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Braves' Swanson almost cleared to return

No longer hurting, shortstop easing back into game mode
MLB.com @mlbbowman

TAMPA, Fla. -- Dansby Swanson's absence from Grapefruit League action will extend into the middle portion of a second week, but the Braves are merely taking a cautious approach with their rookie shortstop, who is no longer dealing with a sore back.

With Opening Day still three weeks away, there certainly isn't any reason for the Braves to rush Swanson, who has not played since he began to feel some back discomfort after playing nine innings against the Marlins on March 4. But it does look like he could be cleared to begin playing in games as early as Wednesday.

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Dansby Swanson's absence from Grapefruit League action will extend into the middle portion of a second week, but the Braves are merely taking a cautious approach with their rookie shortstop, who is no longer dealing with a sore back.

With Opening Day still three weeks away, there certainly isn't any reason for the Braves to rush Swanson, who has not played since he began to feel some back discomfort after playing nine innings against the Marlins on March 4. But it does look like he could be cleared to begin playing in games as early as Wednesday.

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"He swung off a tee today and he feels good," Braves manager Brian Snitker said before Sunday's game against the Yankees. "I think it was more of a throwing-type fatigue thing than anything. I look for him sooner than later."

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Swanson has completed hitting, fielding and throwing drills without any discomfort in each of the past three days. He has been antsy about getting back on the field again, but understands it's best to do whatever necessary now to prevent the possibility of this discomfort lingering throughout the season.

Odds and ends

Eric O'Flaherty surrendered a one-out double but recorded two strikeouts during a scoreless seventh inning in the Braves' 10-2 win over the Yankees on Sunday. O'Flaherty has allowed one run and four hits through 5 2/3 innings.

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After he exited, the Braves got a scoreless inning from Blaine Boyer, who had allowed at least three earned runs in two of his three most recent appearances. Boyer, O'Flaherty, Chaz Roe and Luke Jackson still appear to be the candidates for the final spot if the Braves go with an eight-man bullpen.

Ozzie Albies recorded a pair of singles in the only two at-bats he garnered after entering midway through Sunday's game. Albies is 3-for-5 since being cleared to play in games for the first time since he fractured his right elbow in September.

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

Atlanta Braves, Dansby Swanson