Atlanta Braves Spring Training From My Eyes To Yours


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I was fortunate on Monday morning to visit the Wild World of Sports facility in Orlando, Florida for Atlanta Braves spring training practice.

On a day that reached the upper 70′s, I saw some great things from the practice.  But I also didn’t see somethings…

I walked around the entire complex a couple times and stayed till the end of practice but I never saw B.J. Upton, Jordan Schafer or Andrelton Simmons.

Upton and Schafer may have been given the day off or I may have just overlooked them but B.J. was a guy I was looking out for.  Simmons arrived to the states on Sunday but flew into Atlanta and was traveling to Florida yesterday.

“Simmons texted me last night and told me he’d be here in a couple of days” Fredi Gonzalez said.  “He just got back into the country, flew to Atlanta.  He was apologizing for not being here; I said don’t worry about it, you’re not late or anything.”

Now that it’s Tuesday, I saw actions happening on Twitter that says Andrelton has now arrived – dang, a day late for me.

 

One thing I noticed and something all Braves fans  should be happy about and the rest of the MLB a little scared, Freddie Freeman looked like a complete beast during field BP.  He was driving the ball to all sides of the field, hitting massive bombs and just looked very comfortable at the plate.

Dan Uggla, Tyler Pastornicky and Mark Hamilton showed up to the cages for extra time about 15 minutes early.  Uggla and Pastornicky had many eyes on them in the cages and hitting off tees.  For a good five minutes, Uggla worked with a hitting coach on his swing.  From what I could hear and see, it sounded like he was working on keeping his hands back, not lunging at the ball and his hand movements before his swing.

Speaking of Hamilton, I noticed him in the cages taking great cuts and hitting everything to the backdrop but then when he was out on the field, it was hard not to notice him.  His guy can swing the bat with power.  He was hitting the ball further than Freeman.  And his swing is really smooth.  Meanwhile, doing this all right in front of Frank Wren as he showed his face for only Hamilton’s group.  If this guy can stay healthy and continue from what he was doing yesterday, I expect him to be a significant bat off the bench.

Another hitter that stood out to me was Matt Kennelly.  He was in the final group being a non-roster invitee and a catcher but he was impressive.  Another Braves player that wears no batting gloves, Kennelly was hitting the ball well from the right side.  Power and control of the ball spraying it to all fields.

20140217_105252The only guy I noticed that I thought he was struggling at the plate was Ramiro Pena.  I don’t think he had the day he wanted but I realized he’s coming off an injury and may not have been pushing it to far early on in the spring.

Jose Constanza stayed after the practice to take some extra fly balls and grounders in the outfield.

Guys who signed for the fans for the longest times, Craig Kimbrel, Uggla, Justin Upton, Freeman and Jason Heyward.  Heyward signed before on field BP and then after and was very polite to the fans saying “good morning” and continued to say “thank you”.

If you have the chance to catch a practice, it’s worth the drive.  I had a great time and the facility is wonderful and very fan appreciative.  Tickets for adults are $16 and for kids nine or younger it’s $11.

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Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

    I totally want one of those new workout jerseys. And a hat.

    The name I haven’t heard yet: Mat Gamel. Thought he’d be the one with the best shot at that bench bat position… but sounds like Hamilton (simply by being present) could have a decent chance to steal it.

    Nice work, Jeff… now go run back up I-4 to Daytona.

    • Jeff Schafer

      You know, I looked for Gamel but didn’t “notice” him.

      The jerseys do look good, the hats look good to on ball players but on the coaches they looked kind of strange.

      The hats seem like they sit to high up on your head almost like having a box.

      thanks, I did have a real good time and it was great hearing the ball off the bat

      • Jeff Schafer

        Well there you go…Braves have released corner INF/OF Mat Gamel. He reinjured his surgically repaired knee last week doing workouts on his own.