ATLANTA -- It seemed like the stars might have aligned perfectly for Dansby Swanson to cap his first day back at the Major League level in storybook fashion. One on, two outs in the ninth with his team trailing -- this was the kind of moment in which he excelled during his memorable career at Vanderbilt University, before being taken by the D-backs with the first overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.
But the stage is now much different for the much-hyped Braves rookie shortstop, who was humbled by a demotion to the Minors two weeks ago and then was prematurely brought back to the Majors after Johan Camargo was injured on Tuesday night.
Swanson's time away proved to be mentally refreshing, but the challenge of succeeding at the big league level became a reality yet again when he concluded a hitless night with a groundout in that ninth inning at-bat that ended Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Phillies at SunTrust Park.
"It's just nice to get back to a comfortable setting and feel normal again," Swanson said. "It was fun, other than the outcome. But being back here was definitely pretty cool."
With Camargo on the disabled list and likely sidelined for at least two weeks, Swanson will once again handle the starting shortstop role he handled until just after the All-Star break. The Braves sent him to Triple-A Gwinnett on July 26 with the intent to give him all of the time necessary to fix the flaws that have been highlighted as he's hit .210/.284/.308 this year.
Swanson hit .237/.356/.342 during the 11 games with Gwinnett, but in the process he felt like he regained confidence and the patience necessary to produce better plate appearances on a more consistent basis.
"It was more about the thought process really," Swanson said. "Obviously I don't want to share that. But I'm just trying to put myself in the best position to succeed. I was able to learn my swing better and how it naturally works instead of trying something I might not be as comfortable with."
Swanson fell behind with a 0-2 count before he produced a third-inning comebacker and faced a 1-2 count before flying out in the fifth inning. With two on and one out in the seventh, he smoked a liner that found third baseman Maikel Franco's glove. Then in the ninth inning, he looked at an attractive 2-1 fastball before fouling off a 2-2 heater just ahead of his game-ending groundout to short.
"I feel a lot more comfortable and confident up there," Swanson said. "I just have a fresh new mindset about what I want to do. This is just the beginning and hopefully I can keep feeling good. I need to put together good at-bats because at the end of the day, that's all you can control. Whatever happens is the result, but the process to get there is the most important thing right now."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.