Slugging 2B Ozzie Albies activated from injured list by MLB-leading Braves

DENVER (AP) — The Atlanta Braves activated All-Star second baseman Ozzie Albies from the injured list Monday ahead of a three-game series at Colorado.

The team also called up right-handed pitcher Darius Vines from Triple-A Gwinnett. Lefty Jared Shuster was sent back to the minors after a rough start over the weekend in San Francisco, along with infielder Vaughn Grissom.

Albies was hitting .267 with 28 homers, 90 RBIs and 11 stolen bases when he went on the 10-day IL with a left hamstring strain on Aug. 14.

His return solidifies the most prolific lineup in the majors with the Braves cruising toward their sixth straight NL East title. They have the best record in the majors and a shot at eclipsing the single-season mark for most homers by a team.

“It’s great,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Ozzie is a big part of the success that we’ve had this year. And it’s hard to replace a guy like that with the total package that he brings. When you’ve got 90 RBIs, and hitting in that lineup and the way he plays defense, so it’s always great to have Ozzie on the field. We’re a better team when he’s out there with us.”

The 25-year-old Vines, one of Atlanta's top pitching prospects, is set to make his big league debut after going 2-2 with a 2.86 ERA in five starts at Gwinnett. He had 25 strikeouts and 11 walks in 28 1/3 innings with the Braves' top affiliate.

Atlanta has struggled to solidify the bottom of its rotation after an injury knocked out Kyle Wright, a 21-game winner last season, for most of 2023.

Shuster (4-3) surrendered four runs in 4 2/3 innings in an 8-5 loss at San Francisco on Sunday. The 2020 first-round draft pick has a 5.26 ERA in 10 starts with the Braves.

Wright has begun a rehab assignment in the minors and could rejoin the Braves before the playoffs. In the meantime, Vines appears to be next up to fill the opening in the rotation behind Spencer Strider, Max Fried, Bryce Elder and Charlie Morton.

Grissom played in four games with two starts while Albies was out, going 3-for-10 with two RBIs. Nicky Lopez got most of the starts at second base.