to DH we can plug him in. We are going to work him out in the outfield, but the focus is going to be on winning games. Putting the team out there that day that we can win a game. It’s not going to be on individuals. So, he’s just got to stay ready to do whatever we need him to do.”
Ronald Acuña Jr. starting in right field for the second straight game
Ronald Acuña Jr. is back in right field for the second straight game after serving as the DH for the previous 12 games. Snitker said that Acuña had been moving better in recent days and they are still hoping to stay ahead of the soreness.
“We’ll try and keep it to where it’s to a minimum, as far as the thing flaring up,” Snitker said.
He added that he felt they were a better club with Acuña in the outfield. During his run as the DH, they at times rolled out outfields that featured Marcell Ozuna in left with either Robbie Grossman or Eddie Rosario in right.
“I just think it’s better for us as a club when he’s in the outfield, with what he can bring defensively and his arm and the whole thing,” Snitker said. “We’ll just go again day-to-day and see how he feels.”