The Atlanta Braves’ Michael Harris II Left the Padres Game Early — What Happened?


Apr. 7 2023, Updated 11:28 a.m. ET

Those Atlanta Braves fans who saw the 2022 National League Rookie of the Year disappear from the team’s winning game against the San Diego Padres on Thursday, April 6 are surely wondering what happened to Michael Harris II.

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During the game — the Braves’ home opener at Atlanta’s Trust Park — Michael was M.I.A. at the top of the fourth inning, with teammate Sam Hilliard taking his spot in center field. And after the game, fans found out why…

What happened to Michael Harris II?

The Braves said after Thursday’s game that Michael left the field early because of lower back tightness, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I’m glad he said something,” Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters at a post-game press conference. “This early, we want to take care of that and not let it linger or anything.”

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Some thought Michael’s slide at the bottom of the second inning was to blame for his back issue, with Bally Sports observing that the 22-year-old “appeared uncomfortable” after stealing second place and diving for the plate.

But Thursday’s back soreness came from when Michael hit his back on the wall during a play, Brian said, likely referring to a leap the athlete made at the wall during the Braves’ game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, April 5, per the Journal-Constitution.

The injury update is that Michael is “day to day”

Brian also said that Michael is “day-to-day,” as The Athletic reporter David O’Brien tweeted on Thursday night. Players listed as day-to-day — or “DTD” for short — are managing an injury that’s not severe enough for them to make the injured list, and they remain on a team’s active roster, according to Baseball Training World.

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CBS Sports speculated that Michael will return later in the weekend series against San Diego, assuming his back tightness isn’t a more serious problem. The Braves will face off against the Padres on Friday, April 7, again on Saturday, April 8, and one more time on Sunday, April 9.

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That said, back tightness was also to blame when Michael was scratched from the Braves’ March 24 spring-training game against the Boston Red Sox. Sam Hilliard took his spot that time, too, as reporter Mark Bowman tweeted at the time. Michael returned to the starting lineup one day later in the Braves’ game against the Minnesota Twins.

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Before Thursday’s game, Michael spoke enthusiastically about playing in his first home opener. “It’s my first one here, and it’s really special because I grew up a Braves fan, going to a lot of these games,” he told reporters in the locker room, per 11Alive News. “So to have my first home opener here, it’s really special.”

And in a recent interview with GQ Sports, the Georgia native reflected on his role-model status. “I know there’s a lot of kids who want to be in the position that I am now, so putting on the jersey every day I guess can be motivation for them,” he said. “I hope it gives them that extra push to know that they can potentially do the same things I did.”

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