State Mutual Stadium has seen its share of big leaguers through the years, but it’s not every day that two MLB players are in town at the same time.
That’s what Rome Braves fans got to see for a couple of days with Atlanta Braves’ players Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley taking part in rehab stints with the team.
Swanson joined the Braves’ Class A affiliate on Thursday and completed his assignment Saturday with Rome’s 4-3 win over the Columbia Fireflies, while Riley, who arrived in Rome on Friday, was expected to complete his Sunday.
Swanson finished his assignment 4-for-10 with a walk and an RBI. He had been out of action since bruising his right heel during a July 23 loss to the Royals, and he said it felt good to get back out on the field after conditioning himself to get back into playing shape.
“Just being able to get back and play, it was great,” Swanson said. “I didn’t have any issues. I was able to play three games, so it was a success for sure.”
The shortstop, who has 17 home runs and 57 RBIs for Atlanta this season, said he’s feeling better after the injury and hopes to be back with Atlanta soon. He said he plans to leave Sunday to join the team for their makeup game against the Colorado Rockies in Denver on Monday.
“It’s doing pretty good,” Swanson said about his injured foot. “At the end of most days, just being on your feet in general makes everybody sore, but my ability to bounce back has been good, and that’s definitely paid dividends for me.”
After going 0-4 in his first game with Rome on Friday, Riley started Saturday’s contest with two straight groundouts before ripping a single over the head of Columbia pitcher Colin Holderman in the bottom of the fifth inning. The hit was relief to the outfielder, who has 17 home runs and 45 RBIs on the season.
“The swing is slowly starting to come back,” Riley said. “The biggest thing in coming back from an injury is getting that timing down, getting that comfort in the box. To get that last hit, that was good as far as confidence.”
Riley, who suffered a right knee sprain Aug. 8, was expected to play Sunday when Rome finished its series against the Fireflies at 2 p.m.
Riley said he only expects to improve and expects to play with the Braves AAA team in Gwinnett on Monday against Norfolk.
“You can go from playing every day and being comfortable to being out five, six, seven days and you feel like you’ve lost it,” Riley said. “To kind of get that confidence back in day two, that feels really good. I still have five, six, seven days of rehab, but I feel like it’s only going to get better. The swing and everything else is just going to continue to improve.”