The sight of BMac in pinstripes is still a test for the eyes and those who tried to deny the five time silver sluggers departure from Atlanta had to officially come to terms on Sunday afternoon as the Braves took on the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. It felt like a reunion before the game with McCann chit chatting with former coaches and even got a "free hug" from Freddie Freeman who held no grudges. McCann said the experience was surreal (read more about in the link) to play against a team he started playing for at the age of 18 and went 1-for-3 at the plate with a two-run double off of losing pitcher Atahualpa Severino. The Yankees won 7-4.
While he didn't throw a no-hitter the flame-throwing righty still turned heads in his fourth start in Grapefruit League play. His only run allowed in 4 innings of work came off of an Ichiro Suzuki RBI single in the bottom of the second inning. What was most impressive about the start was the jam he escaped in the first inning with two runners in scoring position, as he struck out three former Braves (Mark Texierria, McCann, and Kelly Johnson) to get out of the inning unscathed. McCann said his fastball is jumping out of his hand more than ever and it appeared so with the radar gun reading 97 m.p.h. at least one time and helped him strike out five Yanks. This spring Teheran has bolstered his chance of being the Opening Day starter, along with injuries, and has only allowed one run in 13 innings of work in which he has given up 11 hits and two walks while striking out a bakers dozen. His former catchers says he sees him turning into an ace, which Braves fans have had on their wish list for quite some time.
TC's own Ian Morris highlights an eventful day of jammed and bruised hands and fingers for two Braves starters in their game against the Yankees. It's never fun to get hit by a line drive or a foul tip, but that is what happened to Freddie Freeman and Ryan Doumit who both had to leave the game. Doumit's X-ray came back as negative, which is a good sign, and Freeman believes the swelling on his hand is no big deal and will not be like the hand injuries he's had in past seasons. The Braves can't afford any other serious injuries to their regulars or even bench players for that matter if they want to keep stride this season with the rest of the teams in the NL East this year, particularly the Marlins.
B.J. and Justin both drove in a single run from the plate against the Yankees with the younger brother delivering the big boom in the top off the 8th inning when he took Shane Greene over the left field fence on a no doubter for his first of the spring. The older brother though, who will be in the spotlight all season as he tries to bounce back from a hopefully forgettable season in 2013, remained hot at the plate with another multi hit day to give Bossman Jr. 11 hits in 37 at-bats this spring (.297 average). He also swiped his fourth base off of the Tanaka-McCann combo and has been caught stealing only once in 13 games.
So far the money the Yankees threw at Masahiro Tanaka seems to be well spent as he produced yet another solid outing this spring and struck out six batters in 4 1/3 innings while allowing five base runners and one run when Tommy La Stella doubled home fellow second baseman Dan Uggla. Tanaka could be a frontrunner for the ROY award in '14.
Check out Kathy Willens great photography from the Braves action against the AL East team that has won the most World Series (27) of any team in baseball.
With a jumping fastball that has been consistently in the mid-90's all the signs are pointing up on Julio Teheran being the Braves go-to guy this year, even though Mike Minor and Ervin Santana are projected to be very solid as well. Teheran could possibly have a 200+ strikeout season for the Braves as he makes the leap into his second full season in the Bigs. Last season right-handed batters only hit .204 against him (8th best in MLB).
League Wide News/Top News From Weekend
The 25-year-old pitcher who features a filthy, rather disgusting split-finger fastball, has given the media and baseball fans for the most part exactly what they wanted to see in Spring Training. So far he has pitched 9 1/3 innings and given up seven hits and two walks to go along with 10 strikeouts. His catcher on Sunday said that he had it all going against the Braves and said he is not a comfortable at-bat for anybody.
Four pitchers for the Miami Marlins on Saturday combined to throw a no-hitter against the Yankees on a night when former legend Mariano Rivera was honored. The crazy thing about the Grapefruit League is that the Marlins, who get to enjoy this Florida baseball weather all season long, have the lowest team ERA in spring training (2.84). Starter Brad Hand is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in 12 innings and has struck out 15 (8th most in ST).
ESPN's Jim Bowden reports that the Tigers shortstop could miss most of the season as he has been hobbled by shin splints. This leaves the ball club in a predicament as now Hernan Perez is slated to be their opening day shortstop, a career .256 minor league hitter.
After coming off a very strong sophomore campaign Patrick Corbin will go seek a second opinion on Monday about his first evaluation which discovered damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. This type of injury most of the time always leads to Tommy John surgery. Corbin was slated to be the Opening Day ace for the Arizona D-Backs against the Dodgers after winnings 14 games a season ago and finishing 22nd in the NL with a 3.41 ERA. This is why you wait until closer to the regular season to draft fantasy pitchers.
The southpaw reliever made the announcement via Twitter on Sunday afternoon that his playing days are now over due to another shoulder injury. The southpaw reliever who played for the Reds for most of his big league playing time and a brief stint with the Nationals had a solid career with a 3.74 ERA in nearly 200 innings. As Bill Baer notes he was extremely effective against sluggers Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder, who combined to hit just .071 against the crafty lefty.
Jacoby Ellsbury didn't play against the Braves on Saturday as he was scratched from the lineup because of tightness in his right calf. The Yankees are not seeking any medical attention right now other than rest for their starting center fielder that they gave a seven-year, $153 million contract to this offseason.
Grant Balfour highlights some of the Aussies that have made their impact in professional baseball in the U.S.. Peter Moylan who now pitches in relief for the Houston Astros is another player very proud of his home country.