The Braves announced on Wednesday that third baseman Adonis Garcia will miss roughly two months following surgery to repair ligament damage in his left ring finger.
The 32-year-old Garcia missed about two weeks due to an Achilles injury in late May and had only just returned from the DL when he suffered the injury to his finger. A long-term injury to Garcia could very well mean that the Braves will take an extended look at prospect Rio Ruiz at the hot corner.
[Related: Atlanta Braves depth chart]
Garcia emerged as the primary third baseman for the Braves late in 2015 and carried that role for much of the 2016 season, hitting a combined .274/.307/.437 with 24 homers through 761 plate appearances. However, he was batting a greatly diminished .247/.282/.351 with four home runs through his first 163 plate appearances of the 2017 season.
Ruiz, 23, entered the 2017 season ranked in the back-third of the Astros’ top 30 prospects, per outlets such as Baseball America and MLB.com. He got off to a reasonably productive start in Triple-A, hitting .262/.305/.447 through 151 plate appearances before being promoted to the Majors when Garcia was sidelined in mid-May. It’s been a struggle for Ruiz in the Majors thus far, as he’s hit just .209/.312/.343 through 77 plate appearances.
Atlanta acquired Ruiz alongside Mike Foltynewicz and Andrew Thurman in the trade that sent Evan Gattis and James Hoyt to the Astros. The former fourth-round pick signed a significantly over-slot deal out of the 2012 draft but has yet to deliver premium results in either the upper minors or in the Majors. Of course, he also only recently turned 23 (on May 22), so there’s still time for him to take his game to a higher level.