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The Daily Chop: Chris Martin debuts, Austin Riley’s homer and more

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Martin struck out the side in his 2020 spring debut.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Minnesota Twins Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Martin made his spring debut for the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday appearing on the mound for the first time since straining an oblique while warming up in last season’s division series. Martin looked sharp striking out the side in his sixth inning debut against the Rays. Brian Snitker discussed Martin’s debut after the game with MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.

“It was good to just get him back out there,” Snitker said. “He’s got the strike zone and stuff, too. For the first time out, that was pretty impressive.”

The Braves acquired Martin at the trade deadline last season from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Kolby Allard. They then re-signed Martin on a two-year deal this offseason and he is again expected to play a significant role in the team’s bullpen.

More Braves News

The Braves fell to the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2 on Tuesday but there was some notable performances. Felix Hernandez allowed an early run but was able to complete four innings allowing four hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts. Also, Austin Riley crushed a monstrous two-run home run that accounted for both of Atlanta’s runs. The ball Riley hit dented the left-center scoreboard and the Braves said the ball had an exit velocity of 112-mph with a 27-degree launch angle according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.

FanGraphs’ Jay Jaffe writes that Cole Hamels’ shoulder injury will test the Braves’ pitching depth early in the season.

A new advocacy group called Cobb 4 Transit has recently launched and is making the case for a transit network that could one day allow people to travel by train from the Atlanta Airport to an Atlanta Braves game at Truist Park according to a report by Curbed Atlanta.

Braves Prospects

Keith Law released his top prospects list for the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday with Cristian Pache and Ian Anderson at the top. Atlanta landed six prospects in Law’s first ever Top 100 list for The Athletic but outfielder Drew Waters was notably absent. Waters checks in at No. 7 on Law’s Braves list.

MLB Pipeline also released their updated Top 30 list for the Braves on Tuesday. Pache is at No. 1 and is followed by Waters, Anderson and Kyle Wright. Trey Harris was the biggest mover in Pipeline’s list jumping all the way to No. 16. Right-hander Trey Riley took the biggest tumble falling nine spots to No. 29 after a poor season at Rome.

MLB News

The Milwaukee Brewers and outfielder Christian Yelich are reportedly in discussions on a nine-year $215 million contract extension. The deal will reportedly run through the 2028 season and also includes a mutual option for 2029. Yelich would make $12.5 million in 2020 and then $14 million in 2021 with the new seven-year extension kicking in.

More bad news for the Red Sox. Boston left-hander Chris Sale is slated to undergo an MRI on his elbow after he reported soreness after a recent throwing session. The results will be referred to Dr. James Andrews for analysis. Sale dealt with arm issues late last season and was subsequently shut down. He has been slowed by the pneumonia this offseason and is expected to miss Opening Day but the hope had been that he would be able to return soon after.

The Red Sox aren’t the only team dealing with injuries. Neither Aaron Judge nor Giancarlo Stanton are expected to be ready for the Yankees on Opening Day. Judge has yet to appear in a spring game as he has been dealing with shoulder/pectoral issues. Stanton is recovering from a Grade 1 strain in his right calf but the hope is that he will be able to return to the lineup sometime in April.