Feb 16, 2014; Lake Buena Vistas, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Freddy Garcia (34) warms up during workout at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Atlanta Braves News 2/19

Yahoo Sports

Atlantis Casino Says Atlanta Braves Not Favorites in NL East

Are the Washington Nationals a Threat?

In addition to dropping the Braves to only 86.5 projected wins for 2014, Atlantis has also elevated the Nationals to 90.5, making them the prohibitive favorites to come away with the NL East crown this season.

Feb 16, 2014; Lake Buena Vistas, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward (22) looks on during spring training at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

After posting 98 wins in 2012, Washington regressed in 2013 to only accumulate 86 victories and never truly give the Braves a serious challenger for the division title. However, the Nats were 36-25 over the last two months of the season and have some people believing they will be a threat once again in 2014.

Led by Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, the Nationals’ starters were still among the tops in the National League last season, but their offense ranked No. 13 in the NL during the first half of the ear, digging themselves into a hole they were unable to climb out of all season.

The Nats improved their already potent rotation by adding former Detroit Tigers‘ right-hander Doug Fister. But the only major addition to their offense was the signing of former Braves’ disappointment Nate McLouth.

The Braves went 13-6 against Washington last season, but fans should expect a much tighter race this summer.



Braves giveaways/promotions for 2014 season

Post-Game Concerts: As always, there will be two post-game concerts which are free with a paid ticket. The first one is on May 3 featuring Kool & The Gang after the San Francisco Giants game and on June 3, Austin Mahone will perform after the Braves take on the Seattle Mariners. And there will also be Friday Night Fireworks at all Friday games. Pre-game concerts are also in the mix, but I dont’t have information on those yet.

Bobblehead gate giveaways: This year in addition to the standard giveaway (dates and players are listed below) there will also be a fan choice giveaway. Starting on March 17, fans can vote for Jason Heyward, Craig Kimbrel, Justin Upton or Evan Gattis to be the bobblehead giveaway for August 13. Voting will run through April 27. Additional details on the Fan Choice bobblehead will be announced at a later date. The bobblehead lineup is as follows: 

Hall of Fame Poster Giveaway : During July 27th’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Braves will also hold a viewing for the 2014 National Hall of Fame induction. Fans get a free poster. Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux are being inducted.


Fox Sports South

Garcia out to make Braves roster — or walk away

He was once an All-Star and an American League ERA leader and started a World Series-clinching game. But that was more than a decade ago.

Freddy Garcia stood at his locker in the Braves clubhouse at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex, a veteran once again fighting for a spot on a roster. This is the new normal for the 37-year-old, a pursuit that he’s made make-or-break with an edict that he won’t accept an assignment to the minor leagues.

“I like it. I either make the team or I go home,” said the Venezuelan, who in late January inked a minor-league deal worth $1.25 million. “I have to have a good spring and show them I can still get people out.”

It’s what Garcia showed Atlanta last season that’s largely why he’s in camp to begin with. Acquired by the Braves from the Orioles — whose roster he made similarly off a minor-league contract — for cash after he was designated for assignment. Called up from Triple-A Gwinnett, Garcia would go 1-2 with a 1.65 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 20 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings.


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