Braves Notes: Santana, Payroll, Wren, Medlen
The Braves were the surprise winners of the Ervin Santana sweepstakes, signing a one-year, $14.1MM deal with the free agent right-hander earlier today. We’ve already published one batch of items about how the Santana signing impacts the other teams who were in the hunt for his services, but here’s some news about what the signing means for Atlanta…
- Santana’s deal will raise the Braves’ payroll to around the $107MM threshold, but club chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk has no problem with the added money since the team is “in a winning mode,” he tells MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. “It’s the right time. Money was not the issue so much as, ‘Is it the right time to do it?’ We want to send a message to the guys in this clubhouse, our fans and our sponsors and the whole organization that we expect to win.”
- “The [Braves'] announced move to Cobb County has become the gift that keeps on giving,” Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes (Insider access required). Since the team’s new stadium plan was announced, the Braves have had the financial ability to sign Santana and ink several key players to multiyear extensions.
via Miami Herald
Medlen mentally prepared for 2nd major elbow surgery
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Atlanta Braves pitcher Kris Medlen spent the past few days coming to grips with the reality that he’s almost certainly going to need Tommy John surgery for the second time in five years, after tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow in a game Sunday.
“Mentally preparing myself,” Medlen said Wednesday. “It’s something that I’ve felt before. I think I had all the answers to anybody’s questions in my head when I was walking off the mound. I never do that. When I did it before in 2010, the same thing kind of happened. Nothing’s … ” (Here there was a long pause, as he fought back emotions.) “Nothing’s official, but I think I know and just go from there.”
Medlen has already undergone an MRI exam and other tests that indicate the ligament damage, and he expects to have Tommy John surgery and go through another lengthy rehabilitation process, which he believes will at least be a little easier now that he has a wife and 1-year-old son to help keep him occupied through the grind. The typical 12-month rehab can take a little longer after a second Tommy John surgery.
Medlen will see Dr. James Andrews in the next few days before making a final decision about surgery. Andrews and other orthopedic surgeons have been at a convention in New Orleans that runs through the weekend.
Braves’ Gattis homers in one win, Wood pitches well in another
The Atlanta Braves won a pair of split-squad games on Wednesday, beating the Miami Marlins 3-1 in Jupiter, Fla., and the Washington Nationals 3-2 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
In Jupiter, Evan Gattis hit his first homer of spring training, a fourth-inning solo drive.
Gattis batted .368 with six homers during spring training last year — a fast start he attributed to playing winter ball. He skipped winter ball this offseason.
Now Gattis feels like he’s starting to find his groove. He went 1 for 3 and raised his average to .226.
“That’s what he can do for us swing the bat and put one in the seats real quick,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Henderson Alvarez allowed one run and five hits in 3 2-3 innings, giving up the home run on a sinker. In his first start of spring training, Alvarez retired nine straight batters against St. Louis on Friday. That was his first game action since pitching a no-hitter on the final day last season.
Wood knows he has a lot to live up to in second year
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — As Alex Wood prepares to serve as an integral part of Atlanta’s rotation, he realizes fans and critics will not give him as much leeway as he received last year when he was a successful rookie experiencing his first full season at the professional level.
“I feel more weight on my shoulders now than I ever did last year, because last year if I did well, I exceeded expectations,” Wood said. “If I didn’t, it was, ‘Oh he’s 22 years old,’ or, ‘He went through the Minor Leagues fast, he’s going to have some growing pains.’
“Well, I really didn’t experience many growing pains last year, so now what I did last year is what everyone expects. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. My biggest thing is getting an opportunity. If I get an opportunity, I don’t typically let it get away.”
The Braves saw this confident, competitive spirit last year as Wood compiled a 3.13 ERA in 31 big league appearances (11 starts). As the young left-hander posted a 0.90 ERA in five August starts, he essentially guaranteed himself a spot in Atlanta’s rotation for this upcoming season.
Tags: Atlanta Braves