SATURDAY, 5:28pm: Markakis suffered a fractured wrist and is likely to miss six to eight weeks, according to Burns. While Markakis won’t need surgery, he still won’t return until the middle of September.
12:02pm: The Braves placed both Swanson and Markakis on the 10-day injured list, per Burns. Max Fried takes one roster spot, while Duvall has been recalled to take the other. Swanson’s injury is listed as a right foot contusion, whereas Markakis, as feared, has a fractured right wrist (Twitter links).
FRIDAY: The NL East-leading Braves have seen their advantage over the second-place Nationals dwindle a bit over the past couple weeks. At 61-43, the Braves still own a 5 1/2-game cushion, but it appears their lineup is about to take two notable hits. The club could lose shortstop Dansby Swanson and right fielder Nick Markakis to the injured list, Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution relays (links here).
Swanson injured the base of his heel Tuesday and hasn’t played since. The Braves will make a decision Saturday on a potential IL stint for Swanson, per manager Brian Snitker. The news sounds far worse for Markakis, who took a 91 mph fastball off the left wrist from Phillies southpaw Cole Irvin on Friday. While he Braves wound up winning the game, they probably lost Markakis in the process. He’ll see a doctor Saturday, but Markakis said after the game that “it doesn’t look good,” and Burns writes that Snitker was “pessimistic” about his status.
Both Swanson and Markakis have been solid complements this year to the Braves’ top-tier position players in Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman, Josh Donaldson and Ozzie Albies. The 25-year-old Swanson’s on pace for a career season, having hit .265/.330/.468 (104 wRC+) with 17 home runs in 431 plate appearances. Markakis, 35, has posted a similarly effective slash line – .284/.358/.429 (105 wRC+) in 416 PA – with nine HRs.
Part of Markakis’ appeal throughout his career has been his commendable durability. He entered 2019 with six straight campaigns of 155-plus games under his belt, including a full 162-game slate last year, and has come back to appear in all 104 of the Braves’ contests this season. That streak now looks like a sure bet to end.
If the Braves do lose Swanson and Markakis, they could turn to Johan Camargo and-or Charlie Culberson at shortstop. Those two also count among the Braves’ reserve outfield options, as do Matt Joyce and veteran Adam Duvall. A back-to-back 30-home run hitter with the Reds from 2016-17, Duvall’s numbers plummeted during an ’18 campaign divided between Cincinnati and Atlanta. Duvall has spent all of this season at the Triple-A level as a result, but he’s likely to come up to help fill Markakis’ void, David O’Brien of The Athletic tweets.
Markakis’ forthcoming absence could also enable the Braves to work the demoted Ender Inciarte into the mix more often. Inciarte made it clear Thursday he doesn’t want to be traded, and it now looks especially unlikely in light of Markakis’ injury.