As pleased as the Braves were to trade for second baseman Brandon Phillips and pay such a relatively small price for the former All-Star, they felt awful about the reason they needed to make the move: to replace injured Sean Rodriguez.
They had looked forward to big things from Rodriguez, the former Ray, after signing him to a two-year free-agent contract in late November, but the versatile veteran could miss most if not all of the season after sustaining a shoulder injury in a terrifying Jan. 28 car crash that left his wife with significant injuries and two of their children briefly hospitalized.
The Braves wouldn't comment on the status of Rodriguez or the nature of his injury, other than to offer their support and prayers for the well-being and recovery of the player and his family.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported Rodriguez would have shoulder surgery soon and miss three to five months for shoulder surgery, but the Journal-Constitution learned there was a chance Rodriguez would miss the entire season. When the accident occurred, it was first believed and reported that Rodriguez had escaped serious injury.
Rodriguez, 31, was coming off a career-best season with the Pittsburgh Pirates and would've been the Braves' primary second baseman to start the season while prospect Ozzie Albies continued his development at Triple A. The Braves were also excited about adding the highly regarded veteran's leadership in the clubhouse.
Phillips, 35, is now expected to handle second-base duties, with Jace Peterson also getting some starts at the position and serving in a utility role. The Braves traded two minor-league pitchers for Phillips and the Reds are paying all but $1 million of his $14 million salary in 2016, the final year of his contract.
After Phillips vetoed a trade to the Braves in early November, the Braves moved on and quickly signed Rodriguez to a two-year, $11.5 million deal. He played some at seven different positions during a breakout season in 2016, setting career-bests in average (.270), homers (18), RBIs (56), OBP (.349), slugging percentage (.510) and games played (140).
Rodriguez, his wife and two of their four children were injured in a Jan. 28 accident in Miami, his hometown, when the SUV that Rodriguez was driving was T-boned by a stolen police cruiser on a Saturday afternoon. The driver of the stolen car was killed and that vehicle burst into flames.
Rodriguez's wife, Giselle, posted on her Twitter account three days later that the family felt thankful to be alive and that she had a broken tibia and femur and would have wrist surgery. She indicated that only one of the children remained hospitalized at that time and that the child's injuries weren't severe.
There have been no updates since on the status of Rodriguez or family members, either from the team or the family.