Spring Training games officially kicked off yesterday, and the Braves were one of 12 teams (not including the Marlins, who played against the University of Miami yesterday) to play yesterday. Unfortunately, the Braves were on the losing end of things after the Tigers rallied from behind in the top of the 9th to score two runs off of Shae Simmons. The game was called due to rain with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th because it's Spring Training. On a positive note, Freddy Garcia started the game with 2 perfect innings before exiting, and Dan Uggla was 2-for-2 as he attempts to win the coveted Grapefruit League Batting Crown.
Starter Kris Medlen will make his Spring Training debut later today as the Braves head up to Lakeland, FL to face the Tigers for a second consecutive day. Meanwhile, Dave O'Brien reports that none of the starting infielders will make the trip, including Evan Gattis.
The younger Upton Brother, Justin Upton, was a late scratch for Wednesday game due to a sore right side. Upton was scratched from the game as a precautionary measure and was listed as day-to-day. He will miss tomorrow's game against the Tigers.
Former MLB veteran and Fox Sports One analyst Gabe Kapler is currently doing a series on Fox Sports Live where he is ranking the top 10 teams in baseball as we head into the 2014 season. After giving the Rangers the #10 spot, Kapler has slotted the Braves into the #9 spot. Kapler was not too impressed with the new faces in town but did give the Braves an "A" ranking when it came to pitching.
Braves beat writer Mark Bowman had a chance to talk with catcher Evan Gattis as he reflected on the long, winding, sometimes dark but eventually worthwhile path that led El Oso Blanco to finally reaching the big leagues. Gattis also revealed that he is ready to write a new chapter in that story, one that includes him trying to reach his goal of being "the best catcher in baseball."
DOB talked to Dan Uggla after he finished his day 2-for-2, expressing to O'Brien that he's "excited" and that he "feels like me again," and this was before he even took the field today. After struggling so badly in 2013 that he missed the postseason roster, it's very clear that Uggla is aspiring to rebound from a terrible season and try to reverse a trend of regression.
After being voted by managers and coaches as the NL Gold Glove and by the fans as the NL Platinum Glove, SS Andrelton Simmons actually received both trophies today. Simmons took a few photos with the hardware, and even had to bring in the services of a white bear to help him hold up his Platinum Glove since it was so heavy.
Spring Training is officially underway and DOB is on it as he gets comments from Jason Heyward, Kris Medlen, and Dan Uggla as he attempts to gauge their readiness as they begin physical preparations for Opening Day on the 31st of March.
Former longtime Braves catcher Javy Lopez received word yesterday that he (and two others) will be inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame this season. Lopez was a big cog in the machine that was the Braves' divisional dynasty during his 12 years with the team from 1992 to 2003, which is when he ended his tenure with the Braves with a bang with a line of .328/.378/.687 with 43 HRs and 170 wRC+. He will be joined by former trainer David Pursley and former Boston Brave (and defensive maestro) Rabbit Maranville, who currently has a plaque at Cooperstown.
League Wide News
In what could be considered as a gold-plated bridge towards the promised land of money trees, Angels OF Mike Trout signed a 1-year, $1 million contract with the Angels. The deal is actually a record breaker for pre-arbitration contracts, and judging by the absolutely outstanding performances that he has put in on the field, it's well deserved.
In spite of that good news for the Angels, bad news reared its ugly head in Halo Land as OF Josh Hamilton left camp today on crutches after injuring his calf. He will miss two weeks of Spring Training. Hamilton is looking to bounce back from a bit of a disappointing debut season in Los Angeles 2013 in which he tallied an fWAR of 1.9, down from 2 consecutive 4 fWAR seasons in Texas.
Hot on the heels of news of Mike Minor's unfortunate winter procedure comes news that Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez will miss his turn through the rotation this Spring due to an ingrown hair that turned into a nasty infection on his shin. Yikes.
Normally when you hear that a player has to go see Dr. James Andrews, you also prepare to read the headline "______ will be out for _____". Fortunately for Jaime Garcia and the Cardinals, this was not the case as Dr. Andrews diagnosed Garcia with shoulder inflammation, which is relatively very good news. Garcia received a cortisone injection and will be back in camp by Thursday.
Unfortunately for the Mets, Jon Niese may not receive the same good news that Jaime Garcia and the Cardinals received, as Niese is reportedly dealing with more shoulder troubles. Niese dealt with a rotator cuff injury last season, and this is a troubling sign heading into this season.
As long as you aren't a former college or professional player, if you can hit a BP homer in Petco Park, the San Diego Padres will give you two season tickets. Good thing they moved in the fences last season.
Three former Minor League players have filed suit against Major League Baseball for back pay, claiming that minor leagues are members of the "working poor." Our friends at Minor League Ball actually talked with anonymous minor league baseball players in order to help shed more light on the situation at hand.
Instead of going to Disneyworld following winning the Super Bowl, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson will instead realize another dream as he will be in uniform with the Rangers next monday. In addition to joining the Rangers in uniform for their game against the Indians, Wilson will participate in workouts as well.