Braves option Vaughn Grissom, tab Orlando Arcia as Opening Day SS

The Atlanta Braves have apparently decided who will replace the departed Dansby Swanson as their starting shortstop. He’s not who most people expected him to be.

Vaughn Grissom and Braden Shewmake were optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday. That leaves utility infielder Orlando Arcia as the likely replacement for Swanson, who left the Braves in free agency in the offseason for a $177 million, seven-year contract with the Chicago Cubs.

In fact, Arcia is slated to be the Braves’ starting shortstop to begin the season, according to multiple reports.

Atlanta announced the moves involving Grissom and Shewmake after a 6-5 exhibition win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Grissom, widely expected to be Swanson’s successor, went 3-for-4 in the game with an RBI and a run scored, raising his batting average to .371 in 12 games this spring.

Arcia appeared in just one game at shortstop for the Braves last season, when he made 43 starts at second base and batted .244 in 67 total games. He hasn’t been a primary shortstop since starting 59 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season for the Milwaukee Brewers, who traded him to the Braves the following April.

Grissom, 22, made his major league debut last season by hitting .291 with five home runs and 18 RBIs in 41 games with the Braves. He started 39 games at second base and one at shortstop.

Arcia and Grissom were both needed at second base last year because Ozzie Albies missed much of the season with two injuries: a broken foot and a broken toe.

Swanson, the first overall pick in the 2012 draft, debuted with the Braves in 2016 and hit .255 in 827 games over eight seasons. He hit .277 while playing in all 162 games last season.

Shewmake, a first-round pick of the Braves in the 2019 amateur draft, is still looking to make his big league debut.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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