March 2015

Spring Training: Braves fall to Astros, 8-5 (2015)

The Atlanta Braves dropped a seesaw affair to the Houston Astros by an 8-5 score on Tuesday night.

At the plate: It was a back-and-forth battle, with Houston drawing first blood and then building a late inning lead. Atlanta staged a four-run fifth inning rally to grab a short-lived, 5-3 advantage. Kelly Johnson got the scoring started with an RBI-double in the fourth. He finished 1-for-2 and was forced to leave the game in the fifth inning after being hit by a pitch. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Johnson has secured a spot on Atlanta’s 25-man roster after batting .286/.417/.531 line in 19 games this spring.

Elsewhere in the lineup, Nick Markakis was 0-for-3, but scored a run and collected an RBI. He’s batting just .105 in Grapefruit League play after missing the first few weeks while recovering from off-season neck surgery. Eric Young Jr. had yet another multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 with a run scored and his seventh stolen base of the spring. A.J. Pierzynski likewise collected two hits in five trips and roped a two-run single in the fifth inning.

On the mound: Wandy Rodriguez ran into some early trouble, but put together a solid effort in his final spring tune-up. He allowed three runs on the night, a pair of runs in the first inning and a solo-homer in the fourth, but struck out eight men and did not issue a walk over five innings. Brandon Cunniff (0-1) surrendered a three-run homer to Colby Rasmus which allowed the Astros to take the lead back for good. Closer Craig Kimbrel turned in another strong out, striking out a pair in a perfect seventh inning. Luis Avilan surrendered a two-run double in the eighth inning, allowing Houston to stretch the lead to 8-5. He worked 1-2/3 innings before fellow lefty Brady Feigl got the call and struck out the only batter he faced.

Of note: Good news for center fielder Melvin Upton Jr. on Wednesday. After having his spring derailed by sesamoiditis in his left foot, he will very likely be getting out of the walking boot on Friday. Upton has not taken part in a workout since February 25, but has been hitting in the cage for the last two weeks with the boot on according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution… Catcher Christian Bethancourt will miss a day or two after having his wisdom teeth extracted reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com… Zoilo Almonte cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Gwinnett. Since he had previously been outrighted by the Yankees, he can now elect free agency… Atlanta now has 35 players remaining in Major League camp.

Up next: Braves @ Phillies — Wednesday,  April 1 at 1:05 p.m.

RHP Julio Teheran vs. LHP Cole Hamels

 

Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter.

Spring Training: Braves rally past Tigers, 4-2 (2015)

The Atlanta Braves offense went to work late and edged the Detroit Tigers by a 4-2 final score on Monday.

At the plate: Quiet in the early going, the Braves found the runs they needed in the latter innings. The top of the order certainly did its part. Both Todd Cunningham and Jace Peterson collected three hits apiece, with Peterson scoring two of Atlanta’s four runs. Freddie Freeman plated the first run of the day with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. Christian Bethancourt tied things up in the seventh with an opposite field, solo shot to make it a 2-2 game. It was his first home run, but Bethancourt has put together a fine spring, batting .306 in 13 games. The Braves scored two runs off Joba Chamberlain (-) in the eighth to go ahead for good. Phil Gosselin collected a go-ahead, RBI-single and Joe Benson lifted a sacrifice fly to stretch the lead to 4-2.

Elsewhere in the lineup, Andrelton Simmons and Kelly Johnson were each 1-for-3, while Nick Markakis and Chris Johnson were each hitless in three at-bats. Jonny Gomes was 0-for-1 but walked twice. Freeman had the sac-fly, but was 0-for-2 otherwise. That big day for Cunningham also included a nice catch in center field, a position the Braves are looking to fortify prior to opening day.

On the mound: Needing a solid outing to help prove his readiness to join a big league rotation, Mike Foltynewicz pitched well enough to remain in the fifth starter discussion. Over 3-2/3 innings, he allowed two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out two.  The Tigers dropped a couple of singles wrapped around a stolen base to plate a first inning run against Foltynewicz. The other run came in the fourth on Yoenis Cespedes’ fifth home run of the spring. Righty Jim Johnson came on to record the final out of the inning.

The rest of the day on the mound belonged to veteran lefty Eric Stults (2-0), who is also competing for the final spot in the rotation. He strengthened his case with five innings of one-run ball, walking one and striking out three. That good work lowered his ERA to 1.89 in 19 innings. If he does figure into Atlanta’s big league plans, Stults can opt out of his minor league deal on Wednesday, April 3, leaving the Braves just three more days to make a decision.

Of note: The Braves made two more roster cuts prior to the game, optioning right-hander Arodys Vizcaino to Triple-A Gwinnett and reassigning right-hander Michael Kohn to minor league camp. Both men had their command issues at times, though Vizcaino’s was hit harder. He allowed eight runs on nine hits and walked eight over the course of eight innings this spring. Kohn also walked eight men, but allowed just three runs over 8-1/3 innings. Both men figure to begin the season with Gwinnett and be available if needed in the big league pen at some point during the season.

Up next: Braves vs. Astros — Tuesday, March 31 at 6:05 p.m.

LHP Wandy Rodriguez vs. RHP Asher Wojciechowski

 

Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter.

Spring Training: Braves fall to Pirates, 4-2 (2015)

The Braves came up short in a 4-2 loss to the Pirates on Sunday afternoon. Jung Ho Kang belted a two-run homer in the ninth to send Pittsburgh to victory.

At the plate: Chris Johnson had two hits, including a solo-homer in the sixth inning that stood as everything the offense could muster over the first seven innings. After a slow start, he has collected eight hits in his last twelve at-bats and is hitting .286 on the spring. Johnson’s day notwithstanding, the Pirates used Stolmy Pimentel and five relievers combined to hold the Braves to just three hits in total. Atlanta’s only other run, and only other hit for that matter, came on a squeeze but from Phil Gosselin in the eighth which plated Todd Cunningham and briefly tied the game, 2-2.

On the mound: Shelby Miller put together a strong six inning effort, allowing just one run on one hit and one walk while striking out four. He allowed a third inning run, when Austin Meadows tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly from Pedro Florimon. Atlanta’s bullpen allowed the other three runs, which were all courtesy of Jung Ho Kang. He lined an RBI-single in the seventh against Jason Grilli and belted a two-run homer off Michael Kohn (1-1) in the ninth. Sandwiched in between, Jim Johnson tossed a scoreless eighth inning.

Of note: The Braves released left-handed reliever James Russell on Sunday morning. He had been hit hard this spring, allowing 10 runs in 7-2/3 innings over three appearances. The 29-year-old was acquired from the Cubs last season, but has struggled against lefty hitters, who batted .284 with a .351 OBP in 2014. Russell avoided arbitration with Atlanta over the winter and agreed to a one-year, $2.4 million contract. The move will saved the Braves roughly 75 percent of that according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.

Up next: Braves @ Tigers — Monday, March 30 at 1:05 p.m.

RHP Mike Foltynewicz vs. RHP Alfredo Simon

 

Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter.

Spring Training: Braves top Blue Jays, 5-3 (2015)

The Atlanta Braves came from behind to beat the Toronto Blue Jays by a 5-3 score on Saturday afternoon.

At the plate: Eric Young Jr. remains red hot. Make it four consecutive multi-hit games for him after two more hits on Saturday. Young went 2-for-3 with a stolen base and also turned in some nice work with the leather in center, including an excellent diving catch. [Watch Here]

Phil Gosselin had a two-hit day and drove in the first Atlanta run with an RBI-single in the top of the second. Trailing 3-1 in the sixth inning, Pedro Ciriaco delivered his second big hit in as many days. His two-run single tied things up, while his 2-for-4 day pushed his Grapefruit League average up to .380 with a team-high 14 RBI. As a test of his versatility, manager Fredi Gonzalez gave Ciriaco some time in the outfield, where he’s played just nine games (25 innings) in his big league career and even less in his minor league days.

Kelly Johnson went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and a pair of walks and continues to make a strong push to make the team as a non-roster invitee. He’s batting .400 with three doubles, two homers and six walks over his last 10 games. The odds-on favorite to open the season at second base, Jace Peterson put the Braves on top to stay in the eighth inning with a two-run double off the glove of a diving Melky Mesa in right field. Peterson finished 1-for-4 with a walk. Zoilo Almonte picked up two hits, while Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons were both 1-for-3.

On the mound: Alex Wood worked six innings for the first time this spring. Toronto scored a pair against the Atlanta lefty in the bottom of the third on a two-run double by Jose Bautista. The other run came off the bat of Russell Martin, who collected an RBI-single in the fifth and made it a 3-1 game. In his fourth Grapefruit League start, Wood finished with a line of: 6 IP, 7H, 3ER, 1BB, 2K.

The Braves bullpen did its job over the final three innings. Craig Kimbrel (1-0) turned in the kind of outing one has come to expect, working a perfect seventh and striking out two. Brandon Cunniff followed him with a scoreless eighth, but Juan Jaime ran into trouble in the ninth. He allowed the first two men to reach and recorded just one out before being lifted in favor of lefty Brady Feigl. After allowing an immediate single, Feigl induced a game-ending double play to earn his second save.

Of note: The Braves have tentatively set the order of the starting rotation to start the regular season reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Julio Teheran was officially named the opening day starter on Friday, but following him will be Alex Wood, Shelby Miller and Wandy Rodriguez, with a fifth starter still to be determined according to Fredi Gonzalez… Eric Young Jr. now has six steals, second only to Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon… Pedro Ciriaco’s 14 RBI are tied with the Marlins Michael Morse for most in the Grapefruit League.

Up next: Braves vs. Pirates — Sunday, March 29 at 1:05 p.m.

RHP Shelby Miller vs. RHP Stolmy Pimentel

 

Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter.

Spring Training: Braves top Red Sox, 4-2 (2015)

The Atlanta Braves handed the Boston Red Sox a 4-2 defeat in a rain shortened affair on Friday afternoon.

At the plate: The Braves offense piled up 12 hits and touched up Clay Buchholz for four runs. The big blow came in the bottom of the second, when Pedro Ciriaco stroked a two-out, bases-clearing double to give Atlanta a 3-0 lead. Ciriaco collected two hits against his old team and is now batting .370 with 12 RBI on the spring. Despite putting up good numbers, he still faces stiff competition for a reserve infielder spot. Meanwhile, Kelly Johnson appears to be solidifying his case for a spot on the 25-man roster. He belted a solo homer off Buchholz in the sixth inning to make it a 4-2 game. After starting the spring 2-for-19 with six punch-outs, he’s now hit safely in eight of his last nine games and struck out just three times over that span.

There were plenty of multi-hit games up and down the lineup. Freddie Freeman went 2-for-4 and is now batting .390 on the spring. Veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski went 2-for-3, upping his average to .393.  After a slow start, Alberto Callaspo has come on of late. He picked up two more hits and has 10 hits in his last 27 at-bats. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez opted to try out Phil Gosselin in center field. He spent six innings in the outfield and responded with a 2-for-3 day before moving to third base to open the seventh. Gosselin has seen a little time in left field in the minors which added another layer of versatility to his game.

On the mound: Julio Teheran was officially named Atlanta’s opening day starter for the second straight season following the game. He had to work around base runners throughout the day, allowing five hits and walking four batters over 5-2/3 innings. The only damage he incurred came on a two-run homer off the bat of Mookie Betts in the top of the fourth inning. Joe Cornelly finished off the sixth inning and recorded two outs in the seventh before the game was called due to rain. He was credited with his second save of the spring.

Of note: Prior to the game, the Braves trimmed the spring roster by three, optioning outfielder Eury Perez, left-hander Manny Banuelos and right-hander Williams Perez to Triple-A Gwinnett. That leaves Atlanta with 40 active players remaining in big league camp.

 

Up next: Braves @ Blue Jays — Saturday, March 28 at 1:07 p.m.

LHP Alex Wood vs. RHP Marco Estrada

 

 

Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter

Spring Training: Braves edge Pirates, 7-5 (2015)

The Atlanta Braves staged a ninth inning rally to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates by a 7-5 score on Thursday afternoon.

At the plate: A five-run first inning is always a nice way to start a game. Atlanta jumped all over Pittsburgh’s Vance Worley to do just that. Jace Peterson got the scoring started with an RBI-single. Two more crossed the plate on ground-outs from Christian Bethancourt and Kelly Johnson, extending the lead to 3-0. Bethancourt returned to the lineup after a eight day absence because of flu-like symptoms. He went 1-for-3 and caught five innings.

Chris Johnson belted a two-run homer to cap the five-run rally. The Atlanta third baseman has really heated up of late, finishing 3-for-4 with a double, a homer, two RBI and two runs scored.  Johnson has seven hits in his last 12 at-bats, boosting his Grapefruit League average from .120 on March 19 to .270 following Thursday’s game.

After the Pirates chipped away at that lead throughout the day and tied things at 5-5 in the eighth, the Braves bats got back to work in the top of the ninth against Clayton Richard (1-1). Johnny Gomes connected for his first home run of the spring and Jesus Flores picked up a run-scoring single to make it a 7-5 game. Gomes was one of four Braves to enjoy multi-hit games as he finished 2-for-4 with the homer and two runs scored. Alberto Callaspo finished 2-for-4 with a run scored. Leadoff man Eric Young Jr. cranked out his third consecutive multi-hit performance, going 2-for-5 with a run scored.

On the mound: The going was a little bumpier for Wandy Rodriguez this time out. His 12 inning scoreless streak was snapped immediately as Josh Harrison led off the bottom of the first with a home run.  Rodriguez got hit fairly hard throughout his five innings of work, allowing single runs in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings. Five of the eight hits he allowed went for extra bases, including a pair of home runs. Neil Walker was responsible for the other homer, connecting in the fifth inning to draw the Pirates within a run, 5-4.

Rodriguez’ final line: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Atlanta’s bullpen held that one run lead with scoreless frames from Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan. The Pirates got to Josh Outman in the eighth inning, however. After striking out the first batter he faced, Outman allowed three straight singles to load the bases for slugger Pedro Alvarez. With nowhere to put him, Outman uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score. Aaron Kurcz (1-1) came on to escape the inning and pick up the victory. Brady Feigl worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn his first save of the spring.

Of note: Prior to the game, the Braves announced that veteran catcher John Buck has decided to retire after 11 major league seasons… Atlanta now has 43 players remaining in big league camp following Buck’s retirement.

 

Up next: Braves vs. Red Sox — Friday, March 27 at 1:05 p.m.

RHP Julio Teheran vs. RHP Clay Buchholz

 

Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter

Spring Training: Braves clipped by Phillies, 5-3 (2015)

The Braves gave it a valiant effort in the late innings, but could not avoid a 5-3 loss to the Phillies on Tuesday afternoon.

At the plate: Just one day after piling up 14 runs, the Braves had some trouble getting the run-scoring machine started. It was to no fault of their leadoff man, as Eric Young Jr. collected three more hits and is now batting .314 for the spring.  Down in the eight spot, shortstop Andrelton Simmons just keeps on producing. He belted his second home run, a two-run shot that gives him a team-high 12 RBI in 10 games this spring. Jonny Gomes and Freddie Freeman each finished 1-for-3 on the day, while Nick Markakis was held hitless in three at-bats as he got his first start in right field. In order to get some extra at-bats, Markakis will take part in a minor league game on Thursday. He’s likely to get seven plate appearances per Mark Bowman of MLB.com.

On the mound: It was an important start for Mike Foltynewicz, who was hoping to keep his name front in center in the fifth starter battle. Unfortunately, he was unable to repeat the success he enjoyed in his previous outing. The velocity was there, but Foltynewicz did not show the same command this time out. He allowed three runs on five hits – two of those home runs – and walked two over 2-2/3 innings of work. On the positive side, lefty Manny Banuelos had another solid outing. He tossed three shut-out innings and struck out a pair. Both men are trying to crack the Atlanta rotation, but face stiff competition from veteran left-handers Wandy Rodriguez and Eric Stults to do so.

Of note: Lefty Mike Minor has resumed throwing, David O’Brien of the AJC notes that it’s only the first step in the process of overcoming the shoulder inflammation that shelved him earlier this spring:

The Braves lost out in the Hector Olivera sweepstakes. The star Cuban infielder, soon to turn 30 years old, signed with the Dodgers. He received a 6-year, $62.5 million deal with a $28 million signing bonus according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. Atlanta was among several interested teams, but did not make an offer that approached what Los Angeles was willing to extend.

 

Up next: Braves @ Pirates — Thursday, March 26 at 1:05 p.m.

LHP Wandy Rodriguez vs. RHP Vance Worley

 

Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter

Spring Training: Braves pound Astros, 14-10 (2015)

The Atlanta offense was clicking on all cylinders Monday afternoon.  The Braves cranked out 19 hits in a 14-10 win over the Houston Astros.

At the plate: It was a big day at the plate on a number of fronts. For starters, Nick Markakis made his long-awaited spring debut, serving as the designated hitter. After missing the first three weeks of the Grapefruit League season while recovering from December neck surgery, he doubled and singled in three at-bats. Here’s a look at Markakis’ double:

 

The hits were plenty, up and down the lineup as six men turned in multi-hit games. Eric Young Jr. supplied three out of the lead-off spot and also scored a pair of runs. In need of a good day at the plate, Zoilo Almonte collected three hits, including a pair of RBI-singles. Perhaps most encouraging of all, Andrelton Simmons continued his torrid pace this spring. He boosted his average to .481 after banging out two more hits, including a two-run double in the 3rd inning. He finished with four RBI on the day, but left the game in the fourth inning after being hit by a pitch in the elbow. He is not expected to miss much if any time. Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson also had two hits apiece, with Johnson reaching base four times thanks to a pair of walks as well.

On the mound: With the threat of rain, Atlanta opted to push Mike Foltynewicz back a day and go with bullpen arms instead. Righties Michael Kohn and Juan Jaime began the day by each tossing a scoreless frame. James Russell’s ran into some trouble, allowing a two runs in the third and two more in the fourth before settling in. All in all, Russell allowed four earned on four hits and a walk. He has been hit hard this spring, with an ERA of 10.57 (10 earned runs in 7-2/3 innings) and opponents hitting .294 with three home runs thus far. There wasn’t much else to glean from the pitching lines on Monday, with non-roster arms finishing the day. Veteran Todd Coffey surrendered two earned in his only inning of work, while Ryan Kelly allowed four runs in the ninth before Aaron Kurcz came on to put out the fire and close out the win.

Of note: Markakis will return to the field on Tuesday, getting a start in right field against the Phillies according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution… Lefty Mike Minor, who has been sidelined with inflammation in his throwing shoulder will resume throwing this week reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com. Minor will begin the season on the disabled for the second straight year, but is optimistic he can rejoin the team before the end of April… Foltynewicz will get the start against Philadelphia on Tuesday, with Manny Banuelos following in relief… The Braves also trimmed the roster by three on Monday, reassigning right-hander Sugar Ray Marimon, left-hander Donnie Veal and catcher Braeden Schlehuber to minor league camp.

 

Up next: Braves vs. Phillies — Tuesday, March 23 at 1:05 p.m.

RHP Mike Foltynewicz vs. RHP Aaron Harang

 

Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter

Spring Training: Braves rally past Tigers, 5-3 (2015)

The Atlanta Braves staged a late rally to hand the Detroit Tigers a 5-3 defeat on Sunday afternoon.

At the plate: The Braves once again manufactured their runs. Timely hits and good base running were the order of the day and the blueprint for the eighth inning rally which propelled Atlanta to victory. Daniel Castro singled and was pushed to second when Jose Constanza laid down a perfectly placed bunt base hit. After Braden Schlehuber grounded into a fielder’s choice which put runners on the corners, Eric Young Jr. replaced him as a pinch-runner and immediately stole second. Pedro Ciriaco then delivered the go-ahead two-run single. Ciriaco finished with two hits and three RBI.

On the mound: It was another strong start for Shelby Miller, who seems to be rounding into form as the spring wears on. Miller worked five innings and allowed just one run on four hits and a walk while striking out four. He gave way to Craig Kimbrel, who fired a perfect sixth and fanned one. The same cannot be said for lefty Josh Outman, who allowed a game-tying, two-run homer to Jefry Marte in the seventh inning. Jason Grilli (1-0) earned the win with a perfect eighth inning. Donnie Veal worked around a leadoff walk to strike out a pair and earn his first save.

Of note: Nick Markakis is set to make his spring debut on Monday against the Astros. Mark Bowman of MLB.com reported that the Atlanta right fielder took batting practice for the third straight day on Sunday and has now been given the green light to return to game action. Markakis will serve as the designated hitter against Houston per Bowman’s report… Second baseman Jace Peterson was not in the lineup on Sunday, but entered the day with 13 hits. That’s tied for third most in the Grapefruit League and fourth most overall this spring… Freddie Freeman has drawn eight walks this spring, second only to Bryce Harper’s nine… Young’s stolen base was his fifth of the spring, second most in baseball.

Up Next: Braves @ Astros — Monday, March 23 at 1:05 p.m.

RHP Mike Foltynewicz vs. RHP Scott Feldman

 

 

Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter.

Spring Training: Braves split Saturday games (2015)

The Braves played their final split squad games of the spring on Saturday, beating the Nationals 5-2 at home and losing a 1-0 affair on the road against the Cardinals.

 

At the plate vs. Nationals: After being held off the board for three innings by Taylor Jordan, the Braves went to work trailing 2-0 in the fourth inning against Washington reliever Evan Meek (0-1). Atlanta scored three runs in the frame, courtesy of a two-run single by Jonny Gomes and a go-ahead RBI-single from Todd Cunningham. Clinging to a 3-2 lead in the seventh, the Braves got some insurance with a run-scoring single from Cedric Hunter and an RBI-ground out from Alberto Callaspo.

On the mound vs. Nationals: Lefty Eric Stults (1-0) turned in a solid effort as he aims to join the Atlanta rotation. He was touched up for a pair of runs in the top of the third, but settled in to work five innings of two-run ball on five hits and a walk while striking out two. Bullpen hopefuls Michael Kohn and Juan Jaime came on to toss scoreless innings, while Brandon Cunniff worked the final two innings and earned the save.

 

At the plate vs. Cardinals: Second baseman Jace Peterson continued his excellent spring, collecting two hits off St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright. With those knocks, Peterson is now batting .351 in Grapefruit League play. Veteran catcher John Buck also enjoyed a two-hit game, while Freddie Freeman reached base twice. He collected Atlanta’s only other hit and drew a walk.

On the mound vs. Cardinals: Righty Chien-Ming Wang has not been getting much mention in the battle for a spot in the rotation, but he turned in his best performance of the spring on Saturday. Wang tossed 4-2/3 scoreless innings, scattering three hits and two walks. Out of the bullpen, Arodys Vizcaino worked around a hit and a walk to post 1-1/3 shut-out innings. Sugar Ray Marimon followed with two more blank frames. The Cardinals walked off on Dean Anna’s RBI-single against Aaron Kurcz (0-1), who did not retire any of the three batters he faced in the ninth.

Of note: Atlanta got its first look at former right fielder Jason Heyward in Saturday’s meeting with the Cardinals. Heyward finished 1-for-2 with a single and a walk and is batting .364 this spring… Meanwhile, new Braves right fielder Nick Markakis took batting practice again on Saturday morning. He continues to recover from December neck surgery and has yet to be cleared for game action, but remains hopeful he can be ready to play by opening day according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.

Up Next: Braves vs. Tigers — Sunday, March 22.

RHP Shelby Miller vs. LHP Kyle Lobstein

 

 

Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter.