Albies has successful day in return

Braves prospect singles, scores in first inning back

Albies has successful day in return

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If Ozzie Albies receives his wish, he will experience a much more satisfying debut at some point this year. But for now, he certainly has reason to enjoy the satisfaction of returning to action six months after freakishly fracturing his right elbow.

Playing his first game in six months, Albies batted leadoff and started at second base for the Braves in Thursday's 8-7 loss to the Yankees at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex. The Braves' No. 2 prospect singled in his first plate appearance and successfully converted the only defensive chance he had before exiting after four innings.

"It felt great," a smiling Albies said. "It felt great to be back."

It didn't take long for Albies to be thrust back into the speed of the game. Moments after the 20-year-old phenom singled to center off Michael Pineda in the bottom of the first inning, he raced from first base to score on Johan Camargo's double off the center-field wall.

During the top of the first inning, Albies helped Aaron Blair escape trouble when he fielded Chris Carter's chopper and promptly stepped on second base before throwing to first base to complete a double play.

"My adrenaline was so high and I was a little nervous," Albies said. "I know it's going to be like that always the first time back. After that, first ground ball I turned the double play and felt great."

Albies, who ranks as MLBPipeline's No. 10 prospect, might have been projected to enter this season as Atlanta's second baseman had he not fractured his elbow as he checked a swing while playing for Double-A Mississippi during a Southern League playoff game on Sept. 7.

Minus a one-month trip to his native Curacao, Albies spent most of the past six months rehabbing at the Braves' Spring Training complex. He spent much of November and December completing conditioning exercises and attempting to regain the strength he lost while his right arm was in a cast.

Once Albies was cleared to begin swinging a bat again in January, he quickly quieted fears about the possibility that he would be mentally adversely affected by the injury. He has shown no hesitance over the past few weeks and aims to be ready for the start of the season.

Though Albies will likely begin the season with Triple-A Gwinnett, there is certainly a chance he could join Atlanta's roster at some point this year and form the much-anticipated double play duo that will also include his good friend Dansby Swanson.

"It was awesome when we played together [in the Minors]," Albies said. "It seems like we're going to do some good stuff up there in Atlanta."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.