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Swanson takes BP, nearing return to lineup

Shortstop expected to play one rehab game before rejoining Braves
MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Dansby Swanson might be dealing with the lingering effects of going stir-crazy while he was on the disabled list. But after spending the last week away from his Braves teammates, the young shortstop appears to be just a few days away from rejoining Atlanta's lineup.

Swanson took batting practice on the field before Tuesday night's game against the Cubs and plans to do so again Wednesday. If his previously inflamed left wrist cooperates, he could play a rehab game for Class A Rome on Thursday night and possibly be activated for Friday night's game against the Marlins.

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ATLANTA -- Dansby Swanson might be dealing with the lingering effects of going stir-crazy while he was on the disabled list. But after spending the last week away from his Braves teammates, the young shortstop appears to be just a few days away from rejoining Atlanta's lineup.

Swanson took batting practice on the field before Tuesday night's game against the Cubs and plans to do so again Wednesday. If his previously inflamed left wrist cooperates, he could play a rehab game for Class A Rome on Thursday night and possibly be activated for Friday night's game against the Marlins.

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"That's been my goal this whole time," Swanson said. "But it would be stupid for me to guarantee and promise certain things. Every day, I'm progressing nicely. I feel great."

Braves manager Brian Snitker said Swanson might need to play just one rehab game to reacquaint himself with the speed of the game. The 24-year-old shortstop would play for Rome because Triple-A Gwinnett has a road game Thursday.

Swanson was unexpectedly placed on the disabled list on May 5 when the left wrist discomfort he had battled for a few weeks worsened to the point he needed more than just a few days of rest. The Atlanta native kept his body in shape with regular cardiovascular activity, but did not start swinging a bat again until Sunday.

When Swanson is activated, the Braves will have to make a roster move, which could affect backup infielder Charlie Culberson, who is out of options. Culberson's recent offensive results -- 6-for-19 in May -- might increase the possibility he could be lost if designated for assignment. But the Braves' only other choice would be to option Preston Tucker and field a roster without a designated backup outfielder.

Jose Bautista or Ryan Flaherty could be utilized in the outfield, if necessary. So there's at least a chance Swanson's return could affect Tucker, who was optioned to create a roster spot for Bautista then recalled a few hours later when the team decided to place Swanson on the DL.

Johan Camargo has served as Atlanta's shortstop over the past week, but considering he entered Tuesday with three hits in his past 27 at-bats, there's less reason to believe he would become Atlanta's primary third baseman when Swanson returns.

Video: ATL@CHC: Bautista's towering homer hangs for 6.5 sec

The Braves remain committed to providing Bautista a chance to maintain his status as their primary third baseman. The 37-year-old veteran has hit .140 with a .536 OPS against right-handed pitchers dating back to last year's All-Star break.

But instead of sticking with a strict platoon by having the lefty-hitting Flaherty in Tuesday's lineup against Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish, the Braves started Bautista, who homered in Saturday's win over the Marlins then added another at a windy Wrigley Field during Monday's win over the Cubs.

"It's a combination of things," Snitker said. "The information about the matchups we get every day, we're giving him another day, after yesterday, to face a right-hander. In order to find out, we have to let him get out there."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Dansby Swanson