Braves rookie lands on DL after pregame ritual goes wrong

Atlanta Braves infielder Johan Camargo was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday, one day after suffering the strangest on-field injury we’ve seen in quite some time.

The 23-year-old rookie was running on the field to take his spot at shortstop before the first inning of Atlanta’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies. As part of his pregame ritual, Camargo bent down to grab some dirt before hopping over the first-base foul line. In the process, Camargo lost his footing and made an awkward landing. He then tumbled to the ground holding his right knee.

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At first glance, one might have thought Camargo tripped over the foul line itself. Before anyone had time to consider chuckling though, the mood turned to concern over a young player’s season ending and career path potentially being altered over a freak accident.

“At the moment, I was worried, so I just immediately began to pray, hoping it wasn’t a more severe injury,” Camargo admitted after the game. “I knew I was hurt and I was just hoping for the best.”

Fortunately, an MRI revealed there was no structural damage done to Camargo’s knee. The official diagnosis was a bone bruise. The injury will cost Camargo at least a couple weeks, but that’s a far better outcome than what appeared to be inevitable as he was helped off the field.

Braves rookie infielder Johan Camargo is helped off the field after injuring his knee running on the field before Tuesday’s game against the Phillies. (AP)

“When you look at it, I was thinking a lot worse,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said later. “I’m thinking the kid’s probably going to be done for the year. They said they heard a pop. I’m thinking he tore something and needed surgery. But they did the MRI and all and they said it’s just a bone bruise.”

It was an odd twist of fate for the Braves rookie on many levels. Of course we know how superstitious baseball players in particular tend to be. Many players in the past have made it a point to hop over the foul line in an effort to avoid bad luck. Rarely does the ritual itself go wrong, but in Camargo’s case that’s exactly what happened.

Fortunately, it wasn’t a worst-case scenario. The impressive young infielder should have a chance to return and build on the success he’s enjoyed this season, which includes posting a strong .292 average.

In the meantime, the injury opens the door for former No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson to return and perhaps reclaim his position full-time. Swanson was demoted to Triple-A Gwinnett on July 27 after hitting just .213 on the season. The demotion served two purposes. The first being to help Swanson get on track. The other being to open up playing time for Camargo. If Swanson shows improvement over the next 10 days, then Camargo’s misstep could ultimately impact his playing time.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!