Sep 4, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Freddy Garcia (50) chases a shallow fly ball in the fifth inning against the New York Mets at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Atlanta Braves News 3/9/14


Heyward, Upton lead Braves in tie with Marlins; Braves also lose to Nationals

Jason Heyward went 3 for 3, Justin Upton drove in three runs with a single and a double, and an Atlanta Braves split squad tied the Miami Marlins 6-6 on Saturday in a game stopped after nine innings at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The rest of the Braves were in Viera, Fla., where Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche homered to lead the Washington Nationals over the Braves 8-2.

Heyward, who hit his second homer of the spring Friday against Boston, has hits in five straight at-bats, raising his average to .348.

“I’m taking it day to day, but it’s going good,” the right fielder said. “You want to get your swing as soon as possible.”

Upton came into the game batting just .167, but drove in Heyward with a first-inning double and plated him again on a two-run single in the fourth.

“My timing and swing were good,” said the left fielder, who also hit the ball hard in his other at-bat. “It was something to definitely build on.”

After start, Garcia tends to wife in labor

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Freddy Garcia was not able to stick around to discuss his struggles on Saturday against the Marlins. But an explanation was provided when the Braves revealed the 37-year-old veteran had immediately left Champion Stadium after his start to be with his wife, who was in labor at a Miami-area hospital.

“That would distract me,” said Braves bench coach Carlos Tosca, who served as the manager for the split-squad team that played the Marlins in a 6-6 tie before both teams agreed to end the game after nine innings.

Garcia surrendered six hits, issued four walks and was charged with six earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings.



via Miami Herald

Braves’ David Carpenter puts Dodgers’ Juan Uribe homer behind him

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — As many times as he’s played it over in his head, only once this offseason did David Carpenter watch the home run he gave up to Juan Uribe on video.

In a quiet moment at home in Morgantown, W.Va., the Braves’ reliever cued it up on his iPad. Knowing plenty well what was going to happen next – Uribe would send a spinning, chest-high slider into the night sky at Dodger Stadium, the decisive blow in a 4-3 loss that knocked the Braves from the playoffs – Carpenter felt a rush of dread.

“You still get that anxiety, knowing what was going to happen,” Carpenter said.

But he knew he had to keep watching. The stretch, the pitch, the swing, the way Carpenter stood straight up on the mound as Uribe’s ball rocketed overhead, his eyes still on the plate, where the ball was supposed to be nestled safely in catcher Brian McCann‘s glove.

“(I wanted) just to take a look at it, and then just let it rest,” Carpenter said. “I got it over with and said, ‘That’s the last time I’ll look at it.'”



Rant Sports

Jason Heyward Could Be Poised For A Big Year With Atlanta Braves

After struggling to even find the field with the Atlanta Braves a season ago due to injuries, Jason Heyward looks ready for a comeback after his performance today in Spring Training. Against the Miami Marlins, Heyward showed that his bat might do all of the talking for the young outfielder this year.

Opening day is not too far away and if these are the kind of plate appearances manager Fredi Gonzalez can expect from Heyward, he has to be excited. A season ago, the left-handed batter could not find any kind of rhythm with his bat as he finished with a .254 average with only 14 home runs and 38 runs batted in. However, I guess a broken jaw and appendectomy during the season would throw off any player’s rhythm at the plate.

Against the Marlins today, Heyward looked sharp with the bat as he finished the day by going for 3-for-3 before being replaced in the sixth inning. As the leadoff hitter, he hit three singles and scored two runs for the Braves, which is exactly what Gonzalez wants to see out his first batter in the lineup.



Grading On The Curve

Man in the Mirror: Trevor Bauer and Julio Teheran

The enigmatic Trevor Bauer has been one of the most polarizing figures in baseball since the Arizona Diamondbacks selected him third overall in the 2011 MLB Draft. Driven. Stubborn. Talented. Uncoachable. Wicked Arsenal. Inconsistent delivery. Future ace. Future flameout. All terms used to describe a pitcher who turned just 23 in January. Once destined for stardom, a shove out the door in Arizona and a rocky 2013 campaign has dimmed the former Tiger’s seemingly bright future. However, there’s an ace in the making over in Atlanta whose recent success could offer a glimmer of hope for the Indians pitcher.

Julio Teheran’s rise to stardom was anything but graceful. Signed out of Columbia at age 16, the flame-throwing righty quickly rose through the Braves’ system and was rated the top prospect in the organization prior to the 2011 season (and fifth in all of baseball). A September call-up ensued later that season, and a spot in the rotation was all but ensured when Teheran entered 2012 Spring Training as the number one rated right-hand pitching prospect in baseball.

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