Bench spots yet to be determined as season draws near

Almonte, Gosselin, Perez, K. Johnson and Terdoslavich among Braves in running

Bench spots yet to be determined as season draws near

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has a pretty good feel for how his Opening Day lineup will look and who will serve as his starting pitchers for the first three games of the season. But over the next week, he will have to determine exactly how he wants to round out his bench.

"There are some situations if we make a decision, the other guy doesn't go away," Gonzalez said. "So it buys us another month or two weeks or three weeks to keep evaluating him. For example, if we break with a certain outfielder and it doesn't work, the other outfielder that didn't make the club is still with us in the organization. So we've got some flexibility there."

More

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Follow the leaders: Braves value veterans' presence

Gomes, Grilli, Markakis, Pierzynski bring character missing from last year's clubhouse

Follow the leaders: Braves value veterans' presence

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Though Dale Murphy was not with the Braves as they captured 14 consecutive division titles, he influenced this successful run via the leadership he provided Tom Glavine and John Smoltz during their earliest years at the Major League level.

When John Schuerholz became Atlanta's general manager before the start of the memorable worst-to-first 1991 season, he accounted for Murphy's absence by filling his roster with Terry Pendleton and Sid Bream, a couple of aging veterans who made an immediate impact on the field and a lasting impact on the organization via the direction they provided Glavine, Smoltz and ultimately Chipper Jones. Once Jones retired at the conclusion of the 2012 season, the Braves were fortunate to still have the leadership provided by Tim Hudson and Brian McCann.

More

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Veteran catcher Buck announces retirement

Played for seven teams in 11 seasons, was AL All-Star in 2010

Veteran catcher Buck announces retirement

Veteran catcher John Buck, who was in Spring Training camp with the Braves, announced his retirement Thursday in order to spend more time with his family.

The 34-year-old played for seven teams in 11 Major League seasons from 2004-14. He appeared in 1,090 games and collected 844 hits.

More

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fredi confident Markakis will be ready for opener

Vet plays right field for first time since neck surgery

Fredi confident Markakis will be ready for opener

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After getting a chance to watch Nick Markakis collect some plate appearances and reintroduce himself to game action the past two days, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez seems to be even more confident that the veteran outfielder will be ready for Opening Day.

"With his swing and approach, I'm thinking [he needs] 25 to 30 at-bats," Gonzalez said. "We can get him 30 in a week if we need to in those Minor League games. So, I'm really shooting for Opening Day."

More

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Foltynewicz rattled by Phils, but still in rotation mix

Braves' No. 2 prospect gives up two homers, two walks in 2 2/3 innings

Foltynewicz rattled by Phils, but still in rotation mix

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Though the Braves entered Spring Training hoping Mike Foltynewicz would begin the season in the rotation, they have been prepared for the possibility that this immensely talented arm would need more seasoning at the Minor League level.

With the regular season a little less than two weeks away, the Braves have not finalized their rotation. But Foltynewicz certainly influenced the lingering decisions as he labored through 2 2/3 innings during Tuesday's 5-3 loss to the Phillies at Champion Stadium.

More

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With improved range of motion, Minor resumes throwing

Left-hander battling shoulder tightness, may be ready in early May

With improved range of motion, Minor resumes throwing

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Now that Mike Minor has spent the past couple of weeks completing the stretching exercises prescribed by Dr. James Andrews, he is hopeful that his left shoulder will be more cooperative than it was over the past year.

Minor will get a better sense of where he stands now that he has started throwing again. He began his program on Tuesday, when he completed two sets of 15 throws from a distance of 60 feet. The Braves southpaw had been shut down since he experienced tightness around his left shoulder during his second live batting practice session of the year on March 3.

More

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Terdoslavich injures hand on unassisted double play

Terdoslavich injures hand on unassisted double play

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Joey Terdoslavich has positioned himself for a potential spot on the Opening Day roster. But his candidacy has been weakened, as he's struggled at the plate recently and missed the past three games because of a left hand injury he sustained while completing a unique unassisted double play.

Terdoslavich injured his hand playing first base against the Cardinals on Saturday. He rolled on it while tagging Dean Anna to complete a double play that began with him fielding a bunt and tagging Yadier Molina between third and home plate. He has kept the injured area wrapped the past couple days, and he hopes to return to action for Thursday's game against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.

More

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Folty gives up two homers in rotation audition

Righty walks two, fans four; Simmons mashes two-run shot

Folty gives up two homers in rotation audition

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf damaged Mike Foltynewicz's rotation bid with back-to-back third-inning home runs, and Brian Bogusevic delivered a decisive eighth-inning sacrifice fly for the Phillies in Tuesday afternoon's 5-3 win over the Braves at Champion Stadium.

Howard's third home run of the Grapefruit League season highlighted the Phillies' offensive charge, after they struck first with Bogusevic's second-inning RBI single. The Braves remained scoreless until Andrelton Simmons highlighted a game-tying, three-run seventh with a two-run homer off Paul Clemens.

More

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Markakis gets comfortable quickly in spring debut

Outfielder goes 2-for-3 in first game since December neck surgery

Markakis gets comfortable quickly in spring debut

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It appears Braves right fielder Nick Markakis knew what he was talking about when he spent the past couple weeks repeatedly saying that it would not take him much time to gain comfort at the plate once he was cleared to begin playing games.

Markakis showed no signs of rust or uneasiness as he served as the designated hitter through the first four innings of Monday afternoon's 14-10 win over the Astros. As the veteran outfielder recorded a pair of hits, including a double that bruised the right-center-field wall, he provided no indication that he was playing in his first game since undergoing neck surgery in December.

More

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Minor's lingering injury opens door in rotation

Left-hander still dealing with shoulder discomfort; Foltynewicz to start Tuesday

Minor's lingering injury opens door in rotation

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As the Braves spend the next week determining how to fill the final two spots of their rotation, they are hoping that Mike Minor eventually proves healthy enough to become a permanent part of this quartet.

But accounting for the lingering left shoulder discomfort that Minor felt all of last season and again after just two weeks of this year's Spring Training, the Braves know that it would not be wise to make any assumptions regarding his availability.

More

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves still working to figure out Toscano's visa issues

Cuban outfielder awaiting clearance to enter United States

Braves still working to figure out Toscano's visa issues

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Though the Braves never envisioned Dian Toscano opening the season at the Major League level, they were at least hoping to get a glimpse of the Cuban outfielder during Spring Training.

But with Opening Day just two weeks away, Toscano still has not gained the clearance necessary for him to enter the United States to begin his employment as a professional baseball player. One Braves source indicated that it might be another month before the outfielder is granted the visa he needs to enter this country.

More

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Johnson takes part in fantasy mock draft

Johnson takes part in fantasy mock draft

Here at MLB.com, we have plenty of fantasy baseball expertise. But no one can dispute that the Major League players whom we analyze have their own level of knowledge. Knowing this, we decided to solicit advice from them about how to build the perfect fantasy team. The result is the first ever -- that we know of -- players-only fantasy mock draft.

Ten players with an interest in fantasy baseball agreed to take part in a three-round mock draft with the help of MLB.com reporters, who relayed picks across the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues.

More

Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy editor for MLB.com. Reporting done by Adam McCalvy, Rhett Bollinger, Alden Gonzalez, Mark Bowman, Jane Lee, Brittany Ghiroli, Steve Gilbert, Brian McTaggart and Joe Frisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Simmons leads offensive surge in Markakis' debut

Shortstop knocks in four runs; Braves' big offseason acquisition goes 2-for-3

Simmons leads offensive surge in Markakis' debut

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Andrelton Simmons drove in four runs, including an RBI single with the bases loaded in the first inning and added a two-run double in the third, to send the Braves to an early five-run lead and a 14-10 victory over the Astros on Monday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium.

Astros starter Scott Feldman struggled in his three innings of work, allowing seven hits, five runs and two walks in three innings. He allowed two runs in the first, stranding the bases loaded, and worked a 1-2-3 second before the Braves tagged him with three runs in the fifth.

More

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Schlehuber among 3 reassigned to Minors camp

Right-hander Marimon, left-hander Veal also sent down

Schlehuber among 3 reassigned to Minors camp

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- After spending the past few years as just one of the many extra catchers brought to Spring Training, Braeden Schlehuber spent the past month providing an indication that he stands as the most talented of the Major League-ready catchers in Atlanta's Minor League system.

Unfortunately, Schlehuber's time in Major League camp came to a close on Monday morning, when the Braves reassigned him, right-handed pitcher Sugar Ray Marimon and left-handed reliever Donnie Veal to Minor League camp.

More

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Spring growth: Miller exhibiting talent, elite potential

After rocky debut, Braves starter has been stingy for three straight outings, including Sunday's 5 IP

Spring growth: Miller exhibiting talent, elite potential

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Shelby Miller took another step Sunday toward making his inauspicious Braves debut from two weeks ago even more of a distant memory.

The right-hander limited the Tigers to just one run over a spring-high five innings, while notching four strikeouts and issuing just one walk in Atlanta's 5-3 win. Miller has now limited the opposition to two combined runs over 12 innings in his three outings since allowing four runs in just one-third of an inning in his rocky spring debut.

More

Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Johnson taking veteran approach in stating spring case

Journeying utility player finding stroke at plate after quiet start at Braves camp

Johnson taking veteran approach in stating spring case

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Veteran utility man Kelly Johnson has been around long enough to understand the intricacies of Spring Training. While the stats and team records may not matter in the grand scheme of things, the reality is what happens in these games can matter a lot more for some players than others.

"Everybody's in a different position right now," Johnson said. "Some guys, the goal is just to stay healthy until the season starts, some guys it's to work on this or work on that, and some other guys really need to go out and perform to show what it looks like when they're locked in."

More

Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Shelby sets tone; Gomes, Ciriaco pace offense

Braves starter tosses third straight strong outing; infielder hits decisive two-run single

Shelby sets tone; Gomes, Ciriaco pace offense

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Braves right-hander Shelby Miller turned in a third consecutive impressive outing on Sunday, and after a Tigers split squad -- featuring the debut of slugger Victor Martinez -- rallied late to tie, Pedro Ciriaco's two-run single off Josh Zeid in the eighth lifted Atlanta to a 5-3 victory.

Miller limited the Tigers to just one run on four hits, while also notching four strikeouts over a spring-high five innings. Miller has now allowed just two runs over 12 innings in his last three outings after being tagged for four runs while recording only one out in his spring debut.

More

Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stults stays in rotation mix with strong outing

Lefty works 5 innings against Nats to follow tone set by Foltynewicz, Rodriguez

Stults stays in rotation mix with strong outing

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After watching Mike Foltynewicz and Wandy Rodriguez bolster their rotation bids this week, Eric Stults took the mound on Saturday afternoon and gave the Braves further reason to continue considering him as a legit candidate to begin the season as one of their five starters.

Though Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated on Friday that Rodriguez has positioned himself for one of the two vacancies in the Atlanta rotation, other members of the organization are keeping an open mind as they enter the final two weeks of Spring Training.

More

Mark Bowman is the Braves beat reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cunningham, Gomes fuel split-squad win over Nats

Braves' rotation candidate Stults solid in 5-inning outing

Cunningham, Gomes fuel split-squad win over Nats

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Todd Cunningham's RBI single capped the Braves' three-run fourth inning that propelled Atlanta's split squad to a 5-2 victory against the Nationals on Saturday afternoon.

After Nationals starter Taylor Jordan surrendered just one hit through three scoreless innings, the Braves started rolling against Evan Meek, who allowed hits to three of the first four batters he faced. Kelly Johnson's double off the center-field wall set the stage for Jonny Gomes to follow with a game-tying, two-run single. Cunningham's single to right scored Gomes with the go-ahead run.

More

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wang impresses for Braves in pitchers' duel

Roster hopeful goes toe-to-toe with Cardinals' ace before 9th-inning walk-off

Wang impresses for Braves in pitchers' duel

JUPITER, Fla. -- Dean Anna's ninth-inning single knocked in the only run of the game as the Cardinals edged the Braves, 1-0, on Saturday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium. It also allowed Anna to atone for his part in a strange double play two innings earlier.

The clear storyline for the Cardinals was the return of ace right-hander Adam Wainwright, who was making his first start of the spring. But Chien-Ming Wang, who isn't assured a spot on the roster, was just as effective for the Braves.

More

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves' Terdoslavich makes a solo double play

|
Braves' Terdoslavich makes a solo double play

The Cardinals have runners at first and third base. A blooper is hit down the line to Braves first baseman Joey Terdoslavich. Does he make the tag at first base for the first out of the inning?

No, no he does not.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Braves face Heyward for first time since trade

Atlanta manager not surprised that right fielder is fitting right in with Cardinals

Braves face Heyward for first time since trade

JUPITER, Fla. -- When the Cardinals acquired outfielder Jason Heyward from the Braves, it was one of the more surprising trades of the winter. The 25-year-old outfielder, after all, had long been considered one of Atlanta's cornerstones.

On Saturday at Roger Dean Stadium, the inevitable moment finally arrived: Heyward faced his former team for the first time.

More

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Minors camp offers arms chance to build strength

Teheran, Wood among Braves pitchers to get in work on backfields

Minors camp offers arms chance to build strength

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez does not necessarily like having his veteran hurlers pitch in Minor League Spring Training games. But with Opening Day quickly approaching, he is running out of time to evaluate some of the candidates for rotation and bullpen spots.

Thus, Craig Kimbrel, Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Jason Grilli and Jim Johnson have all pitched in Minor League games over the past week. This has allowed Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell a chance to provide Grapefruit League innings to roster hopefuls who have a greater need to prove themselves against Major League-caliber opponents.

More

Mark Bowman is the Braves beat reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rodriguez continues to impress in audition for rotation

Five-inning no-hitter vs. Marlins solidifies starter's case

Rodriguez continues to impress in audition for rotation

JUPITER, Fla. -- Prior to Friday night's Grapefruit League game against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was asked if this was a make-or-break outing for starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez.

Gonzalez said that was not the case at all for the veteran left-hander.

More

Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gonzalez saw greatness early in Stanton

Braves manager admires outfielder's work ethic

Gonzalez saw greatness early in Stanton

JUPITER, Fla. -- Fredi Gonzalez was let go by the Marlins in 2010 right about the time that Giancarlo Stanton made his Major League debut, and prior to the Braves game Friday night against Miami, Gonzalez reflected on Stanton before he became the mega star outfielder he is today.

"He was so impressive," Gonzalez said of Stanton. "He came up for a couple of Spring Trainings as a Minor League kid and I had an opportunity to watch him play, and I always figured out a way to get him in a game."

More

Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wandy no-hits Marlins for five innings but bullpen can't hold lead

Lefty starter stays out of trouble with seven strikeouts

Wandy no-hits Marlins for five innings but bullpen can't hold lead

JUPITER, Fla. -- Held hitless by Wandy Rodriguez for five innings, the Marlins finally came to life in the late innings Friday night and rallied to a 5-1 win over the Braves at Roger Dean Stadium.

Christian Yelich gave Miami its first hit, a single to center off Luis Avilan, and Martin Prado had a two-run double in a three-run sixth inning. Jordany Valdespin added a run-scoring single in the seventh and Jhonatan Solano closed the scoring with an RBI double in the eighth.

More

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Megan Zahneis

Beachy, Medlen helped by wisdom gained from first surgery

Righties both recovering after a second Tommy John procedure

Beachy, Medlen helped by wisdom gained from first surgery

"[A] surgical operation in which a ligament in the medial elbow is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body (often from the forearm, hamstring, or foot of the patient) … the new tendon is implanted and woven in a figure-eight pattern through holes drilled in the humerus and ulna bones," is how Baseball-Reference.com defines it.

Even the words sound ugly: "ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction." Probably why they call it Tommy John surgery.

More

Megan Zahneis is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Roster competition energizing Braves' clubhouse

Gonzalez needs to fill out rotation, bullpen and bench

Roster competition energizing Braves' clubhouse

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez appears to be energized by the fact that he has approximately two more weeks to evaluate numerous position battles and determine exactly who will fill the final available spots on his Opening Day roster.

"It's added some energy in the clubhouse," Gonzalez said. "It's a good atmosphere because there is competition."

More

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.