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Swanson has ligament tear; playoff status unclear

Hand injury will sideline Braves' shortstop at least through regular season
MLB.com @mlbbowman

NEW YORK -- Shortstop Dansby Swanson will miss the remainder of the regular season with a torn ligament in his left hand, the Braves announced on Wednesday, although the club has not ruled out the possibility that he will be available once the postseason begins next week.

Swanson received his diagnosis when he returned to Atlanta on Wednesday to be evaluated by Dr. Gary Lourie, the team's head physician. The 24-year-old Swanson's discomfort is between his ring finger and his left wrist. This is not the same area that bothered Swanson when he missed two weeks in May with left wrist inflammation.

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NEW YORK -- Shortstop Dansby Swanson will miss the remainder of the regular season with a torn ligament in his left hand, the Braves announced on Wednesday, although the club has not ruled out the possibility that he will be available once the postseason begins next week.

Swanson received his diagnosis when he returned to Atlanta on Wednesday to be evaluated by Dr. Gary Lourie, the team's head physician. The 24-year-old Swanson's discomfort is between his ring finger and his left wrist. This is not the same area that bothered Swanson when he missed two weeks in May with left wrist inflammation.

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The Braves' medical staff will provide daily treatment in Atlanta through the rest of this week, then re-evaluate Swanson to get a better feel for whether he might be available when the National League Division Series begins next Thursday.

"I think we'll know more in a couple days once they treat him up good and see," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I know Dansby is going to try [hard] to get back."

As Swanson remains unavailable, Snitker will give starting shortstop duties to Charlie Culberson, who proved himself to be a valuable backup when he replaced Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager during last year's NL Championship Series.

Snitker has the option to move Johan Camargo to shortstop and play Culberson at third base, but he did not want to move Camargo, who ranks second among all MLB third basemen with six Defensive Runs Saved. Swanson ranks sixth among shortstops with 11 DRS.

"Johan has been at third for so long and so much this year," Snitker said. "If he has to go [to shortstop] he's capable. I think right now defensively with our team, we can max it out by putting Charlie at short."

Culberson drew the baseball world's attention last year when he went 5-for-11 with two doubles and a triple in the NLCS against the Cubs. His production gave him additional playing time in the World Series, where he went 3-for-5 with a homer against the Astros.

Before becoming an unexpected October hero, Culberson was limited last season to his 13 September at-bats after spending the season's first five months at the Triple-A level.

This year's journey has been much different for Culberson, who has become somewhat of a fan favorite while serving as valuable backup in Atlanta. He has homered 12 times and compiled 280 at-bats, many of which were tallied as he served as the primary left fielder when Ronald Acuna Jr. missed a month with a left knee injury.

"We're so fortunate to have Charlie because he's always ready, regardless of where it is -- whether it's in the outfield or the infield," Snitker said. "It's not like he hasn't played a lot of shortstop."

Swanson created some promise when he hit .327 (16-for-49) with four homers during a 14-game stretch from Aug. 17-Sept. 2. But he has hit just .161 with a .526 OPS over the 19 games that have followed.

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

Atlanta Braves, Dansby Swanson