Today was my first of two days at the Braves Spring Training complex in Orlando and I spent the whole day at my favorite place in the world, the backfields that comprise the Minor League complex. It was kind of an odd day because the players were getting their physicals in the morning and didn't start their workout until around 1 pm, which is usually about when they're wrapping things up. Also, about half of the Minor Leaugers don't report until tomorrow, which is the first day of full squad workouts, so the fields were much more sparsely filled than I'm used to seeing them in Spring Training. The workout was pretty light, consisting of a few rounds of BP and some PFP, although apparently the pitchers got worked out pretty hard by the strength and conditioning coordinator, so there wasn't much to really comment on, but I'll pass along what was interesting. At least what I can remember of what was interesting.
Today was the first day that Edward Salcedo worked out with the team, possibly the first day he's been in the United States after signing the largest contract the Braves have ever given an international player. I was very surprised to find that Salcedo is fluent in English; you almost never meet a young man just over from the Domincan Republic who can speak more than a few words of English and I kind of embarrassed myself by greeting him in halting Spanglish. Fortunately Salcedo appears to be a Braves kind of player, otherwise known as an outstanding human being, and he didn't give me a hard time about it. He took all his grounders at shortstop, which is where he'll play, and looked very smooth out there in the little bit of infield practice I saw him take. It was hard to take too much out of his one round of BP, but he did have a bunt that would have been an easy single, seems to be able to smoke the ball up the middle, and has a fair amount of easy pop off his bat.
All the pitchers I talked to who were hurt and missed all of last season, including lefties Steve Kent, Brett DeVall, and Chad Rodgers and righty Dustin Evans, said they were 100 percent and throwing well. This could always be a bit of what royhobbs calls ITBSOHL, but I trust these guys enough to believe that they'll all be ready to go when the season starts, which is great news because each of those four is a legitimate prospect.
I actually got to talk to Jordan Schafer a little when he came over to visit the trainer's room. It doesn't sound like his wrist has healed in the way he'd hoped it would, but he's doing everything he can to help it get better, including making sure that he follows his doctors' advice to the letter. As always, Jordan's determination and positive attitude are blatantly impressive, so I'm really looking forward to seeing him healthy again.
As I said, there was only a bit of a workout and it wasn't that long, so there wasn't much else that really stood out. So, basically, nobody looked bad at routine drills, which is a good thing. Oh, and Kyle Rose is crazy fast. Like insanely fast. Hopefully I'll get to see some more in depth action tomorrow with the full squad workout. And since I know you all love pictures of our Braves, especially our new Braves, here's a shot of Arodys Vizcaino:
CB Wilkins is the author of the baseball novel Four-A.