Freddy Garcia pitched 3 perfect innings in his latest spring outing, which served as another solid effort in his spring campaign to seal down a spot in the Braves rotation.
Bernie Pleskoff of MLB.com is currently reviewing each team's top prospects and how they figure to fill in the big league club's needs, and yesterday Pleskoff took a look at the Braves' top prospects. He examines players who figure to contribute in the short term (such as Tommy La Stella, Tyler Pastornicky, and David Hale), as well as the long term (focusing on right-handers Mauricio Cabrera and Lucas Sims). Pleskoff also put his eye on C Christian Bethancourt, who he projects as the Braves' starting catcher for 2016.
Speaking of prospects, MLBPipeline.com also took the time to rank who they felt were the Top 20 prospects in the Braves farm system, with Lucas Sims coming in at #1 on their list and Christian Bethancourt being the top position player. In the above link, mlb.com reporter Johnathan Mayo interviewed Braves Assistant GM John Coppolella on the state of the Braves minor league system.
Former Braves pitcher Steve Avery is at Spring Training as a "Special Pitching Instructor," so naturally, this gave AJC Braves beat writer Dave O'Brien an opportunity to sit down and talk to one of the members of the 1995 World Series Champions. The two talk about Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine's impending inductions into the Hall of Fame, memories of pitching with those two and John Smoltz, and Avery also opens up on his thoughts on young pitcher Alex Wood.
Although he was glad for the experience of the World Baseball Classic, closer Craig Kimbrel admitted that he preferred the "laid back" approach of Spring Training over the pressure of preparing for and pitching in the WBC. Kimbrel admitted that he felt a little "rushed" last season, which may have been a small factor in K% dropping to 38% in 2013 after recording an absolutely obscene K% of 50.2% in 2012.
Braves beat writer Mark Bowman tweeted out a small bit of news yesterday that involved 4 Braves pitchers who are currently making their way back from injury. Gavin Floyd (elbow) and Luis Vasquez (lat) will be throwing live BP, while Jonny Venters (Tommy John recovery) and Mike Minor (let's not relive it) will be throwing off of a mound today.
League Wide News
In 2013, Padres OF Cameron Maybin dealt with injuries that resulted in the centerfielder only playing 14 games. 2014 is already of to a bad start, as Maybin tore his left bicep tendon making a diving catch yesterday. It's a bad blow for the Padres, as Maybin has proven to be a good defender (21 DRS, UZR of 13.1 over his career) when healthy.
After having a bit of a down season (2.92 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 8.32 K/9), Phillies closer Johnathan Papelbon revealed that he had been dealing with a hip issue in 2013. He also admitted that he feels he doesn't pitch as well when his team isn't in a playoff race. Considering the current state of the Phillies and the rest of the division, he may have to get used to that feeling.
Red Sox P Jake Peavy is going to miss at least one Grapefruit League start after suffering a lacerated finger in a freak accident that involved a knife and a fishing rod. Yes, seriously. From the man himself:
"I promised my little boy I would take him fishing, so we went to Bass Pro and we bought us some rods and reels that were combo'd. I was trying to cut the wire tie that was holding them together. Using the knife with my right hand and holding the rod with my left, and when I broke the wire tire, it struck the knuckle pretty good."
And that's why you don't mess with sharp objects, folks.
After a throwing session that saw him just barely get over 81 mph in throwing velocity, free agent pitcher Johan Santana is reportedly close to signing a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles. No one is expecting Santana to be a world-beater for any team that he signs with, but he could provide a bit of depth for the Orioles if he is able to complete his rehab and return by the summer.
After announcing that he would be "reporting" to Rangers camp last week, Super Bowl-winning QB and Texas Rangers Rule 5-draftee Russell Wilson finally arrived to camp to work out and speak to the baseball team. Wilson did footwork drills and took grounders, but didn't do BP.
For the first time during Spring Training, Instant Replay was utilized and there were two separate instances of it that occurred within minutes of each other, with one occurring during a nationally televised game between the Angels and Diamondbacks. Both instances took around 2 minutes to resolve (with both calls being upheld), and you'd figure that that time will get cut down as the umpires get used to the system. It also figures to be a more productive use of time than seeing managers spend that time arguing with the umpires, as well.