Braves Daily News Digest: 3/14

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Your morning/afternoon stop for all the latest Braves news and other stories around the league.

Blanked By the Cardinals

Hits were at a premium (3) while strikeouts came in large numbers (14) for the Braves lineup against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday afternoon. Lance Lynn stymied hitters at the plate and struck out Chris Johnson to end the fourth inning and his day of work from the mound where he struck out 10 batters from. The 11-0 loss for the Braves brings their Grapefruit League record to 6-10 with just a little over two weeks before they travel to play in Milwaukee (March 31-April 2).

Garcia Ready To Step Up Role

Just a week ago the biggest question facing the franchise was whether who would win the fifth starting pitching slot between young lefty Alex Wood and the veteran Freddy Garcia, who coined the phrase "Just Make Pitch". With three starters down right now he figures to be a part of the Braves four-man rotation to start the season, as they won't need a No. 5 starter until April 12. Garcia gave up three earned runs against a solid hitting team and threw 73 pitches (44 strikes).

Breaking In

For the first time in spring training Evan Gattis caught back-to-back games, as the season continues to lurk closer. The legend continues of El Oso Blanco.

Bullpen Spot Not Solidified For Sidearmer

Cory Gearrin had an outing to forget against the Cardinals as he gave up five hits and five earned runs. Gearrin will continue to compete with the likes of Ryan Butcther, Luis Vasquez, Juan Jaime, and Gus Schlosser for the final bullpen spots with the club. First cuts will be coming soon and the team will start narrowing down the competition.

5th Starter

TC's Ben Duronio lists his first four in the rotation as Teheran, Minor, Santana, and Wood. See who he thinks is best fit for the fifth spot in the rotation to start the season. David Hale, a candidate for the fifth spot, will start today against Tampa Bay at Champion Stadium.

Braves Fantasy Preview

Si.com talks fantasy baseball and has Evan Gattis as its breakout candidate this year and think he can hit 30 home runs and drive in a large number of his teammates hitting in the cleanup spot this season.On average El Oso Blanco's home runs traveled 408.3 feet in distance last year.

Blue Jays Disappointed Not To Land Santana

At a point in time the Toronto Blue Jays were almost a sure fit for Ervin Santana. They had offered near the same amount that the Braves had and were the first major team to throw a glamorous contract at the 31-year old righty and had many players lobbying to get his talents, including Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. However, the top free agent pitcher chose to come to Atlanta over going across the borders leaving the Canadians a little bit heartbroken.

Simmons DH?

Yesterday slick fielding Andrelton Simmons appeared in the Braves lineup as the designated hitter prompting Simba to make jokes about his power numbers needing to incline. Nonetheless, he is expected to take the next step in becoming an even better threat at the plate this season and should see his average climb considering the rate at which he puts balls into play.

TLS Taking Batting Practice

If you haven't seen the sweet stroke of the Braves second base prospect yet here is DOB's video of him taking hacks in BP the other day.

Medlen Receives Tremendous Support From Teammates And Fans

Hearing Kris Medlen in his interview with 680 The Fan would make anyone tear up a little. Throughout the interview the 28-year old frontline rotation starter got emotional and choked up as he admitted he knew that it was going to be Tommy John surgery again while walking off the field after throwing a fastball he rated at a 10 on the pain level. However, his teammates and fan support have been incredible and he says having a wife and child along with those fans and teammates will help him the second time around.

Breakout Year In Store For Heyward

Jason Heyward has already shown signs throughout his career he can be one of the top players in the league at times and Fangraphs Scott Spratt lists the hotshot right fielder as his number one bold prediction for the 2014 season. He believes that Heyward will put up remarkable numbers and will hit .295/.415/.540 with 30 home runs, 110 runs, 70 RBIs, and 25 steals. He also predicts that Ervin Santana will have an ERA over 5.00.

League Wide News

Royals Expect Big Things In '14

Not only do the Kansas City Royals look to continue to be contenders this season after finishing 10 games above .500 last year, but Alex Gordon figures to have a huge year at the plate and will now be a run producer for his team after hitting leadoff in three of the last four seasons.

Rollins In Hot Water In Philly

Over the past few seasons Jimmy Rollins has seen his fair share of benching for not hustling in the city of brotherly love and he believes that he did something to frustrate Ryne Sandberg to the point he benched him the last three games. Rollins is slated to start today at SS though and his manager acts like everything is golden between the two.

Gallardo To Get Opening Day Nod Against Braves

For the fifth straight season the Brewers will give Yovani Gallardo the ball in their first game of the season when they play host to the Atlanta Braves on March 31. Gallardo has been a solid piece in their rotation, but last season was his first year with an ERA above 4.00 (4.18) in his seventh year in the league.

Profar Wisdom

The setbacks continue for Texas Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar, as he had four wisdom teeth removed and will be sidelined 3-5 days on top of his shoulder injury that has kept him out.

Beckett's Unusual Injury

Be careful not to get your thumb stuck in a door or you could sprain it like Josh Beckett did the other day.The veteran was upset by his run of bad luck.

Good News For Mariners Young Gun

One of the top prospects in baseball and AL Rookie of the Year candidate Taijuan Walker has resumed throwing without any pain after being shut down last month to shoulder inflammation. Walker will be a solid piece in the Mariners rotation to back up King Felix.

Price Gets Nod For First Game Of Season

As expected David Price will toe the rubber first on Opening Day for Tampa Bay this season. This offseason many thought he would change uniforms, but he remains happy down in St. Petersburg.

Cano Scorching Hot

Robinson Cano has shown Seattle a glimpse of what he is going to bring to their offense this season and they love every bit of it as he is 14-for-23 (.609) with six RBIs.

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