Braves fans having been anxiously waiting for their first look at shortstop Dansby Swanson, Atlanta’s top prospect. They will get that on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Twins.
The Braves announced Tuesday that they will promote the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft from Double-A Mississippi and have him in the lineup for the finale of a two-game interleague series against the Twins.
“We don’t expect him to come up here and be the savior, but we feel like this is an opportunity for us to take a good look and get him some experience up here in the big leagues,” Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said. “He has a lot of intangibles that I think will translate and we don’t think he’s going to be overwhelmed when he comes up.”
Swanson, 22, played just 127 minor league games and had a modest .261 batting average with Mississippi after an early-season promotion from Class A Advanced Carolina, where he hit .333.
The native of Marietta, Ga., had a combined .362 on-base percentage with 39 extra-base hits and 55 RBIs in 105 total games with Mississippi and Carolina.
“This is a very smart kid, and he’s a good player,” Hart said. “However he performs up here, I think it’s going to do nothing but be beneficial for him and for us as we go to make a decision as to what we do with the shortstop position next year.”
The Braves opened a spot for the former Vanderbilt All-American by trading shortstop Erick Aybar to Detroit on Tuesday for utility player Mike Aviles and catching prospect Kade Scivicque.
The 32-year-old Aybar was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels last winter as part of the Andrelton Simmons to give the Braves a stopgap shortstop until Swanson was ready.
Aybar, who got off to a slow start, hit .360 in his final 19 contests with the Braves to get his average up to .242 in 97 games.
An MRI taken of Miguel Sano’s sore right elbow revealed no structural damage, which was good news for the Twins.
The bad news, though, is that the Twins can’t use a designated hitter against the Braves and Sano arm is questionable for third base.
“He’s got to show he’s ready to make throws,” manager Paul Molitor said. “When he’s ready, he’ll get a chance to play some defense.”
Sano wasn’t used as a pinch-hitting option as the Twins won 4-2 in the opener of the two-game set and could also sit out the series finale, although Molitor didn’t rule out a return to the lineup.
Right-hander Mike Folytnewicz (6-5, 4.50 ERA) will start for the Braves against Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson (4-6, 4.86 ERA).
Folynewicz got credit for credit for the Braves’ 9-7 victory at Minnesota on July 27 that completed a two-game sweep.
Gibson hasn’t pitched against the Braves in his career, but has struggled in interleague games, going 2-7 with a 6.10 ERA in 11 games against the National League.
Sano has hit well despite being limited to DH duties for a while, batting .304 with four homers and seven RBIs over his last six games before having the MRI on Monday, a day off for the Twins.
“We were hoping that would be the case,” Molitor said of the good MRI results. “There is no repercussion from surgery (in 2014). It’s just a matter that he had a little bit of a sore elbow.”
After not throwing much for more than a week, Sano took ground balls and made throws to first base before the first game against the Braves.
Sano, 23, has a .250/.342/.491 slash line with 20 homers, 16 doubles and 50 RBIs in 84 games this season.