Braves still figuring out rotation behind Teheran

Braves still figuring out rotation behind Teheran

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Braves named right-hander Julio Teheran their Opening Day starter on Friday, but they still have a few details about their rotation to iron out before Teheran takes the mound April 6 in Miami.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Saturday that the fifth spot in the rotation is "still up in the air," and the team isn't ready to officially announce how the other starters will line up behind Teheran.

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

Teheran earns Opening Day assignment for Braves

April 6 start vs. Marlins will be second consecutive nod for right-hander

Teheran earns Opening Day assignment for Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has been among the many who have long assumed Julio Teheran will make his second consecutive Opening Day start for Atlanta this year. But Gonzalez did not make it official until he shared a brief casual exchange with his young right-hander after Friday's rain-shortened win over the Red Sox.

Teheran responded with a smile and then prepared to speak to the group of reporters who were standing nearby waiting to ask him about being given the chance to start the April 6 season opener in Miami.

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

Left side of 'pen still unsettled for Braves

Left side of 'pen still unsettled for Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- James Russell and Josh Outman came to Spring Training with definite reasons to believe they would begin the upcoming season in Atlanta's bullpen. But the struggles these two left-handers have experienced over the past couple weeks have simply added to the many Opening Day roster decisions the Braves still have to make.

Though the Braves could choose to keep both Russell and Outman, they also have the option to release either, and then pay them what would amount to approximately a quarter of their salary for the upcoming season.

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

Braves bench rounding into form

Braves bench rounding into form

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Kelly Johnson further strengthened his bid to gain a spot on Atlanta's Opening Day roster when he homered off Clay Buchholz in the sixth inning of Friday's rain-shortened 4-2 win over the Red Sox at Champion Stadium.

"That's something he can do for the club, hit one out of the ballpark from the left side," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "So, it's going to be kind of interesting as this last [week] winds down."

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

Teheran sharp, Ciriaco strong in rain-shortened game

Starter allows just two runs over 5 2/3 innings

Teheran sharp, Ciriaco strong in rain-shortened game

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Pedro Ciriaco cleared the bases with a three-run double off Clay Buchholz and Julio Teheran completed six strong innings as the Braves claimed a 4-2 win in a rain-shortened game over the Red Sox on Friday afternoon at Champion Stadium. Ciriaco's second-inning double accounted for the only runs Buchholz allowed until his day concluded with Kelly Johnson's leadoff homer in the sixth inning. The only two runs Teheran allowed over 5 ⅔ innings came via Mookie Betts' fourth-inning homer.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

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Mark Bowman and Ian Browne are reporters for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Backup search still on as Braves option E. Perez

Outfielder among three sent to Triple-A; club considering how to handle center

Backup search still on as Braves option E. Perez

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Braves are still looking both internally and externally for a backup outfielder who can handle the center-field position. But Eury Perez is no longer in that mix.

Before Friday's game against the Red Sox, the Braves optioned Perez, left-handed pitcher Manny Banuelos and right-handed pitcher Williams Perez to Triple-A Gwinnett.

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

C. Johnson, Gomes go deep as Braves best Bucs

Given early five-run cushion, Wandy allows four runs over five innings

C. Johnson, Gomes go deep as Braves best Bucs

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Braves jumped out to a big lead in the first inning and beat the Pirates, 7-5, on Thursday afternoon at McKechnie Field.

After the Pirates chipped away at a five-run deficit and eventually tied the game at 5 in the eighth inning, Jonny Gomes led off the ninth with his first Braves homer, a blast to left field off lefty Clayton Richard. Later in the inning, Jesus Flores singled home Chris Johnson to make it 7-5.

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

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."

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

Fredi unlikely to implement strict platoon in left or at third

Braves manager says he'll 'play it by ear' with Gomes, C. Johnson

Fredi unlikely to implement strict platoon in left or at third

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Though there will be some days when left fielder Jonny Gomes and third baseman Chris Johnson will not play against select right-handed starters, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has maintained that he does not see the need to employ a strict platoon at either of those positions.

"You pick your spots with kind of like soft platoons," Gonzalez said. "You pick your best eight [position players] every single day. Some days, you go with a matchup. Sometimes you feel that even though he's right-handed [and you're facing a right-hander], if you feel like he can give you some good at-bats, you go with it. For me, it's not a strict platoon situation. We'll play it by ear."

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

Despite shaky outing, Wandy remains in rotation mix

Braves continue to talk with clubs who have expressed interest in veteran lefty

Despite shaky outing, Wandy remains in rotation mix

BRADENTON, Fla. -- After spending most of the month exceeding expectations, Wandy Rodriguez took the mound at McKechnie Field on Thursday afternoon and provided reason to wonder what he might be capable of providing once the season begins.

Still, after watching Rodriguez allow his former Pirates teammates four earned runs and eight hits over five innings, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he still considered the veteran southpaw as one of the top candidates to fill one of the two vacancies in Atlanta's rotation.

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

Fredi effusive in praise of retiring catcher Buck

Veteran worked with Bethancourt, other young Braves backstops in camp

Fredi effusive in praise of retiring catcher Buck

BRADENTON, Fla. -- John Buck never established himself as a strong candidate to become a part of Atlanta's Opening Day roster. But before opting to announce his retirement Thursday, the highly respected veteran catcher spent the past month making a strong impression on the Braves' coaching staff.

"I told him he left this place better than when he got here," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I only knew him for five weeks, but I wish I had spent five years with him because he's a tremendous presence in that locker room. I know a lot of guys in that clubhouse are going to miss him. He can get back in this game whenever he wants as a coach or as an executive. I think his pedigree and reputation will make it easy for him to get back in the game whenever he wants."

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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.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. 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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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