Braves’ prospect Ozzie Albies won’t play until 2017

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I’m calling it now: the Braves have suffered enough this year. On Wednesday night, top prospect Ozzie Albies left a playoff game with Double-A Mississippi after sustaining a fractured olecranon in his right elbow. The 19-year-old will undergo surgery next week and be sidelined through the offseason, with a potential return date in January.

It’s not the first time the Braves have seen a player sidelined with a non-ligament elbow injury. In 2016, they lost reliever Daniel Winkler to a fractured elbow during the second week of the season; in 2014, right-hander Gavin Floyd succumbed to the 60-day disabled list halfway through the season with an olecranon fracture in his throwing arm. Unlike Albies, who has no history of arm or elbow issues, the olecranon injury came on the heels of Floyd’s first Tommy John surgery, and he didn’t see another major league mound until September 2015 during a seven-game stint with the Indians.

Albies’ prognosis looks more promising, but losing a prospect to injury, even at the tail end of a non-contending season, is still a blow for the Braves. They’re currently in the middle of a full-scale rebuild, one that has leaned on contributions from rookies like Dansby Swanson and league-leading hitters like Freddie Freeman. Albies, who ranked #29 overall among’s Top 100 Prospects prior to the 2016 season and #14 in the midseason rankings, was expected to finish out the season in Double-A Mississippi before getting some extra reps in during the Arizona Fall League.

Prior to his injury, Albies was batting .321/.391/.467 through 82 games with Double-A Mississippi. He was called up for a brief stay in Triple-A Gwinnett, where he held a .248/.307/.351 slash line in 56 appearances. Barring complications in his recovery process, the second baseman should return to compete for a spot with the big league club in the spring, although it’s still unclear how much of a workload he’ll be expected to shoulder in 2017.

Cards’ Pujols hits 700th career home run, 4th to reach mark

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES – St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run on Friday night, connecting for his second drive of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and becoming the fourth player to reach the milestone in major league history.

The 42-year-old Pujols hit No. 699 in the third inning, then launched No. 700 in the fourth at Dodger Stadium.

With the drive in the final days of his last big league season, Pujols joined Barry Bonds (762 homers), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) in one of baseball’s most exclusive clubs.

It’s been a remarkable run for Pujols. This was his 14th home run since the start of August for the NL Central-leading Cardinals, and his 21st of the season.

Pujols’ historic homer was a three-run shot against Dodgers reliever Phil Bickford. The ball landed in the first few rows of the left-field pavilion, the same location his two-run shot touched down the previous inning off left-hander Andrew Heaney.

Pujols received a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd – he finished out last season while playing for the Dodgers. He took a curtain call, raising his cap in acknowledgment.

The fans chanted “Pujols! Pujols!” They finally sat down after being on their feet in anticipation of seeing history.

Pujols snapped a tie with Alex Rodriguez for fourth on the list when he hit career homer No. 697 against Pittsburgh on Sept. 11.

Reaching 700 homers seemed like a long shot for Pujols when he was batting .189 on July 4. But the three-time NL MVP started to find his stroke in August, swatting seven homers in one 10-game stretch that helped St. Louis pull away in the division race.

“I know that early in the year … I obviously wanted better results,” Pujols said after he homered in a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 22. “But I felt like I was hitting the ball hard. Sometimes this game is going to take more away from you than the game (is) giving you back.

“So I think at the end of the day you have to be positive and just stay focused and trust your work. That’s something that I’ve done all the time.”

Pujols has enjoyed a resurgent season after returning to St. Louis in March for a $2.5 million, one-year contract. It’s his highest total since he hit 23 homers for the Angels in 2019.

He plans to retire when the season ends.

Pujols also began his career in St. Louis. He was selected by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 amateur draft and won the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year award.

The Dominican Republic native hit at least .300 with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first 10 seasons. He helped the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.

He set a career high with 49 homers in 2006 – one of seven seasons with at least 40 homers. He led the majors with 47 homers in 2009 and topped the NL with 42 in 2010.

Pujols left St. Louis in free agency in December 2011, signing a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Angels. He was waived by the Angels in May 2021, and then joined the Dodgers and hit 12 homers and drove in 38 runs in 85 games.