Brandon Beachy made his second start of the Spring and it went a lot better than his first appearance did, as he got 1 strikeout while allowing 1 walk in his 3 scoreless innings of work. B.J. Upton also had a decent day at the plate, going 2-4 , including a double. The end result of the game was another, which is the second one of Spring Training for the Braves. Beachy talked with DOB after the game, which can be found in a video in this link.
Considering the contributions that the late Jim Fregosi made to both clubs, it seemed very appropriate that the two teams would join together before yesterday's game to pay tribute to the former World Seriees-winning manager. Braves President John Schuerholz and GM Frank Wren were 2 of a few Braves personnel who took part in the tribute to Fregosi.
Yesterday, 4 Braves pitchers who are currently recovering from various injuries all had throwing sessions, and each of them had positive reports following their sessions. New signings Gavin Floyd and Luis Vasquez threw BP, while Mike Minor and Jonny Venters threw off of a mound for the first time this spring.
Dave O'Brien's blog post focused on the bullpen and more specifically on how they'd deal with the loss of Eric O'Flaherty, who is currently with the Oakland A's. EOF made sure to note that the Braves bullpen would probably be fine without him, and DOB added onto that by saying that even if the Braves bullpen may miss the man, the unit should still be as good as they were last season which is when they compiled a MLB-best ERA and FIP of 2.46 and 3.13, respectively.
After a lamentable 2013 campaign in which he put up some absolutely terrible numbers, B.J. Upton has placed a priority on fixing his swing so that he can be in as good of a position as possible to return to decent form in 2014. The older Upton brother claimed that he hadn't been using his legs "since 2008" and figures that if he can correct the lower half of his body, then the rest of his body will come together to form a better stance. Here's hoping it works out, because anything would be an improvement over last season.
Not that these types of predictions are substantial when it comes to actual on-field prognostication, but if you're the gambling type then this is pretty big news for you. Bovada has recently revealed their betting lines for the 2014 season and the Braves are currently 20/1 odds to win it all. They are right behind the Oakland A's who are at 18/1 odds, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are currently 13/2 favorites to raise the Commissioner's Trophy in OCtober. For what it's worth, some people are of the persuasion that these things really don't matter.
League Wide News
Former Brave Rick Ankiel finally called it quits after what was definitely a unique career to say the least. After starting out as a pitcher, Ankiel famously flamed out during the 2000 postseason and after a failed return bid in 2004, gave up pitching to become an outfielder. 3 years later, he made his return to the Majors as an outfielder and 3 years years after that, he did this for the Braves during the 2010 postseason:
Grant Brisbee of our friends at SB Nation MLB recently ranked the 10 worst moves of the 2014 MLB offseason, in a follow-up to his same ranking for the 2013 offseason. I won't spoil it for you, but I'll give you a hint as to who is involved in the #1 move in this list: His last name rhymes with "Pfister."
After having a bit of a letdown 2013 for his standards, David Price is hoping that returning to old habits (such as doing some offseason work at Vanderbilt, something he neglected last offseason) could mean a return to the form that won him the Cy Young award.
During his start on Tuesday against the Braves, Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg actually debuted a new pitch: A slider. He threw the pitch 3 times in two innings of work against the Braves. Strasburg will be adding a slider to his current array, which includes a fastball, a nasty curveball, and changeup.
Despite not even throwing a pitch during camp and there being a very good chance that he won't throw a pitch in a Major League game this season, Mets pitcher Matt Harvey will still have a nice bit of pocket change to play with as he received a $60,000 bonus. His contract for 2014 actually has a provision where he receives bonuses for achievements in 2013, which means he gets $10,000 for being an All-Star and $50,000 for finishing 4th in Cy Young voting.
Kansas City Royals reliever and former starting pitcher Luke Hochevar suffered an unfortunate UCL sprain during his latest start against the Chicago White Sox and will be out until May. Hochevar will have to spend 3 weeks resting before beginning a rehab program. Hochevar's first season coming out of the bullpen was a good one, as he had a 1.92 ERA, 2.96 FIP, and a K/9 of 10.49 and looked to translate that into potentially rejoining the Royals' rotation as their fifth starter.
The historic Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Australia (which is also home to the Sydney Swans of the Australian Football League) is beginning to come together in its baseball configuration, which is making the old cricket stadium look more and more like a stadium that is ready for a different type of bat-and-ball sport. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks will play 2 regular season games at the SCG on the 22nd and 23rd.
Red Sox rookie SS Xander Bogaerts (who basically has the SS job sewn up for the Sox) has big expectations surrounding him, and many believe that he will be going into the 2014 season as a favorite to win the AL Rookie of the Year award. This won't count towards winning that award, but clearing two buildings with a home run is pretty cool.