Swanson went 3-for-6 with a double and two RBIs to raise his average to .357, but a 10-5 Atlanta lead going to the bottom of the eighth inning turned into a 14-10 deficit heading to the ninth and an eventual loss at Wrigley Field.
“Things always seem to happen when you are going good,” said Swanson during the Braves’ Chop Fest on Saturday at SunTrust Park. “With it being cold, the combination of the day and the rain and being outside that long — the duration (of the game) didn’t help either.”
While the Braves’ fortunes did not seem to suffer after the loss, Swanson’s health did. The shortstop went on the disabled list in May with a fatigued left wrist and was never really the same.
For the year, Swanson hit .238 with a career-high 14 homers. He finished the season on a low note, hitting just .151 over his final 18 games, and then missed the National League Division Series against the Dodgers because of a partially torn ligament in his left hand.
In November, Swanson underwent wrist surgery performed by team physician Dr. Gary Lourie, who removed the loose impediment Swanson first felt in Chicago.
“It was a loose body of cartilage that built up and balled up over time,” Swanson said. “It was the size of a lima bean. It was nasty.”
The description of what the cartilage would do at any given time wasn’t much better.
“Whenever I’d move in a certain way, it would slide in and out of my joint and really mess with my hand,” said Swanson, who is preparing for his third full season with the Braves. “It was like if you would slam a wedge doorstop into a door. That’s what it was like.”
Now, the 24-year-old former Marietta High School standout is looking forward to getting back into a usual every-day routine. This week, he took his first batting practice swings off a tee, which is just one of many steps he will slowly maneuver between now and opening day.
“I’m doing good,” Swanson said. “(The operation) is going to make a big difference. I’m definitely happy I got it done.
“Rehab, it’s not slow in a bad way, but just what I need. It’s going to be a slow progression. A conservative approach. There’s no need to be in midseason form the second week of spring training.”
As Swanson begins preparation for the season, another thing he will have to prepare for is a new third baseman starting next to him. Swanson said he is looking forward to working with Josh Donaldson, the former American League MVP the Braves signed to a one-year, $23 million contract.
“He’s a tremendous player,” Swanson said. “I do know he loves playing, plays hard and plays with passion. Anybody that plays like that I would love to have on my team.
“When I heard about (the deal), I was very, very excited, because I know what he can bring on the field, off the field. He can be a real difference-maker for us.”