Braves DL McLouth, Recall Hicks To Fill In For Ailing Infante

With Nate McLouth still experiencing dizziness and headaches in the wake of being hit by a truck colliding with Jason Heyward in the outfield, the Braves decided to place him on the disabled list. They are calling up slick-fielding shortstop Brandon Hicks from AAA to take McLouth's roster spot. While they still have not said that Nate suffered a concussion, they are treating him very carefully nonetheless.

This seems like a wise course--you can't be too careful with head injuries. The worst thing we could do right now is rush Nate back like the Mets did with Ryan Church. For all the talk about "being tough" and playing through injuries, no one should ever be asked to play through a concussion. Church hasn't been the same player since, and I don't think it's a coincidence.

The Braves had initially planned on recalling Jordan Schafer from AAA to replace McLouth. In fact, they even announced that Schafer would be ready for Saturday's game in Minnesota. Despite his sub-par numbers at AAA, Schafer was going to be called up because he was the only healthy outfielder left on the Braves' 40-man roster (McLouth, Diaz, and Clevlen are all on the DL right now).

Those plans changed when Omar Infante fouled a ball off of his shin/ankle area in the 5th inning of last night's game. Infante will not need to go on the DL, but he will miss at least 1 game, and probably the rest of the Twins series. With Infante hurt, the Braves are left with only 1 healthy shortstop, so they decided to call up Hicks to be Yunel Escobar's backup at least until Infante is ready to go.

The 24-year-old Hicks is hitting just .211 / .294 / .292 with Gwinnett, but his stellar defense and pinch-running ability should make him a useful asset for as long as he is with the big club.

Schafer will continue to play every day in Gwinnett for the time being. When Infante is ready, the Braves may send Hicks back down and recall Schafer for OF depth. He would only be a 5th outfielder in that scenario, though; Frank Wren has said that Schafer would be used mainly as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner. Clearly the team thinks that Jordan is not all the way back from his wrist injury yet. The numbers back this up, as he is hitting just .213 / .253 / .270 with Gwinnett. Jordan is still only 23 years old, though, and has a good chance of helping the Atlanta team in 2011 and beyond.

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