When the Atlanta Braves signed Marcell Ozuna it helped plug the hole in the team’s lineup that was created by the departure of Josh Donaldson. However, Ozuna’s addition also created a crowded outfield situation. Brian Snitker discussed the team’s outfield situation with MLB.com’s Mark Bowman on Friday and said he still doesn’t know how it is all going to pan out.
Ozuna and Ronald Acuña Jr. are the only two that are guaranteed to see regular playing time. If healthy, Ender Inciarte should see the majority of time in center leaving Nick Markakis and Adam Duvall as bench options. As Bowman points out, Markakis appears best suited for a left-handed bench option. Duvall would also be an appealing option against left-handed starters with Acuña sliding over to center field. Carrying five outfielders would deepen Atlanta’s bench.
An injury or an acquisition at the end of the spring could change the outfield picture as well. Duvall is the only member of the group who’s entire salary is not guaranteed. It will be interesting to see how the situation develops over the next few weeks and how the bench will begin to take shape.
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Relievers Chris Martin, Jacob Webb and A.J. Minter have yet to make their 2020 spring debut for the Braves and that is by design after all three had their 2019 season cut short due to injury. Martin threw a side session and could get into a game sometime next week.
Adeiny Hechavarria likely won’t return to action until the latter part of next week. Hechavarria was scratched from Thursday’s lineup after he felt tightness in his left oblique during batting practice.
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Free agent right-hander Collin McHugh has been cleared to begin a throwing program after undergoing a non-surgical procedure on his right elbow. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that many teams have already checked in on his status. McHugh has worked both as a starter and out of the bullpen which could be intriguing for several teams. He struggled with elbow pain for most of 2019 posting a 4.70 ERA in just over 74 innings.
Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen won’t be ready for Opening Day according to manager Joe Girardi. McCutchen tore the ACL in his left knee last June and is continuing to work his way back. Girardi did say that he didn’t expect McCutchen to miss much action and they are hoping that he is available at some point in April.
Oakland outfielder Stephen Piscotty is dealing with a strain in his rib cage that is a little worse than was initially feared. A’s manager Bob Melvin told reporters Friday that Piscotty is going to be shut down for a bit and that there is no timetable for his return which will likely put him being ready for Opening Day in jeopardy.
Rays right-handed prospect Brent Honeywell resumed throwing from the mound on Friday and can now begin to ramp up his rehab. Honeywell has been trying to work his way back from injury for the last two years. He was sidelined initially with Tommy John surgery and then suffered a fracture in his elbow. His timeline is unclear but he is once again progressing in the right direction.