• Page 1 of 11
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • ...
  • »
  • »»

Let The Games Begin

Mar 03, 2015 -- 9:41am

Lake Buena Visa, FL – Last Wednesday was the official report date for Braves position players, but that doesn’t mean it’s when everyone showed up. 2015 marks my fourth season covering the team, and in each of those four seasons, the majority of players are in camp well ahead of the deadline. So, while there’s only been a weeks worth of full squad workouts, guys are chomping at the bit to get back to game speed.

Atlanta will open Grapefruit League play on Wednesday at Disney against the visiting Metropolitans. It’ll be our first chance to watch both Wandy Rodriguez and Chien-Ming Wang audition for the fifth spot in the rotation. Rodriguez has struggled to stay healthy the last two seasons, making a total of 18 starts over that span. Meanwhile, Wang has also had injury issues of his own, which have limited him to a total of 22 trips to the hill since the end of the 2009 season.

Rodriguez and Wang will each likely go two innings a piece, while Eric Stults will make his Braves debut on Thursday as the team travels to take on the Tigers in Lakeland as he’ll piggyback off of Julio Teheran. One name you won’t hear in the lineup, atleast for the first few days is Andrelton Simmons. The two time Gold Glove shortstop is slowly recovering from a slight left oblique injury, and Fredi Gonzalez said Monday that he doesn’t expect Simmons to play in the first couple games. The competition, especially for the starting rotation should be fierce and entertaining. Make sure you tune in on Wednesday as Ben Ingram and myself will have the call of the Braves Grapefruit League opener at 1:05pm on 1230am in Atlanta, on MLB.com and on the MLB At Bat App.

Kevin McAlpin covers the Braves for the @BravesRadioNet. Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinMcAlpin

View Comments (0)

5th starter competition begins Wednesday

Mar 02, 2015 -- 1:10pm

 

Lake Buena Vista, FL - This Wednesday, the Braves will play their first Spring Training game of 2015. With the 5th 

slot in the rotation up for grabs, we'll see two hurlers throw Wednesday that are hoping to earn the job. Left-handed

veteran, Wandy Rodriguez, will start the game vs. the Mets. He's scheduled to go two innings, and then the Braves 

will use Chein Ming Wang, a right-hander. 

 

On Thursday, Julio Teheran will start vs. the Tigers, and Eric Stults will follow him, with each of them pitching

two innings. Entering camp, most felt like Rodriguez was the leading candidate to win the job, but a pair of young 

hurlers may impress Braves brass enough to take the job. Manny Banuelos and Mike Foltynewicz are both pitchers

the Braves acquired via trade during the offseason. Both will get an opportunity to win the job this spring.

If Rodriguez ends up getting the call, expect Banuelos and/or Foltynewicz to begin the season in the bullpen. 

 

The Braves feel like the top four spots in their rotation are set with Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Shelby Miller and 

Mike Minor. Those four guys are a combined 99 years old and have an average age of 24 years old. They're 

extremely young. The three vets aiming to win the final spot have a combined age of 106. Big difference. 

 

Wandy Rodriguez hasn't pitched a big league game since May of 2014, and Wang hasn't pitched in the big 

leagues since August of 2013. We haven't seen either throw in a game here yet, but given how long it's been since

either contributed to a big league team, it wouldn't shock me at all to see Foltynewicz win the job. He's 24 and 

pitched 16 games in the majors a year ago. None of those appearances were as a starter. He made 18 starts in 

AAA in 2014. Altogether, this thing is completely up for grabs. The competion will begin Wednesday. Place you

bets.

 

 

Ben Ingram covers the Braves for the @BravesRadioNet. Follow Ben on Twitter @IngramRadio

 

 

 

View Comments (0)

Release The....Changeup?

Mar 02, 2015 -- 11:58am

Lake Buena Vista, FL - There’s no denying the fact that Craig Kimbrel is the most dominant closer in the game. His fastball has been known to light up the radar gun with triple digits and his curveball breaks off the table in the upper 80’s or low 90’s. Plain and simple, those numbers just aren’t fair. Seeing opposing hitters knees buckle is a daily occurrence against the guy they affectionately refer to as “Dirty Craig.” But in the first week or so of camp, hitters have been ducking out of the box a little more than in years past.

On Monday morning, Kimbrel threw his second live batting practice session. Over the weekend, he was seen mixing a changeup into his repertoire. Today, he threw a couple more to both Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson. Based on Freeman’s reaction when he came out of the cage, Kimbrel’s changeup is flat out nasty. While the skipper wouldn’t divulge if the change was going to become a regular weapon into his four time All Star closer’s routine, it sure seems like whatever he’s worked on here in camp is paying off.

 Others opening eyes: With games set to begin on Wednesday, a number of players have already made strong impressions in the opening week of full squad workouts. Tyrell Jenkins, acquired with Shelby Miller from St Louis opened eyes on Monday during his live BP session. Also, Eric Young Jr has shown the type of versatility that could make him a serious contender to start Opening Day in center field. Atlanta is set to open Grapefruit League play this Wednesday against the Metropolitans. Ben Ingram and myself will have the action for you live from Orlando on 1230am in Atlanta, MLB.com and the MLB At Bat App.

Kevin McAlpin covers the Braves for the @BravesRadioNet. Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinMcAlpin

View Comments (0)

Grapefruit League games just 3 days away

Mar 01, 2015 -- 4:36pm

Lake Buena Vista, FL - This weekend marked the last weekend the Braves won't have baseball games till at least

October 9th-11th. So whether you have high expectations for the Braves, or expect the worst, at least our grand

game is back. 

 

Fredi Gonzalez and the Braves will have two more full-squad workouts that will take place Monday and Tuesday. 

Wednesday, the Braves will face the New York Mets at 1:05 from Champion Stadium. It will be our first opportunity

to see Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons, Chris Johnson and the rest of the Braves regulars. It will also be our

first chance to see a bunch of new players that will be wearing navy and red for the first time. 

 

The Braves Radio Network will be covering every single game of Braves Spring Training. The weekend games 

will be available to our Braves Radio Network affiliates to air on their airwaves. The midweek games are available

on the air in Atlanta on 1230 The Fan 2 and 1340 The Fan 3. All games are available online at Braves.com, 

MLB.com and the MLB at-bat app on your smartphone. 

 

As far as the first weekend of Grapefruit League action goes, the Braves will face Detroit, Washington, New York

Mets and Houston. Go to Braves.com for all of the game times and details. 

 

Ben Ingram covers the Braves for the @BravesRadioNet. Follow Ben on Twitter @IngramRadio

View Comments (0)

Hi...My Name Is...

Mar 01, 2015 -- 1:23pm

Lake Buena Vista, FL – After completing one of the busiest offseasons in recent memory, the Braves came to camp with a plethora of new names and faces. One common joke in the weeks leading up to Spring Training was the fact that players will need to wear nametags around the locker room. The first few days, while guys filed in, there was no shortage of handshakes and introductions. However, when everyone arrived on the first rainy day of camp on Saturday, there was a new piece of clothing waiting for them in their locker. This year’s shirt is grey and features a “Hello My Name Is” sticker logo on the upper left hand side.

The mastermind behind this years’ shirt is none other than Craig Kimbrel, aka “Dirty Craig.” Also floating around the clubhouse is “Grill Cheese” aka Jason Grilli and “$ Mike” otherwise known as Mike Minor. I chatted with Kimbrel about the shirt idea on Sunday morning and he told me it’s not only to keep things light in the clubhouse, but it’s also a very useful tool as well. The Braves have over 65 players in Big League camp, including 31 pitchers. The majority will play together for the first time on Wednesday as Grapefruit League play opens. But between now and then, they’ll continue to get acclimated to their new surroundings with a little help from their four time All Star closer.

Simmons update: After being somewhat limited in workouts the last few days, Andrelton Simmons was throwing across the diamond on Sunday afternoon during infield drills. Simmons has been bothered by a slight left oblique strain, but the fact he is throwing and swinging the bat once again is a great sign.

Kevin McAlpin covers the Braves for the @BravesRadioNet. Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinMcAlpin

View Comments (0)

2-28-15 Upton Update

Feb 28, 2015 -- 12:56pm

Lake Buena Vista, FL - The Braves came to Spring Training with three position battles. However, after Melvin Upton Jr visited a local doctor on Friday morning, Atlanta could add center field as fourth. Upton will likely be sidelined until early May as he recovers from inflammation in his left foot. On the surface, the injury seemed minor. However, after ten minutes, Upton says he was in a cast and his Spring Training was likely over before it started.

With Upton's injury, new opportunities are created for newcomers Eric Young Jr and Zoilo Almonte along with farmhand Todd Cunningham. All three were going to get plenty of reps and ABs during the Grapefruit League slate which starts on Wednesday. Young was already a favorite to make the Opening Day roster, but those odds greatly increased after the Upton news broke on Friday afternoon.

While there's never an "ideal time" for an injury to occur, it comes at a particularly frustrating time for Upton who came to camp with a lot of optimism after offseaosn workouts with new hitting coach Kevin Seitzer. On a number of occasions, Seitzer has boasted about the improvements he's seen from Upton, whos first two years in Atlanta have been a disaster. Spring Training always breeds optimism and opportunity. Now, Fredi Gonzalez will have to weigh his options for who can hold down the fort in Center until Upton is 100% healthy. If there's a silver lining, the injury came in Feburary and not August. It will be interesting to see who emerges as the best fit, but once again, this injury emphasizes the importance of the job John Hart did reloading the pipeline this offseason.

Kevin McAlpin covers the Braves for the @BravesRadioNet. Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinMcAlpin

View Comments (0)
  • Page 1 of 11
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • ...
  • »
  • »»