Camargo's play, versatility leave Braves flexible

Camargo's play, versatility leave Braves flexible

ATLANTA -- Johan Camargo's emergence as an everyday option has limited Dansby Swanson's recent playing time. It has also created further reason to wonder if the Braves might be more aggressive in their attempt to trade Brandon Phillips once Sean Rodriguez makes his expected return from the disabled list next week.

After utilizing Camargo as the starting shortstop and placing Swanson on the bench again for Friday's game against the D-backs, Braves manager Brian Snitker said, "It's just about what [Camargo] is doing. He's performing and getting results. It's hard to keep the kid out of there."

It marked the third time within a six-game span the Braves have given the starting shortstop assignment to Camargo, who hit .400 (16-for-40) with a 1.105 OPS over his final 13 games before the All-Star break.

Swanson hasn't necessarily made this decision difficult as he entered the break having hit .146 (6-for-41) with a .446 OPS over his past 13 games. He struck out 15 times and drew four walks while tallying 45 plate appearances within this span.

When the D-backs start left-hander Patrick Corbin on Saturday, there's a chance Matt Adams will be out of the lineup. This would create the option to position Freddie Freeman at first base and have Camargo fill the third-base spot.

If Snitker chooses to sit Phillips for Sunday's series finale, Camargo could fill the second-base spot while Swanson makes a second consecutive start at shortstop.

Snitker's responsibility to juggle playing time could become more complicated as early as Monday, when Rodriguez and Danny Santana could both be activated from the disabled list.

Santana was fortunate to learn the infection that sidelined him just before the break was not a staph infection. His return will not impact the infield mix as much as the return of Rodriguez, who has recovered much sooner than expected since undergoing what was initially feared to be a season-ending left shoulder procedure in February.

With Rodriguez and Camargo capable of manning second base, the Braves will continue to evaluate the trade market for Phillips, who could draw interest from a team looking to add a consistent right-handed bat for the stretch.

The Braves will also continue to evaluate the market for Adams, who could draw interest from the Royals, Yankees and other teams looking to add a left-handed power bat.

If Adams is traded, Freeman would return to first and third base could be filled by either Camargo or Rodriguez. Of course, if Adams and Phillips are traded, there is a chance Camargo and Rodriguez could find themselves filling an everyday role. There is also a chance the Braves could opt to promote Ozzie Albies before the end of the season, providing yet another option at second base on a regular basis.

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