The biggest news for the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday came in an off the field variety as the team announced that Andruw Jones and John Schuerholz would be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place at a luncheon on August 19 with an on-field ceremony to follow that evening.
That Jones is not already in the team's Hall of Fame has been a point of contention for many Braves fans over the last couple of seasons but he had intentions of continuing his career. Jones made it official on Wednesday and retired from the game at age 38.
"He deserves a lot of credit" for the division-title run, said Braves president and former general manager John Schuerholz, who’ll be inducted into the team’s hall of fame on Aug. 19 alongside Jones. "You saw him play defense the way only he could play. He could play in shallow, go into the gaps and made catches, go up against the wall, throw guys out at bases, had great instincts – he was a full player. He was a great player.
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Jeff Francoeur arrived at spring training with the Braves other position players on Wednesday and is looking to revitalize his career in the place where it all began. Francoeur talked about returning to the Braves on Wednesday with MLB.com's Mark Bowman.
"I think I've learned a lot," Francoeur said. "I was 25 [years-old] the last time I was here. I've been through a lot. I'm excited. I'm confident in the player that I am now. I know the things I can do and the things I can't do. So I don't think there is any pressure anymore to feel like I have to do this or do that."
Portuondo was one of six players to be thrown off the Cuban National team for attempting to defect. He has not pitched professionally since the 2013 season and is slated to begin his career with Atlanta at Double-A Mississippi.
A lot of eyes are on Freddie Freeman as spring training begins for the Atlanta Braves. While his health is the primary focus, Freeman saw his name mentioned in a lot of trade rumors before GM John Coppolella came out publicly and said that the team had no intention of moving him. Freeman talked about those rumors and his outlook for the 2016 season with 92.9 "The Game's Grant McAuley.
"Very reassuring," Freeman said of Coppolella’s stance. "When you sign a long term deal and all of a sudden start seeing your name scrolling in some rumors, he called me right away and told me ‘don’t listen to those – those are just rumors.’ You know, everybody’s name gets thrown around. Even Mike Trout’s [name] probably gets thrown around, but the Angels shut those down real quick. Every time the rumors started to come back up, [Coppolella] would come back and just shut them down real fast."
Our own Kyle Parmley profiles minor league catcher Joseph Odom, who is one of several catchers in camp for the Braves, for the Vestavia Voice.
The dream has been realized, yet there is still so much to accomplish.
Joseph Odom, a former Vestavia Hills High School catcher who graduated in 2010, has been invited to spring training with the Atlanta Braves.
"It’s a dream, for sure," he said. "It’s definitely one of the goals I had coming into this year."
Nick Swisher may end up being the odd man out in the Braves outfield situation but he doesn't intend to go down without a fight. Swisher told MLB.com's Mark Bowman Wednesday that he is back to full strength for the first time in two years and is ready to prove this spring that he can help the Braves, or another club if that is where it leads.
"I know the situation I'm in and I'm stoked to go out and prove what I can do, because I'd love to help this team," Swisher said. "But if I can go help somebody else, I'll go do that, too."
Gallardo officially signed with the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday agreeing to a 2-year, $22 million deal that contains an $11 million club option. Gallardo and the Orioles originally agreed to a 3-year pact before concerns about his throwing shoulder caused Baltimore to back off.
Beyond the Box Score's Nicolas Stellini has a handy guide to how you should approach spring training news over the next month.