Preseason baseball is officially here for the defending NL East champions as pitchers and catchers reported Thursday to Champion Field in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. For a franchise that has always built itself up around great pitching, the Braves are very excited about the upcoming season with a very young but talented and poised staff that led the majors in earned run average last season.
While the Braves will most likely be among the top three youngest teams at the start of the season they are not worried about lack of leadership this year in the clubhouse. These days leaders for ball clubs can be the youngest player on teams, such as Mike Trout for the Angels acknowledges one Braves starter.
On a rather cool day at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, with temperatures in the mid-60's, the Braves brought out their new spring training hats. The photo gallery put up by AJC's Alex Brandon captures Craig Kimbrel and Gavin Floyd rocking their new gear. By the way they both prefer the curved bill look.
AJC's David O'Brien reports that Braves official Jim Fregosi, a well respected scout, has been taken off life support at a Miami hospital after suffering multiple strokes Sunday on a Braves alumni cruise in the Cayman Islands. Former MLB pitcher Rob Dibble shared his strong thoughts of the former big league skipper on twitter.
Matt Isenberg for Iceman Sports gets a one-on-one interview with the 28-year old starter who enters this season as the teams potential ace. Medlen looks forward to taking his son to Disney World for the first time while down in Florida.
The Braves landed one of the seven game slots ESPN has to televise spring training games. Tim Kurkjian, the random stats legend, and Doug Glanville will have the call of the Tigers-Braves game on March 25 at 1 p.m.
In Mark Bowman's blog he believes that the battle for the final two spots in the Braves bullpen this spring could be affected by Freddy Garcia's March 25 opt-out clause. If he doesn't make the Opening Day roster he says he will not play in the minors. He and Alex Wood will battle for the fifth starting spot. J.R. Graham, Luis Vasquez, Juan Jaime, and Ryan Butcher will also be fighting for roster spots.
While Gavin Floyd wishes he could be back for Opening Day, the veteran right handed pitcher still is tabbed for a mid-May after undergoing Tommy John surgery last season. The veteran has a solid chance to join the starting rotation, but at the same time Alex Wood might have solidified that slot by then.
Position players for the Braves took hacks Thursday on front toss from Braves coaches. No whiffs just yet folks.
AP sports writer Charles Odum discusses what he believe fans should take note of before the Braves take on the Detroit Tigers to start Grapefruit League play on Feb. 26.
All is well with the Yankee captain in his big decision to make 2014 his farewell tour. Jon Morosi thinks Hanley Ramirez could be the next in line to replace the hole at shortstop in New York that Jeter will leave next year.
Perhaps the best all around player in baseball, Trout is hoping to sign for the big bucks before the season starts. Fans in Anaheim believe in Trout Dynasty.
Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz and pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne showed off their talents for over 20 different scouts from around the league. Diaz is a highly touted shortstop and could make a choice of where to sign within the next week.
The home of the 12th man is at an all-time high right now that will most likely carry throughout baseball season. Robinson Cano, Felix Hernandez, and Fernando Rodney headline a team with actual playoff hopes this season. They did receive bad news however, as Franklin Gutierrez will miss all of '14 with a reoccurring illness.