Mar 14, 2014; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell (45) comes out to talk with starting pitcher David Hale (57) and catcher Gerald Laird (11) on the mound during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Atlanta Braves News 3/16/14

via Miami Herald

Wren thinks Braves can bridge rotation gap

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — As the Atlanta Braves await word on the extent of Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy‘s elbow ligament damage – both are scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews on Monday – they turned their attention Saturday to moving forward with what they’ve got.

Braves general manager Frank Wren said the Braves are unlikely to make another move at this point, despite knowing now that both Medlen and Beachy are expected to miss significant time and possibly the rest of the season.

“You add, if there’s something that’s better than what you have,” Wren said. “And right now I don’t see that out there.”

The Braves spent $14.1 million to sign Ervin Santana for a one-year contract, going about $10 million over their projected payroll of $100 million after they watched Medlen walk off the mound Sunday clutching his right arm. After revealing five days later that Beachy could face season-ending surgery, too, the Braves believe they have what they need to get through the first two weeks of the season, a stretch when they’ll be their thinnest.

They’ll likely go with some combination of Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Freddy Garcia and David Hale to start the season, using off days to manage the four-man rotation.

Wren said Santana, who threw his first live batting practice Friday, should be ready to work into the rotation about the time the Braves need a fifth starter April 12. Wren said Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd should return a week or two after that.

Minor was late starting his throwing program after Dec. 31 urinary-tract surgery and experienced some shoulder soreness when he started throwing last month. Minor is building his arm strength. He has thrown four bullpen sessions and expects to throw his first live batting practice either Monday or Tuesday.

Final bullpen spots up in air due to injuries

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — With Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachyseemingly destined to undergo season-ending elbow surgery, the Braves have obviously been forced to alter their rotation plans. But these injuries have also made it harder to project who might fill the final available spots in the bullpen.

After getting another look at a few of the bullpen candidates during Saturday’s 6-2 loss to the Cardinals, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he is planning to begin the season with a 12-man pitching staff. This means there would be room for eight relievers as the club goes through the season’s first 10 games with a four-man starting rotation.

Closer Craig KimbrelLuis AvilanJordan WaldenDavid Carpenter and Anthony Varvaro are the locks to begin the year in Atlanta’s bullpen. The top right-handed candidates to fill the available spots are the hard-throwing Juan JaimeLuis Vasquez and Gus Schlosser.

Ryan BuchterAtahualpa Severino and Ian Thomas stand as the top left-handed candidates. Buchter, the only member of this trio on the 40-man roster, has made four consecutive scoreless appearances since struggling through the early portion of the exhibition season.




Gus Schlosser allows three runs in Braves 6-2 loss to Cardinals

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Joe Kelly pitched into the sixth inning and had three hits to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Saturday.

Kelly went 5 1-3 innings, allowing four hits and a run. He became the first pitcher to have three hits in a spring training game since Chris Volstad did it for the Marlins in 2010.

Kelly singled three times, drove in two runs and scored twice.

The right-hander made 37 appearances for the Cardinals last season, including 15 starts, and went 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA. He pitched into the postseason and said he feels like a permanent part of the staff heading into the season.

“I went deep into the game,” Kelly said. “I had some quick outs and that should always be a goal for me. I saw the whole lineup.”

The Braves, still reeling from the possibility of beginning the season without ailing pitchers Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen, started non-roster invitee Gus Schlosser, who allowed three runs, two earned, and four hits in four innings.

He struck out five and did not walk a batter.



Rowland’s Office

Matt Young redux

You may have forgotten Matt Young, the diminutive 28-year-old outfielder who started the 2011 season on the 25-man roster. An inability to hit the ball out of the infield ended his Braves career after the 20 games — a pretty good over/under for Tyler Greene, likely to win the final bench spot because A.) He’s an infielder; B.) Tyler Pastornicky is still rehabbing from injury; and C.) The remaining competition is Phil Gosselin and 23-year-old Elmer Reyes, who hit .285 at Class-A Lynchburg last season. It’s not like Greene, a former No. 1 pick by St. Louis, has impressed this spring, striking out 9 times in 23 AB. He struck out 95 times in 305 AB in 2012 when he appeared in 116 games for the Cards and Astros. Greene, 30, did hit 11 homers that year, so he’s got some pop. But that’s about it.

Tags: Atlanta Braves

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