There is a long way still to go, but Felix Hernandez got his quest to secure a spot on the Opening Day roster for the Atlanta Braves off to a good start. Hernandez tossed two hitless innings in Atlanta’s 5-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles in the Grapefruit League opener. Hernandez walked one and struck out two. While the broadcast didn’t feature a radar gun, Hernandez spotted his fastball well while mixing in a good changeup and slider.
Hernandez told reporters that he felt good physically and that the last time he felt this good was probably back in 2016. He talked about his start and said that he was excited and can’t wait to get another start.
More Braves Spring Training Notes
The Braves went with several of their regular players in Saturday’s opener including Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman. Snitker indicated that he will wait until at least Tuesday before penciling in Marcell Ozuna or catchers Travis d’Arnaud or Tyler Flowers into the lineup.
Cole Hamels arrived at Braves camp on Saturday and spoke with the media prior to the Grapefruit League opener. Hamels is still a couple of weeks away from being cleared to resume throwing but he is focused on getting to know his teammates and providing some veteran knowledge for Atlanta’s young pitchers.
While most of the Braves’ roster is set, there are still some lingering questions for how they will choose to round out their roster and pitching staff. I took a closer look at where the position battles stood coming into the Grapefruit League opener and we will be taking a fresh look every week from now until the Opening Day roster is finalized.
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The Red Sox announced the hiring of Jerry Narron as the team’s bench coach. This will be Narron’s second stint in that role with with Boston having previously served as bench coach for Grady Little in 2003.
The Chicago White Sox signed reliever Aaron Bummer to a five-year, $16 million extension on Saturday. The also includes a pair of option years that could increase the overall value of the deal to $29.5 million. The team also agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million guaranteed deal with outfielder Leury Garcia replacing the non-guaranteed pact that he signed back in January in order to avoid arbitration. Garcia will earn $3.25 million for 2020 and has a $3.5 million team option for 2021 that includes a $250K buyout.
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt announced on Saturday that Jack Flaherty will start on Opening Day when they open the season in Cincinnati on March 26. Flaherty seems like the best choice as he was lights out in the second half of the 2019 season posting a 0.91 ERA after the All-Star break. He finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting.
Finally, Zach Greinke reported to Astros spring training on Saturday which was the mandatory reporting date for players. Greinke told reporters that he just found out that players didn’t really have to report to the earlier dates and said he wished that he had known that 15 years earlier.