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Braves make apparent shortstop decision, option Grissom

Brace Hemmelgarn / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Atlanta Braves have apparently decided who will replace the departed Dansby Swanson as their starting shortstop. It's not who most people expected it to be.

Vaughn Grissom and Braden Shewmake were optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday. That leaves utility infielder Orlando Arcia as the likely replacement for Swanson, who left the Braves in free agency during the offseason for a $177 million, seven-year deal with the Chicago Cubs.

Atlanta announced the moves involving Grissom and Shewmake after a 6-5 exhibition win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Grissom, who had been widely anticipated to be Swanson's successor, went 3 for 4 in the game with an RBI and run scored, raising his batting average to .371 in 12 games this spring.

Arcia appeared in only one game at shortstop for the Braves last season, when he made 43 starts at second base and hit .244 in 67 games overall. He hasn't been a primary shortstop since starting 59 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season for Milwaukee, which traded him to the Braves the following April.

The 22-year-old Grissom made his big league debut last season by hitting .291 with five home runs and 18 RBIs in 41 games for the Braves. He started 39 games at second base and one at shortstop.

Arcia and Grissom were needed so much at second base last year because Ozzie Albies missed much of the season with two injuries — a broken foot and finger.

Swanson, the first overall pick in the 2012 draft, debuted with the Braves in 2016 and hit .255 in 827 games over eight seasons. He hit .277 while playing in 162 games last season.

Shewmake, a first-round pick by the Braves in the 2019 amateur draft, is still looking to make his big league debut.

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