NL East Links: Marlins, Perez, Peterson, Braves
- Mike Minor seems likely to be the next Braves player to receive a multiyear extension,David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution predicts. O’Brien also thinks that whileKris Medlen is a bit older (28) than the other youngsters being locked up by the club, Medlen’s performance is deserving of a long-term commitment from the team. Minor, 26, has three arbitration years remaining as a Super Two player and is eligible for free agency after the 2017 season. A Medlen extension would be more expensive for Atlanta, as Medlen is only under team control through the 2015 campaign.
Atlanta Braves’ Opening Day Starter Should Be Kris Medlen
Opening Day of the 2014 season is just over a month away and most every team is looking to answer many questions before the dawn of the first game appears. One question that will come up over the course of the next few weeks is, “Who will start opening day for your team?”
For some teams, they have clear-cut pitchers that will go out there. The New York Yankees have C.C. Sabathia and the Los Angeles Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw. However, not every team has it that easy. In the Atlanta Braves’ case, they have three real options for that nod: Mike Minor, Kris Medlen and Julio Teheran.
In Spring Training, Minor has yet to pitch due to a procedure done just a few days ago. According to the team, he will be ready for the first series of the regular season against the Milwaukee Brewers. Teheran has had himself a nice offseason, signing a big extension with the team that will keep him in Atlanta for six more years. Finally, Medlen has had a quiet offseason; no injuries and no contract extensions. Overall, any of these three men could start Opening Day for the team and do a darn good job at it.
Braves’ Uggla felt good even before 2-for-2 in opener
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — When Dan Uggla hit .200 with two extra-base hits and 25 strikeouts in 75 at-bats at spring training a year ago, no one knew it would set the tone for a career-worst season for the Braves second baseman.
He knows not to make too much of one game in late February, but Uggla went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles in four innings of work Wednesday during a Grapefruit League-opening 5-4 Braves loss to the Tigers.
“The most encouraging thing? Just that I feel like me again,” Uggla said. “It’s Day 1. I’m going to have to keep working. I’ve got a long way to go. But it’s encouraging to be going in the direction I’m going, and feel the way I feel. I’m excited where I’m at and looking to build on this.”
Uggla posted career worsts last season in average (.179), on-base percentage (.309) and slugging percentage (.362), and matched a career-high with a franchise-record 171 strikeouts in 448 at-bats. He had laser eye surgery in August in hopes of getting back on track before the playoffs, but Uggla was left off the Braves’ postseason roster.
Emerging from darkness, Gattis grateful for new story
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Somewhere in his long search for spiritual guidance, Evan Gattis found the happiness he needed to return to a baseball world that not so long ago had fueled the depression he had felt dating back to his childhood.
Over the past two years, Gattis has repeatedly discussed the unique journey he experienced after he walked away from baseball in 2006 with the intention to never play again.
As he prepares to spend this upcoming season as the Braves’ starting catcher, some have continued to marvel at the fact that he has reached his current position after spending his four years away from the game working odd jobs that included stints as a janitor and nights sleeping in a teepee at a ski resort in Taos, N.M.
Others, including Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez‘s wife, have cried when they have read or heard about the time he had to beg for food after running out of money while visiting a spiritual healer in New York City.
But Gattis is the only individual who truly understands the agony that consumed him and led him to experience this wayward journey that included stints at a drug rehab clinic and a mental ward that he was admitted to after being reintroduced to the suicidal thoughts that had truly started to consume him after he left his suburban Dallas residence to attend junior college.