Aug 3, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Brandon Beachy (37) pitches in the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Atlanta Braves News 3/11


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MLB

Early bout of bad luck to test Braves this season

Just when the Atlanta Braves probably thought the news couldn’t get worse …

“Sometimes it feels like a trapdoor has been pulled,” general manager Frank Wren said.

Aug 9, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Brandon Beachy (37) pitches in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Monday was one of those days. Three weeks before Opening Day, three of Wren’s top four starters – Kris MedlenMike Minor and Brandon Beachy – are dealing with injuries. Stay tuned for further developments.

Until then, the Braves will worry and wait. To say a season hangs in the balance wouldn’t be an overstatement.

“I know people get tired of hearing it,” Wren said, “but it’s why every general manager, when they talk about their team, they always have that disclaimer, ‘Assuming health.’ We’re no different. Assuming health, we like our team. Assuming health, everything could work. We say it because that’s the business we’re in.”

On the other hand, the Braves have a deep farm system and a history of winning. If Wren needs to acquire a veteran starter, he probably has the depth to do it at some point in the season. But starters are almost impossible to acquire at this time of the year as every team rides optimism toward Opening Day.

He could also make a run at free agent Ervin Santana. The Braves would lose their first-round Draft choice — 26th overall — but they’re in win-now mode.

And the Braves have some organizational depth, specifically rookie David Hale and veteran Freddy Garcia. (Wren also signed veteran Gavin Floyd, but he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery and could be sidelined another three months or so.)

 

MLB Trade Rumors

Atlanta Braves Rumors

7:26pm: After throwing a 2-inning simulated game today, Santana may still wait a day or two before choosing a destination, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (Twitter links, in Spanish).

The Braves are indeed very interested, with financial concerns the main limitation. Meanwhile, the Royals have put in a call on Santana. The Blue Jays and Orioles have standing offers out, Rojas adds.

2:21pm: O’Brien hears from a person connected to the Royals that the Braves may now be making a run at Santana (Twitter link). In addition to Medlen’s injury, Brandon Beachy left today’s Spring Training start with biceps tightness.

10:17am: The Braves haven’t completely ruled out Santana in the event of a serious Medlen injury, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, but the financial and draft pick costs are definite factors. Atlanta would very much like to strengthen its crop of top prospects, and sacrificing the No. 26 selection in the draft would go against that thinking.

 

Stargazette

Horseheads’ Dylan Manwaring hard at work at Atlanta Braves spring training

Looking at last year as a learning and growing experience, Dylan Manwaring enters his second season of professional baseball confident of taking another step toward his goal of playing in the major leagues.

The Horseheads resident, drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the ninth round of the 2013 first-year player draft, is now in Orlando for spring training with other prospects from the Braves organization, including major leaguers.

Manwaring, 19, is staying in a nearby apartment and rooms with pitcher Alec Grosser of Alexandria, Va. Both played for the Braves’ Gulf Coast Rookie League team last season. Manwaring said he gets to the park each day anywhere from 6:30 to 7 a.m. and is finished by early afternoon.

“I do some individual work, some team work, some batting practice and then call it a day,” he said.

Atlanta drafted Manwaring to play third base, and he has been working extensively with Luis Lopez, the Braves roving minor league infield instructor. Lopez played 11 seasons in the majors with the New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles.

While he picked up the nuances of playing third, hitting was a struggle in Manwaring’s first pro season. He batted .131 (14 of 107) in 37 games and had one extra-base hit.

“A lot of coaches I talked to, they said it’s just something that happens in the first year of pro ball,” he said. “Mentally, the toughest thing day in and day out is getting used to that. I learned a lot about confidence and not getting so frustrated. I just forgot about last year.”

 

Chicago Tribune

Sox send Stewart to Braves

The White Sox sent minor league starter Zach Stewart to Atlanta on Monday for cash considerations.

Stewart, originally acquired from Toronto in the Edwin Jackson deal in 2011, was in his second stint in the Sox organization.

He went 6-14 at Triple-A Charlotte last year with a 4.25 earned-run average and was not in the running to make the major league roster.

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