Atlanta Braves fans were hoping to enjoy a marquee matchup with the San Diego Padres Tuesday night, but will be left a little unsettled after seeing their young star outfielder Michael Harris II leave the game with lower back tightness, according to Bally Sports: Braves.
Harris slid hard on a failed stolen base attempt in the bottom of the second inning. He toughed it out before being replaced by Sam Hillard in center field to begin the fourth. As of right now, the injury is not believed to be serious, with the 22-year-old reportedly being removed as a precaution. Time will tell if that is indeed the case.
Michael Harris II left tonight’s game as a precaution due to lower back tightness.
Harris appeared uncomfortable following this second-inning slide. pic.twitter.com/34SUhMATTh
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) April 7, 2023
In the meantime, Opening Day at Truist Park just got a lot less exciting and a tad more stressful. It can be easy for the 2022 National league Rookie of the Year to be overshadowed by the plethora of star power that the Braves boast, but he has quickly shown himself to be one of the most dynamic players in the game. Harris batted .297, hit 19 home runs to go with an impressive .514 slugging percentage while also stealing 20 bags.
Atlanta general manager Alex Anthopoulos stayed true to the organizational model and locked in Harris with a eight-year contract extension worth $72 million. He is yet another testament to the franchise's strong developmental track record and their savvy, proactive financial approach.
While the Braves went 5-1 on their opening six-game road trip, Harris has started off slowly. He is 5-for-23 with one RBI. However, the new MLB rules should work in the solid contact hitter's favor as the season goes on.
Hopefully Michael Harris II will get a chance to break out of his slump right away, assuming he can return to action this weekend.