Phillips propels Braves in Folty's strong outing

Phillips propels Braves in Folty's strong outing

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Mike Leake completed three perfect innings in efficient style, but after he exited, the Braves manufactured a two-run fourth inning that preserved their pitching staff's fine effort in Tuesday afternoon's 2-0 win over the Cardinals at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex.

Brandon Phillips' two-out, two-run double to right field served as the decisive blow against Cardinals non-roster invitee Robby Rowland, who retired just one of the first six batters he faced in the bottom of the fourth inning. Freddie Freeman fueled the rally with the first of his two singles.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pickoffs punctuate Folty's scoreless debut

Pickoffs punctuate Folty's scoreless debut

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Mike Foltynewicz certainly found an odd way to begin his bid to secure the final spot in the Braves' rotation. In fact, he might never experience another inning that evolves quite like the first completed this season.

Making his Grapefruit League season debut in the Braves' 2-0 win over the Cardinals on Tuesday at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex, Foltynewicz faced the minimum in the first inning, despite allowing two hits and issuing a walk. He escaped damage courtesy of two pickoffs, including one that led to two outs.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hey, brother: Garcia siblings reunite at camp

Cards' Adolis on Braves' Adonis: 'I would like to follow in his footsteps'

Hey, brother: Garcia siblings reunite at camp

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When the Rays traveled to Cuba to play the Cuban National team this past year, Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia attentively watched the game to get a glimpse of the nation and the brother he left behind when he defected in 2010 to pursue his dream to play in the United States.

Before the Braves played the Cardinals on Tuesday at at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex, Adonis simply had to walk across the field to proudly stand next to his brother, 24-year-old outfielder Jose Adolis Garcia, who signed a Minor League deal with St. Louis on Friday.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillips 'a kid in a candy store' around McGriff, Klesko

Growing up, Atlanta native admired Braves' special instructors

Phillips 'a kid in a candy store' around McGriff, Klesko

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As an Atlanta native who spent his adolescence following the great teams the Braves fielded throughout the 1990s, Brandon Phillips has delighted in the opportunity to spend this week interacting with Fred McGriff and Ryan Klesko, who are currently in Atlanta's camp as special guest instructors.

"I've been following this organization for a long period of time, and I was watching all of those guys when they were playing," Phillips said. "When they do come around, it's like I'm a kid in a candy store. I'm just happy to meet the guys up close."

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fried mows down heart of Tigers' order

Known for his curve, prospect commands darting fastball

Fried mows down heart of Tigers' order

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Making every effort to calm his nerves and stay within himself, Max Fried purposely avoided knowing whom he would face before he made his Grapefruit League debut.

But when presented the challenge of facing Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton during the sixth inning of Monday's 10-7 loss to the Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, the highly regarded Braves pitching prospect provided a glimpse of why he has a chance to reach the Majors this year, despite never having previously pitched above the Class A level.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Suzuki has no qualms catching knuckleball

Suzuki has no qualms catching knuckleball

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Though Kurt Suzuki and Tyler Flowers will both spend some time getting acquainted with R.A. Dickey's knuckleball, the Braves will eventually determine who will serve as Dickey's primary catcher once the regular season begins.

Suzuki established himself as an early favorite as he capably took advantage of the opportunity to be behind the plate as Dickey made his Grapefruit League season debut during Monday's 10-7 loss to the Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Swanson feeling 'comfortable' in camp

Swanson feeling 'comfortable' in camp

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Having had the opportunity to experience his first big league Spring Training last year and then spend the regular season's final six weeks at the Major League level, Dansby Swanson returned to this year's Braves camp with a better understanding of what to expect.

"Each year you learn a little bit of something," Swanson said after the Braves' 10-7 loss to the Tigers on Monday. "Everywhere you go, you learn a little bit of something. Being able to experience big league camp for the amount of time I did last year helped me grow and become more comfortable with what I needed to do to be ready for this time of year."

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Freeman notches 3 RBIs, 2 hits vs. Tigers

Tigers' offense springs to life with eight-run eighth inning

Freeman notches 3 RBIs, 2 hits vs. Tigers

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann took a step toward putting an injury-plagued 2016 season behind him with two solid innings in his first Grapefruit League start this spring before an eight-run eighth inning sent the Tigers to a 10-7 win over the Braves on Monday at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Freddie Freeman went 2-for-3 with three RBIs while Adonis Garcia had three hits and two RBIs as the Braves built a 6-2 lead, but Andrew Romine's two-run double -- a fly ball that Micah Johnson lost in the sun -- and Miguel Gonzalez's two-run single put the Tigers ahead for good.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Teheran staying true to regular-season prep

Pitcher hasn't let '17 Classic participation affect Spring Training

Teheran staying true to regular-season prep

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As Julio Teheran answered a question about whether his preparations for the World Baseball Classic influenced how he approached the two innings completed in Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Astros, his Braves teammate Freddie Freeman playfully chimed in by saying he now has a good scouting report for the upcoming matchup between Canada and Colombia.

"Threw a lot of offspeed [pitches] in hitter's counts, I took that to note," Freeman said, standing a few steps from Teheran's locker. "That 1-0 slider you threw late that had a little sink. I was scouting him the whole game."

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Freeman leads offense in Teheran's strong start

Freeman leads offense in Teheran's strong start

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Freddie Freeman recorded two hits and his former Atlanta teammate Evan Gattis enjoyed his return to ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex on Sunday, as the Astros used Max Stassi's two-run homer in the eighth inning to claim a 3-2 win over the Braves.

Stassi's two-run shot off Jose Ramirez proved decisive for the Astros as they claimed their first win of the Grapefruit League season. Ramirez notched a pair of strikeouts in a scoreless seventh inning, but he retired just two of five batters faced in the eighth.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Albies anxious to see big league play

After injury rehab, prospect could make Grapefruit League debut soon

Albies anxious to see big league play

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After spending the past few weeks patiently undergoing the final stages of rehab for his freak elbow fracture, highly regarded Braves prospect Ozzie Albies is now anxious to make his Grapefruit League debut, possibly early next week.

With Brandon Phillips set to serve as their second baseman, the Braves really have no reason to rush Albies, who is likely at least a few months away from being Major League ready. But there is still a chance the 20-year-old prospect could begin playing in Spring Training games as early as March 7, when the Braves are scheduled to play the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dickey knows he's 'capable of a lot more'

Veteran knuckleballer anticipating first spring start with Braves

Dickey knows he's 'capable of a lot more'

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Though his final season with the Blue Jays was not as successful as he had wished, R.A. Dickey is approaching this season genuinely confident in his ability to give the Braves possibly more than they envisioned when they signed him to a one-year, $8 million contract in November.

"I knew I was capable of a lot more, which is why I'm here," Dickey said. "If I didn't, I would have retired."

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Colon puts focus on location more than results

In debut, Braves hurler effective in 2 innings of work

Colon puts focus on location more than results

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As he prepares for his 20th Major League season, Bartolo Colon certainly isn't going to allow himself to be bothered by the results he garners during exhibition games. But at 43 years old, the ageless wonder can certainly take pride in the fact that he is still physically capable of doing what he has always done best.

Colon didn't necessarily have pinpoint command as he provided two innings for the Braves as they claimed a 7-4 win over the Blue Jays during a mutual Grapefruit League season opener on Saturday afternoon at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex. But the beloved hurler still proved effective, while more importantly providing indication he still soundly understands the art of pitching.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Freeman honors mother by playing for Canada

Freeman honors mother by playing for Canada

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman always wears long sleeves, even on the hottest days. He does it to honor his mother, Rosemary, who died of skin cancer. He also wears a cross-shaped locket around his neck with her hair inside.

Beginning March 6, though, he's going to pay tribute in a way he wasn't sure would ever be possible. That's when he'll put on the uniform of Team Canada for the first workout in preparation for this year's World Baseball Classic.

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

Colon limits damage in first spring start

Colon limits damage in first spring start

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Bartolo Colon minimized damage over the first two innings and Anthony Recker delivered a two-run single in a four-run fifth inning that propelled the Braves toward a 7-4 win over the Blue Jays in a mutual Grapefruit League season opener at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex on Saturday afternoon.

"It was good to just get the guys out there and get some at-bats and run around and get the exertion from playing games," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "Everybody looked pretty good."

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Paul Hagen is a national columnist for MLB.com.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jackson impresses in front of grandparents

Right-hander tosses perfect ninth inning in Braves debut

Jackson impresses in front of grandparents

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When the Braves acquired Luke Jackson from the Rangers in December, it was easy to look at his stats and assume he was simply another of those hard-throwing hurlers whose primary liability was finding the strike zone.

But Jackson, 25, has caught the attention of many of Atlanta's coaches through the early portion of Spring Training, and he did nothing to hurt his stock as he produced a perfect ninth inning to conclude Saturday's 7-4 win over the Blue Jays in a mutual Grapefruit League season opener at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves claim 1B/OF Walker off waivers

Braves claim 1B/OF Walker off waivers

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Christian Walker doesn't necessarily satisfy the Braves' desire to improve their bench before the regular season begins. But his presence will at least provide some organizational depth and insurance to protect against the possibility Freddie Freeman could be sidelined at some point this season.

Designated for assignment by the Orioles last week, Walker was claimed off waivers by the Braves on Saturday. The 25-year-old first baseman and outfielder batted .264 with 18 homers and a .757 OPS for Triple-A Norfolk last year.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dickey in reflective mood as spring play opens

Veteran knuckleballer talks about his four seasons in Toronto before Blue Jays play Braves

Dickey in reflective mood as spring play opens

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- There were signs that R.A. Dickey's time with the Blue Jays was running out late last season: He made only three appearances in September, and he wasn't included on the postseason roster.

So it wasn't surprising when the 42-year-old knuckleballer wasn't pursued as a free agent by Toronto. He eventually signed with the Braves. And before Saturday's Grapefruit League opener at Champion Stadium between his last team and his current club, he reflected on the four years he spent in Toronto.

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

Winkler's injury spurs change in mechanics

Braves pitcher makes progress after fractured elbow

Winkler's injury spurs change in mechanics

LAKE BUENA VISTA , Fla. -- Though the gruesome sequence led him to the lowest point of his career, Braves reliever Daniel Winkler has repeatedly watched video clips of the moment he fractured his right elbow while throwing a pitch against the Cardinals on April 10.

While this might seem somewhat masochistic to some, Winkler, 27, has studied the sequence, as he has searched for a way to alter his mechanics and distance himself from the frustration he has felt while spending most of the past 2½ seasons on the disabled list with an elbow injury.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

d'Arnaud ready to fill in at all positions

Braves utility player a top option off bench after injury to Rodriguez

d'Arnaud ready to fill in at all positions

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After A.J. Pierzynski was ejected from a game last year, Chase d'Arnaud responded to a request for an emergency catcher volunteer by saying, "Well, it's in my blood, my brother catches, so I can do it."

The versatile d'Arnaud, 30, hasn't yet gotten into a game to fill the role his younger brother Travis performs for the Mets, but after being removed from a game that required extra innings last year, he rushed to the Braves bullpen and caught Jim Johnson's warmup pitches.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Coppolella marvels at 'much-improved' talent

Coppolella marvels at 'much-improved' talent

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Atlanta general manager John Coppolella has engineered a massive rebuilding process that has evolved quicker than initially envisioned. Just two years after beginning it, the Braves have the potential to exceed many expectations and enrich the memories created during SunTrust Park's inaugural season.

Having had a chance to get a glimpse of his team during the early portion of Spring Training, Coppolella talked to MLB.com about what he has seen, what he hopes to see and what he might do before the regular season begins.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves sign former NFL player to Minor League deal

Sanders Commings played for Chiefs in 2013

Braves sign former NFL player to Minor League deal

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Sanders Commings has played defensive back for the University of Georgia and the Kansas City Chiefs since last playing baseball. But the Braves were intrigued enough by his athleticism to sign him to a Minor League deal.

"We feel this is a tremendous athlete and an even better person," Braves general manager John Coppolella said. "Our mantra has always been to leave no stone unturned. What's the downside here?"

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prospect Peterson hoping for family reunion in Majors

Prospect Peterson hoping for family reunion in Majors

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- While Braves outfielder Dustin Peterson successfully navigated his way through his first few seasons of professional baseball, he routinely leaned on his older brother D.J., who is one of the top prospects in Seattle's system.

"We talk throughout the season," Dustin said. "When we're going well, we'll let each other know what's clicking or what's working. We kind of bounce back and forth. If we're in a slump, we'll tell each other this might work or that might work. It's kind of awesome having a brother to go to like that."

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Demeritte provides power potential for Braves

Prospect brings offensive depth to Atlanta farm system

Demeritte provides power potential for Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Travis Demeritte did not know what to think when one of his Class A Advanced High Desert coaches informed him he was not allowed to take early batting practice before a July 27 game. The Trade Deadline was a few days away, but as he sat idly in the clubhouse, he didn't anticipate what he was about to hear.

A few days earlier, one of his teammates had been victimized by a clubhouse prank involving Chris Sale trade rumors. So, when Demeritte was informed that the Rangers had traded him to the Braves in exchange for Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez, he was initially skeptical.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blair hoping slider will propel him into rotation

Right-hander developed pitch in Triple-A, K'd 10 in final start of '16

Blair hoping slider will propel him into rotation

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Aaron Blair has returned to Spring Training with the out pitch he finally developed just in time to end his frustrating rookie season, when he threw a dazzling 10-strikeout performance against the Tigers. But the Braves right-hander understands that last year's inconsistencies potentially mean he'll to need to wait for another call to the Majors.

Influenced by last season's late success, and the desire to field a much more competitive team during SunTrust Park's inaugural season, the Braves acquired three veteran starting pitchers -- Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey and Jaime Garcia -- this past offseason. In doing so, they created the likelihood that Blair and Matt Wisler will both begin the season with Triple-A Gwinnett.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves evaluating options for bench roles

d'Arnaud, Peterson among choices to fill 'super utility' role

Braves evaluating options for bench roles

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- "Super utility" is the term increasingly used to describe hitters who can field several positions, and whose bats managers want to keep in the lineup. They are baseball's Swiss army knife.

In previous seasons with the Pirates, this term applied to Sean Rodriguez, who recently underwent shoulder surgery and could miss the entire 2017 season.

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