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Braves Daily News Digest: 3/20

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

Braves News

Pitching Staff Has Rough Day Vs. Yankees

David Hale and the rest of the Braves pitchers took a bit of a beating yesterday during a 7-0 loss to the New York Yankees. Hale himself surrendered 3 runs, 5 hits, and 3 walks yesterday, with the rest of the staff adding 7 more walks, the latter of which irked Fredi Gonzalez a bit.

"Too late in camp to be walking people," Gonzalez said. "You can live with that early in camp, when some of these guys haven’t pitched. But some of these guys now have eight, nine, 10 appearances. You can’t be doing that.

Santana To Debut Today; Minor Pushed Back

The newest Atlanta Brave, Ervin Santana, will be making his Spring debut today as he begins to prepare to make his official debut sometime in early-mid April. Meanwhile, Mike Minor still has a couple more live BP sessions ahead of him, which means that he probably won't make his 2014 regular season debut until late April.

Medlen Undergoes Tommy John Procedure

Kris Medlen underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday, and now he begins the long journey towards recovering from surgery, except this time he'll be doing it for a second go around. It'll be much tougher for him to make it back this time, but he seems to be mentally ready to take the challenge head-on and we'll all be rooting for him to succeed. Meanwhile, news on Brandon Beachy should come later today.

Gattis Misses Wednesday's Game

Evan Gattis was a late scratch from yesterday's game due to what was officially diagnosed as a mild right quad strain. Gattis himself said that he would have played had this been a regular season game, so this appears to be purely precautionary.

Freeman Makes Quick Comeback From Bruised Thumb

Despite injuring his left thumb for the third time in 4 years, Freddie Freeman showed little-to-no concern over the injury as he made a very speedy return to the lineup on Wednesday after bruising it Sunday. Mark Bowman reports that there is still swelling around the thumb, but not enough to cause Freddie to miss any more time.

Hale Living The Dream With His Hometown Team

Braves beat writer Mark Bowman caught up with pitcher David Hale as he prepares for what should be a very intriguing season for the young pitcher. The Ivy League-educated Marietta native admitted that he felt that it was more likely that he'd be in the financial world rather than the baseball world. However, Hale continued down the path of baseball and is now living out the dream of pitching for his local club.

La Stella Reflects On Past As He Approaches Future

Meanwhile, Tommy La Stella's path to this point was a lot different than Hale's was. TLS shared a story with Bowman about how working a menial summer job with a donkey helped reignite his passion for baseball at a time when it was beginning to wane.

Fans Vote On August 13th Bobblehead

The Atlanta Braves are giving the fans the chance to vote on which player's bobblehead figure will be given out as a souvenir for the August 13th home game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The players you can vote on are Gattis, Jason Heyward, Craig Kimbrel, and Justin Upton. Voting ends on April 27th.

League Wide News

Chapman Takes Line Drive To The Head

In a very scary scene that took place during the 6th inning of last night's Reds-Royals tilt, Reds closer Aroldis Chapman took a Salvador Perez line drive to the head. Fortunately, Chapman never lost consciousness but he did suffer injuries above his left eye. Both teams agreed to call the game immediately after the incident in respect to Chapman.

Fister Scheduled To Make Return

New Washington Nationals pitcher Doug Fister has been dealing with elbow issues since March 2nd. Now, the former Tiger has been cleared to return to big league action on Saturday following a minor league appearance on Monday. Fister had an ERA and FIP of 3.67 and 3.26 for an fWAR of 4.6, which was good enough for Detroit to trade him to Washington for a ham sandwich and a bag of chips Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Krol, and a minor leaguer.

Diamondbacks Are Shopping Gregorius

In what appears to be a sign that shortstop Chris Owings has won the starting job, the Arizona Diamondbacks are reportedly making efforts to trade young shortstop Didi Gregorius. The Diamondbacks' pitching staff is currently in pretty rough shape (exacerbated by the fact that their ace Patrick Corbin's "forearm stiffness" turned out to be a torn UCL), and they'll be looking to get pitching help in exchange for for Gregorius. Here's noted pun enthusiast Mark L. Smith's thoughts on the situation:

Bedard Will Opt-Out Of Contract Before Pitching In Minors

Rays pitcher Erik Bedard is currently on a minor league deal, battling for the final spot in the Rays rotation. However, if he doesn't make the rotation, Bedard made it known that he is willing to opt out of his deal and try to catch on elsewhere. The 35-year-old pitcher will be entering his 10th season in the majors, whether it's with the Rays or not.

Rangers Might Put Ogando In The Bullpen

Rangers pitcher Alexi Ogando has been struggling mightily this Spring, to the point where he had his coaches thinking that he was hurt. Because of this, there are reports that Ogando may have to return to the bullpen, where he previously had a role as a set-up man for the Rangers. Ogando made 18 starts last season with an ERA of 3.11 but a FIP of 4.36.

Tigers Targeting Potential Replacements

The Tigers are currently going through a bit of a rough patch when it comes to injuries, and it appears that they are going to address those woes by going to the market. The Tigers are looking for left field help after Andy Dirks went down to injury, and FOX's Ken Rosenthal is reporting that our own Tyler Pastornicky was one of the names bandied around as a possible replacement for injured SS Jose Iglesias.

Royals Coach Makes Majors After 36 Years In Minor Leagues

In a longread that will be featured in ESPN The Magazine, ESPN's Chris Jones takes a look at the life and career of Mike Jirschele. Jirschele has spent nearly 4 decades as a player and coach in the minor leagues and after coaching most of the current Royals squad on the farm, he is finally making the jump to the big time as a bench coach for the Royals. It's a lengthy piece, but it's definitely worth your time to give it a read.