Will Braves’ Doumit catch, or won’t he?
Braves GM Frank Wren was presumably enjoying a coffee and reading the Sunday paper when this AJC writer contacted him to ask if Wren had heard about the comment by Twins infielder Brian Dozier at a weekend FanFest in Minneapolis. Dozier had casually mentioned to a Twins reporter that ex-teammate Ryan Doumit had decided not to catch anymore after an August concussion, which wasn’t the first concussion that Doumit suffered in his career.
Now, if true about him not catching, this would be problematic for the Braves, who traded for Doumit on Dec. 18 primarily because of the catcher part of the job experience — catcher/first base/right field/DH – on his resume.
By late Sunday afternoon, I got the answer I had anticipated: Dozier’s comment was untrue. This according to Doumit’s agent, Paul Cobbe.
Wren said at the time of the trade that Doumit would give the Braves the three-catcher arrangement like they had for most of last season, enabling manager Fredi Gonzalez to pinch-hit catchers Evan Gattis or Gerald Laird when they weren’t behind the plate.
Atlanta Braves close on land deal in suburbs
The Atlanta Braves have closed on land to build a new stadium in the city’s northwest suburbs and expected to soon name the ballpark’s designer and architect.
Atlanta Braves executive Mike Plant said Friday the organization completed the purchase of a 57-acre parcel in Cobb County for the new $672 million stadium.
The Marietta Daily Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1mWRKfJ) that the Braves agreed to pay Bethesda, Md.-based B.F. Saul Co. about $34 million for the 57.1-acre site.
The team hopes to open the stadium for the 2017 season.
The Marietta paper reports that the team plans to announce the stadium designer and architect next week.
The project is set to take the team out of downtown Atlanta for the first time since it moved to Georgia from Milwaukee in 1966.
Braves’ Wood looking for defined role this season
Like any young pitcher, Alex Wood is seeking consistency, although this has nothing to do with mechanics, control or velocity — it’s more about his role.
Called up in May to join a Braves’ bullpen aching for another left-hander, Wood was thrust into a spot start 20 days later, then right back to the ‘pen. In July, he was back in the minors to get stretched out, returned to Atlanta and joined the rotation. But after 20 starts he was a reliever again.
“It’s hard enough to pitch up there, let alone bouncing back and forth from starting and relieving,” Wood said.
The 23-year-old with a funky delivery heads to spring training with the intent to simplify things and earn a starting spot, where he was 3-2 last season in 11 games with a 3.54 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 77 strikeouts to 27 walks in 56 innings.
“It’s definitely nice to at least start the year with a chance to win a spot in the rotation,” he said. “I’m excited for the opportunity and I’m ready to get going.”
Homegrown hurler aims to help Braves
David Hale was late to the scene for the Atlanta Braves last year, but he had staying power. The homegrown hurler made two starts after major league rosters expanded in September, setting a franchise record with nine strikeouts in his debut and going 1-0 with an 0.82 ERA in 11 innings overall.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound 27-year-old from Marietta, Ga., performed so well manager Fredi Gonzalez included the right-hander in the roster for the National League Division Series, where Hale recorded an out against the Dodgers.
Now he’s aiming to play an important role from the beginning of 2014.
And the Braves may need him.
“I think I have a decent shot,” Hale said this week during a visit to Greenville’s Shriners Hospital for Children, part of the tour of the Braves Country Caravan presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors