Freddie Freeman introduced him self formally to the Mets by doubling to right, left and center before leaving the game in the 6th. He also took advantage of a missed cutoff man to go third in the first and scored on a passed ball in the second. Eric Hinske got the Braves first homer of spring in the fourth taking it well over the right field wall. McCann, Shafer and McLouth got their hacks then left without causing much of a stir; McLouth after taking a shot on the ankle in the fifth. Mather Young, Boscan and Costanza got some time in the field and a couple of at bats at well
Jurrjens starting his first game sine having his knee fixed after last season’s MCL damage. In two innings the Mets didn’t get a smell as he pounded the strikes zone steadily on both sides of the plate. Replaced in the third by everyday Jonny Venter the story was much the same. Venters broke off one slider so sharply it drew a second look from Fernando Martinez after he flailed wildly at it. Eric O’flaherty looked in mid season form as well in his inning of work.
Closer in waiting Craig Kimbrel struggled with the strike zone in the fifth giving up a double, homer and a walk. After a Conrad error put men on first and second Kimbrel rallied to strike out Zach Lutz. His day was over when he walked Jason pride. It was Kimbrel’s first outing and isn’t even March yet so there’s no need for concern. Closers, especially hard throwers like Kimbrel often struggle in the spring. There’s no adrenalin flowing and there was really no pressure to do anything but get his work. I’m sure he isn’t happy about it but I’m also sure it means nothing.
The 6th through the 8th passed without event as Cristian Martinez, Anthony Vavaro did well in their innings of work and Stephen Marek worked around a walk and an error by Lucas at second, striking out 2 in the 8th to put up a zero. A walk to Matt Young and a solid single by Lucas atoning for his earlier error put the Braves back in front in the 9th. Lucas missed third attempting to score on a Hernandez single or the lead would have been two. Juan Abreu came on to pitch the 9th inning and immediately walked Daniel Murphy on four pitches. He struck out the next hitter but a single and double tied the game.
All in all a good day for the Braves pitching staff and the young lions on the Braves staff. Hits will come, and roster spots will be decided later. Today’s game saw the end the long winter of alternative sports the welcome return of Braves baseball. For that I’m very grateful.
WAGNER WATCH: The Billy Wagner 40 man roster question came up an Don Sutton opined that the reason he was still there was the $250,000 buy out he qualified for under his contract last year. if he doesn’t turn up in Florida at some point this spring he’s retired whether he files papers or not.