In fact, he had a much more serious injury.
“It’s sad to hear this, I just now found out about it,” Ronald Acuña said through translator Franco Garcia. “It’s really sad. I know what he’s going through, obviously because I went through it last year. I just wish him a speedy recovery and hope he returns to full strength next year.”
Duval started the season as the club’s starting center fielder but recently shared time in left field with Eddie Rosario. Duval is a powerful bat, but he hasn’t hit it hard this season yet, hitting .213 with a .677 OPS. He had 12 home runs and 36 RBIs.
But in his last 15 games, Duvall hit .296 with a 1.045 OPS. He hit six doubles and four home runs, hitting nine runs in that time. His appearance was a positive for the Braves roster, which has been crushing rivals since the beginning of June.
The Braves have Rosario, but baseball operations president Alex Anthopoulos probably needs to acquire another outfielder before the Aug. 2 trade deadline. After returning from the injured list, Rosario is 9 for 47 with two home runs and five RBIs. He has a .393 OPS this season. Duval is a right-handed striker, so he and Rosario balanced each other out.
The long-term picture may be bleak for fans: Duval, who became a free agent after this season, may have played his last game in a Braves uniform. Although he didn’t reach his standard this season, he played a big part in last year’s World Series. And he’s a bat that could get hot at any moment.
Acquired from the Reds in 2018, Duvall hit .280 at .749 pts per second in five seasons with Atlanta. He has 54 home runs and 133 RBIs in 272 games with the club. The Braves let him go to the Marlins before reacquiring him in his final year.
Duvall had big moments for the Braves. Perhaps most memorable: his Grand Slam in Game 5 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Braves withdrew infielder Mike Ford on Sunday to take over on Duval’s roster. If the Braves start Rosario from left field, Marcell Ozuna and Heredia will be among the other outfielders on the 26-man roster. Ozuna is not a very good defender and was the team’s designated forward. Heredia is 8-for-63 with three home runs this season.
Prior to Duvall’s injury, it looked like the Braves’ group of position players were set up for the most part. This is one of the most talented baseball lineups, even without Duvall hitting like he used to.
Now all eyes are on Anthopoulos, who has built a reputation for taking the steps necessary to get his team into the playoffs.
Michael Harris and his hobbies
Michael Harris played golf for three days last week. That, of course, doesn’t usually happen – this time it only happened because Harris was enjoying the All-Star break.
Usually the schedule is too tight. Prior to that, he had not played golf for almost two months.
“There was a bit of rust the first time around,” Harris said. “It was good to get out of there, take a little break from baseball.”
Hobbies away from the stadium are useful when you are playing a sport that requires a daily grind. In addition to playing golf, Harris enjoys bowling and video games.
“You have to do other things to clear your mind because baseball can drain you if you think about it too much,” Harris said. “If things don’t go the way you want, it can really drain you and lead to more failure. Just finding other activities to take your mind off of it is actually really good.”
Harris has said that he is a “good enough” bowler. He started bowling more often when he got bowling balls in 2020 and he estimates his highest score is 274 or 276.
Speaking to reporters in March, he said he had driven 347 yards on the golf course. A friend of Harris recently informed him that the ball may have gone further.
“He heard the interview and said that maybe it was actually the 370, because he had a little help from the cart road, if you know what I mean,” Harris said.
Austin Riley’s Big Change
In just a few years, Austin Riley has developed into a great striker.
Asked what he’s doing now that he wasn’t doing when he debuted in 2019, Riley said this Saturday: “I think I can make those adjustments to the game when pitchers make adjustments to me. I think the most important thing was just to plan the game with the pitcher on a daily basis and understand what they are trying to do to me.”
On Sunday, Riley was on a 15-game hitting streak. He had 28 home runs and 63 RBIs.
“You see (the numbers) but I try not to think about them,” Riley said. “I try to get out there and just do good at-bats and take care of everything else.”
The brave men chase the Mets
After the June 1 game, the Braves were 10.5 games behind the Mets. They entered the polygames on Sunday behind New York.
Prior to this, the Braves’ smallest deficit in the division was one game ago, as it was after the April 12 game.
If the Braves win the division in a couple of months, they will cut their biggest deficit to win the division title. Their current record erases a 10-game deficit in 1993.
After Saturday’s game, Snitker said he follows the standings “from time to time” at this time of year.
“This is the time of year when all the games are big,” Snitker said.
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