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The Braves have come out of the gates a little slow this spring, dropping their first three exhibition matchups. Fortunately for the club, most of the struggles have come in the later innings once the organizational filler guys get their shot on the mound and in the field.
And, hey, it's not like these games really mean anything.
On Sunday, Jason Heyward hit a bomb to center field for his first long ball of the year. Heyward joined Evan Gattis and Joey Terdoslavich as the only other Braves to hit a homer during the opening weekend of spring training. Other than that, not a whole lot happened in a 9-2 loss to the Pirates. B.J. Upton went 2-for-3 with a double to record his first unofficial hit as a Brave.
In another bit of good news, both Julio Teheran and Sean Gilmartin impressed in two innings apiece. Neither pitcher gave up a run, and other than a walk and single, Pittsburgh didn't get much of anything going in the first four frames.
Teheran would have to completely collapse for him to lose out on the fifth spot in the rotation, but it is good to see Gilmartin throwing the ball well early in the spring.
Now to the links...
GM Frank Wren: Braves improved since 94-win '12 campaign | braves.com: News
Last year's Atlanta Braves finished with 94 wins. That number was not enough to win the NL East, but Frank Wren believes this year's team is capable of more.
Prospects Teheran, Gilmartin strong in spring debut | braves.com: News
Julio Teheran is the prohibitive favorite to begin the season as the fifth starter in Atlanta's rotation. But the ever-steady Sean Gilmartin will spend the next month attempting to show the Braves he could fill that role if Teheran stumbles.
Teheran confident; Schafer has big day | www.ajc.com
When he gave up six homers in two wind-blown innings against Detroit in his 2012 spring debut, Julio Teheran was competing with three others for a spot in the Braves starting rotation.
Heyward, B.J. Upton each record first hit of spring | braves.com: News
It did not take Jason Heyward and B.J. Upton long to avoid the possibility of experiencing a frustrating drought at the beginning of spring. Heyward hit his first home run of the Grapefruit League season and Upton recorded his first hit in a Braves uniform during Sunday's 9-2 loss to the Pirates at McKechnie Field.
MLB - Ranking the strength of early-season National League schedules - ESPN
The Braves should get a good jump out of the gate with plenty of early meetings against Chicago, Miami, Colorado and the LOLMets.
Evan Gattis Impresses Braves Brass - Minor League Ball
Some evaluators really don't like Gattis, focusing on his age (he turns 27 in August) and defensive limitations. I understand that position, but there are things to like about Gattis that we should not overlook.