Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Snitker says Pujols sets the bar high

Manager being patient as Swanson adjusts to playing in Majors
MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Baseball fans across the country fixed their attention on Angel Stadium on Wednesday night as Albert Pujols sat one home run away from becoming the ninth player in Major League history to hit 600.

The Machine drilled homer Nos. 598 and 599 in each of the Angels' first two games against the Braves. Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said prior to Wednesday's series finale that he hoped No. 600 wouldn't come against his club, while reflecting on Pujols' career.

View Full Game Coverage

ANAHEIM -- Baseball fans across the country fixed their attention on Angel Stadium on Wednesday night as Albert Pujols sat one home run away from becoming the ninth player in Major League history to hit 600.

The Machine drilled homer Nos. 598 and 599 in each of the Angels' first two games against the Braves. Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said prior to Wednesday's series finale that he hoped No. 600 wouldn't come against his club, while reflecting on Pujols' career.

View Full Game Coverage

"You go back and look at the numbers he's put up year in and year out, it's something else," Snitker said. "He's a Hall of Famer. He's done it every year."

Video: ATL@LAA: Pujols crushes his 599th home run to left

Snitker, who served as the Braves third-base coach from 2007-13 prior to being named the club's interim manager in May 2016, recalled Pujols' time with the Cardinals, during which he won the National League MVP Award in 2005, '08 and '09.

"People will talk about what he hasn't done. I look back, and my God, his years have been really good," said Snitker. "He's set such a high bar."

Through 73 games (71 starts) against the Braves, Pujols entered Wednesday's game having launched 21 home runs and 68 RBIs. His .352 batting average is his third-best mark against any opponent.

Swanson's coming along, despite rough patch

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson is still adjusting to the Major Leagues.

The 2015 No. 1 overall MLB Draft pick's season, statistically, has ebbed and flowed. Entering Wednesday's contest, Swanson collected just two hits in his last 23 at-bats over his last eight games. Prior to the stretch, he had batted .327 (16-for-49) over 14 games.

"We knew there was going to be some growing pains," Snitker said. "I didn't expect the kid to come in and hit .300 every night. I knew it would be an adjustment period, like there is for most guys, whether it's a position player, whatever. There's just [a period of] getting accustomed to league and knowing the league, and facing Major League pitching on a daily basis. The only way you can do that is to face it."

Atlanta acquired Swanson in a five-player trade with the D-backs on Dec. 8, 2015. Entering Wednesday, he was batting .189 in 2017, and had a career batting average of .237.

Worth noting

• First baseman Matt Adams was not in the Braves' starting lineup Wednesday after tweaking his knee during Tuesday night's loss.

"His knee is a little swollen," Snitker said. "I think he felt it when he woke up. It was kind of a little tender, so we'll stay away from him [tonight], and check him when we get to Cincinnati."

Since arriving in a trade from St. Louis on May 21, Adams is batting .244 and has six extra-base hits (three doubles, one triple and two home runs) in 10 starts.

• The Braves entered Wednesday's contest having committed 16 errors over their last 16 games. Three errors were central to Atlanta's nine-run collapse in the third inning of their 9-3 loss to the Angels on Tuesday night.

"It's something we have to address," Snitker said. "We have to get the outs when they're presented because our team's not built to overcome that sort of obstacle."

Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. He covered the Braves on Wednesday.

Atlanta Braves, Dansby Swanson