Gonzalez, Donald share goal of aiding with recovery

Skipper's close friend heads foundation for healing from brain, spinal injuries

Gonzalez, Donald share goal of aiding with recovery

ATLANTA -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez recently went to a Lassiter High School football game knowing the home crowd would likely not be in a celebratory mood. After mourning this past summer's sudden death of Phillip Lutzenkirchen, one of its most beloved alums, the school endured a winless campaign on the gridiron.

But Gonzalez's experience on this Halloween evening actually proved to be quite gratifying when Chris Heitzman walked over to greet him.

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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.

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Braves re-evaluate plans as Tomas signs elsewhere

More deals could be made involving Uptons, Gattis to reshape outfield

Braves re-evaluate plans as Tomas signs elsewhere

ATLANTA -- The Braves were intrigued enough by Yasmany Tomas' power potential to send manager Fredi Gonzalez and hitting coach Kevin Seitzer to Tuesday's workout in the Dominican Republic. But their interest in the Cuban prospect evaporated on Wednesday evening, when Tomas opted to sign with the D-backs.

MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported that Tomas and Arizona agreed to a six-year, $68.5 million deal. The Braves made a couple offers over the past few days, but proved unsuccessful in their bid for the 24-year-old outfielder.

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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.

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Inbox: Could Heyward return to Braves after 2015?

Braves beat reporter Mark Bowman answers questions from fans

Inbox: Could Heyward return to Braves after 2015?

Is it possible that Jason Heyward could come back and re-sign with the Braves next year? That seems to be the only thing that could make that trade fan friendly.
-- Andrew T., Burnsville, N.C.

Given that Heyward is a homegrown product who has been beloved by many since the Braves drafted him in 2007, I understand why you were among the fans who were not happy with the trade. But I don't know why you don't see this as a team-friendly deal that has the potential to make fans happy long after the end of the 2015 season, when Heyward would have likely exited via free agency.

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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.

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Smoltz headlines Braves' list of HOF hopefuls

McGriff, Sheffield also seeking election to Cooperstown

Smoltz headlines Braves' list of HOF hopefuls

ATLANTA -- The greatest era in Braves history was celebrated this past July, when Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Bobby Cox were all inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame. This celebration will likely be rekindled over the next few years, as John Smoltz and Chipper Jones travel to Cooperstown to experience baseball's greatest honor.

Smoltz made his Major League debut during the Dale Murphy era in Atlanta. He stuck around long enough to gain the proud distinction of being the only player to be with the Braves throughout their run of 14 consecutive division titles.

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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.

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Speedskater-turned-businessman Plant makes mark on Atlanta

Speedskater-turned-businessman Plant makes mark on Atlanta

ATLANTA -- Long before spearheading efforts to move the Braves to a grand multipurpose development in Cobb County, Mike Plant was a United States Olympic speedskater who competed in the 1980 Games, then further enriched the sport with his business savvy.

While his friend and teammate Eric Heiden was walking away from the sport after capturing five gold medals at the Lake Placid Games, Plant was open to competing again in the 1984 Olympics. But at the same time, he had the vision to realize speedskaters' lives and training would be enriched if he was able to land a sponsorship deal, which was a relatively foreign concept 35 years ago.

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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.

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Braves announce 2015 Spring Training schedule

Club to open at home vs. Mets on March 4, will head directly to Miami following April 4 finale

Braves announce 2015 Spring Training schedule

ATLANTA -- While there is some uncertainty about how their roster will be reconstructed over the next few weeks, the Braves know that they will open their exhibition season at home against the Mets and then remain in Florida throughout Spring Training to prepare for their Opening Day matchup against the Marlins in Miami.

The Braves will conduct Spring Training at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for the 18th straight season. But this will be the first time during this span that they will not conclude their exhibition season with either a game at Turner Field or a matchup against their top prospects at the home stadium of one of their Minor League affiliates.

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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.

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MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

Northcraft continues to make progress in Braves' system

Prospect gaining confidence while mastering sinker, improving command

Northcraft continues to make progress in Braves' system

A year ago, I saw Atlanta Braves right-handed pitcher Aaron Northcraft pitch in the Arizona Fall League. He finished with seven starts, throwing a total of 18 innings, and the results weren't that favorable. Northcraft had an 8.00 ERA and a 2.11 WHIP, while walking 15 and striking out 19, and opponents hit .307 against him.

Following his effort in Arizona, Northcraft indicated he had some difficulty with his pitching mechanics and worked with his personal trainer in the offseason. This past Spring Training, Northcraft hurt his thumb during fielding drills.

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Inbox: Will Braves move Gattis next?

Beat reporter Mark Bowman answers Atlanta fans' questions

Inbox: Will Braves move Gattis next?

Now that Jason Heyward has been traded, do you think Evan Gattis is next? I believe the Braves could get some Major League-ready talent in return.
-- Giles Y., Rock Hill, S.C.

As I've written a couple times over the past couple weeks, the question is not whether the Braves will trade either Justin Upton or Gattis, the more intriguing unknown is whether they will end up dealing both. Given that I think they will end up doing the latter, I'd say it simply remains to be seen which player might be the next to be traded.

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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.

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Top prospect Peraza among Braves' roster additions

Top prospect Peraza among Braves' roster additions

ATLANTA -- The Braves bid adieu to the longest-tenured member of their organization to create 40-man roster space for top prospect Jose Peraza and six other Minor Leaguers who will have an opportunity to experience their first Major League Spring Training.

Left-handed reliever Jonny Venters' long stint with the Braves' organization came to a close on Wednesday, when he and infielder Ramiro Pena were designated for assignment. The transactions created the space necessary for Peraza, third baseman Kyle Kubitza, left-handed pitcher Yean Carlos Gil and four right-handed pitchers -- Mauricio Cabrera, Brandon Cunniff, Tyrell Jenkins and Williams Perez -- to be added to the 40-man roster.

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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.

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Miller excited to get started with Braves

Miller excited to get started with Braves

ATLANTA -- Shelby Miller had reason to feel somewhat unsettled on Monday, when he learned he had been traded to the Braves. The Cardinals had been the only organization he had been a part of during his professional career, and St. Louis had become a home for he and his Missouri-born wife.

But instead of worrying about what he is leaving behind, Miller has grown excited about the chance to become an integral part of a Braves organization that is currently making a flurry of changes with the hope of realizing some of the consistent success the Cards have had over the past few years.

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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.

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Rebuild or compete in 2015? Braves could go either way

Rebuild or compete in 2015? Braves could go either way

ATLANTA -- As the baseball world was evaluating the trade that sent Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden to the Cardinals and brought Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins to Atlanta, the Braves were continuing to evaluate other significant trade options, which could include both Evan Gattis and Justin Upton.

President of baseball operations John Hart spent the past week saying that he does not know whether this offseason's roster-reconstruction process will be aimed toward competing or rebuilding during the 2015 season. He reiterated his stance on Monday after he traded Heyward and Walden to satisfy an immediate rotation need with Miller and gain a high-upside pitching prospect in Jenkins.

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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.

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Mixed emotions for J-Hey as he bids Atlanta adieu

Mixed emotions for J-Hey as he bids Atlanta adieu

ATLANTA -- Given that Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman have been together nearly every day dating back to their entry into professional baseball, it was not too surprising that after being traded to the Cardinals on Monday, Heyward reached out to Freeman.

"Nobody is going to beat around the bush or be surprised by the fact that he wasn't happy about it, but he was happy for me," Heyward said. "He was happy that I'm going into a good situation with a good organization."

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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.

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Braves get Miller from Cards for Heyward in four-player swap

Atlanta also lands righty prospect Jenkins in four-player swap

Braves get Miller from Cards for Heyward in four-player swap

ATLANTA -- As Braves president of baseball operations John Hart spent this past season as a senior advisor for the club, he gained a better understanding of why Jason Heyward was so beloved in Atlanta. But when given a chance to address the team's definite need to improve its starting pitching depth for years to come, he determined it would not be wise to bring Heyward back for what might have been just one more year.

Hart was looking toward the future Monday, when he completed a four-player trade that sent Heyward and right-handed reliever Jordan Walden to the Cardinals in exchange for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins, a pair of talented right-handers who have the potential to positively impact Atlanta's rotation for many years to come.

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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.

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Waino trade in 2003 similar to Braves-Cards deal

Waino trade in 2003 similar to Braves-Cards deal

ATLANTA -- When the Braves and Cardinals announced a four-player trade that featured Jason Heyward and Shelby Miller on Monday, there was reason to draw similarities to the famous, or infamous, trade these two teams made 11 years ago.

Only this time, it is the Braves who are hoping to strengthen their future with a deal that allows the Cardinals to satisfy an immediate need with what could prove to be a short-term solution.

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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.

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Former 20-game winner Sadecki dies at 73

Lefty pitched for Cardinals, Mets, Giants, Royals, Braves, Brewers

ST. LOUIS -- Ray Sadecki, a left-handed pitcher who won 20 games for the Cardinals in their 1964 championship season, died Monday due to complications of blood cancer. He was 73.

Born in Kansas City, Kan., Sadecki debuted for the Cardinals in 1960 and went on to enjoy an 18-year Major League playing career. Eight of those seasons came in St. Louis, followed by stints with the Mets, Giants, Royals, Braves and Brewers. He finished with a career record of 135-131 and 3.78 ERA over 563 appearances (328 starts).

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Terence Moore

Braves make sensible trade moving Heyward

Right fielder has plenty of potential, but Atlanta needed pitching

Braves make sensible trade moving Heyward

To hear many around Atlanta tell it, the Braves just did their version of the Red Sox selling an explosive left-handed pitcher who could hit a little to the Yankees for nothing worth mentioning.

Now, back to reality.

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Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Cards-Braves deal full of varying upside, risk

Atlanta gets controllable righty; St. Louis gets OF one year from free agency

Cards-Braves deal full of varying upside, risk

This is a tremendous trade for the St. Louis Cardinals. Not because they got the best of the Atlanta Braves. Truth is, they may not have.

In fact, the Braves know exactly what they're getting, and it's plenty good. The Cardinals can't do this. They're getting a quality player. They're also taking a bigger risk, and isn't this why we love the Hot Stove season?

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Braves reacquire Vizcaino, add to international budget

Reliever was former top prospect; second baseman La Stella to Cubs

Braves reacquire Vizcaino, add to international budget

ATLANTA -- The Braves reacquired one of their former top pitching prospects -- right-handed reliever Arodys Vizcaino -- and an opportunity to provide themselves a greater opportunity to be more aggressive on the international free-agent market when they struck a deal to send second baseman Tommy La Stella to the Cubs on Sunday.

In exchange for La Stella and their fourth international-bonus-pool slot, the Braves received the Cubs' second, third and fourth international-bonus-pool slots. Atlanta will net approximately an extra $830,000 to spend on international free agents. Before this trade, the club had around $100,000 to spend in the international market.

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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.

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Braves deal prospect Wren to Crew for righty Quintana

Atlanta looks to boost pitching depth; Milwaukee gains speedy outfielder

Braves deal prospect Wren to Crew for righty Quintana

ATLANTA -- When the Braves dismissed Frank Wren as their general manager in September, there was reason to wonder if they would end up trading his son, who spent the past two years as an outfielder in the organization's farm system.

The answer was revealed on Friday when the Braves traded Kyle Wren to the Brewers in exchange for right-handed pitcher Zach Quintana, who has not impressed since being selected in the third round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. This Minor League swap was aimed toward providing both players with a change of scenery.

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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.

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MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Top performances, prospects from 2014 Fall League

A team-by-team breakdown of who impressed and how each club's top player fared

Top performances, prospects from 2014 Fall League

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Fall League is known as baseball's finishing school because it has graduated a ton of talent to the Major Leagues since it began play in 1992. The AFL has produced 212 All-Stars, including 35 in this year's Midsummer Classic, 25 Rookies of the Year, 13 MVPs and five Cy Young Award winners.

Based on the quality of the talent in the AFL this year, more big leaguers and stars are on the way. The league wrapped up its 23rd season on Saturday, with the Salt River Rafters outlasting the Peoria Javelinas, 14-7, for their fourth title and first since 2011.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Braves plotting course for Hot Stove season

Staff considers options for improvement via trades, free agents during GM Meetings

Braves plotting course for Hot Stove season

PHOENIX -- After spending the past week in Arizona analyzing ways to improve their club, the top members of the Braves' recently-overhauled baseball operations department returned to Atlanta on Thursday with the sense that they had at least gained a better feel for how the remainder of this offseason might unfold.

Braves president of baseball operations John Hart and assistant general manager John Coppolella spent last weekend leading the annual organizational meetings, which this year included the club's top Major League scouts, the player development staff and three members of the field staff -- manager Fredi Gonzalez, bench coach Carlos Tosca and pitching coach Roger McDowell.

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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.

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Hart weighing which direction to go this offseason

All options open for Braves, including possibly trading some big names

Hart weighing which direction to go this offseason

PHOENIX -- Braves president of baseball operations John Hart's competitive nature has allowed him to keep open the possibility of constructing a roster that could prove to be postseason worthy next year. But as he stares at the club's underwhelming Minor League system, with an alarming scarcity of Major League-ready pitchers, he understands that it might be in the organization's best interest to treat 2015 as a rebuilding season.

"We obviously have all options open," Hart said. "I think a lot of it is going to be dictated by what we are able to do in the starting pitching market. I think that is going to fully engage us in what we might do in 2015, if we want to come back with a somewhat intact ballclub. Obviously, if we can't do that, there are other options that we'll certainly examine."

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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.

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'Bad contracts' to limit Braves' free-agent options

Atlanta may have to stay away from big-ticket pitchers to fill rotation

'Bad contracts' to limit Braves' free-agent options

ATLANTA -- Braves president of baseball operations John Hart played a round of golf with B.J. Upton last week and spent some time letting the veteran center fielder know that he believed in his ability to turn things around this year while working with Atlanta's new hitting coach Kevin Seitzer.

Hart has spent the first two days of this week's General Managers Meetings speaking optimistically about Upton's future in Atlanta. But at the same time, the longtime baseball executive is fully aware that the limited financial flexibility he possesses while attempting to reconstruct a roster has a lot to do with Upton ($14.45 million) and former second baseman Dan Uggla ($13 million) accounting for nearly 30 percent of the Braves' projected payroll.

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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.

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Santana rejects qualifying offer

Braves will receive compensatory Draft selection if righty signs elsewhere

Santana rejects qualifying offer

PHOENIX -- The Braves breathed a sigh of relief when Ervin Santana declined their one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer before Monday afternoon's deadline.

Because Santana rejected the offer and opted to remain on the free-agent market, the Braves will now receive a compensatory Draft selection -- a pick that will be made between the first and second rounds of next summer's First-Year Player Draft -- if Santana signs with another club.

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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.

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Braves add veteran trio to build org depth

Atlanta signs former Yankees OF Almonte, pitchers Wang, Veal

Braves add veteran trio to build org depth

PHOENIX -- The Braves could make some significant moves over the next few weeks and month. But they have started the Hot Stove season with a few acquisitions that are simply aimed toward adding organizational depth, namely in the pitching department.

As this year's General Managers Meetings were getting started in Phoenix on Monday, the Braves announced that they have signed two pitchers -- right-hander Chien-Ming Wang and left-handed reliever Donnie Veal -- to Minor League contracts and inked former Yankees outfielder Zoilo Almonte to a one-year Major League deal.

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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.

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Hart facing tough decisions with outfield mix

Gattis, J-Up, Heyward could draw interest as GM Meetings get underway

Hart facing tough decisions with outfield mix

PHOENIX -- Braves president of baseball operations John Hart made his mark in the baseball world by resurrecting the Indians during the early 1990s. Two decades and a semi-retirement later, Hart finds himself tasked with reconstructing an Atlanta roster that might be affected by at least one significant trade this winter.

As the annual General Managers Meetings opened on Monday, there was a lot of speculation about whether the Braves will trade Evan Gattis. Multiple media members and rival baseball executives spent time in the Arizona Biltmore lobby discussing whether Gattis would be moved. But Hart insisted that he is not aggressively shopping the right-handed slugger, who might actually end up in Atlanta's uncertain outfield mix next year.

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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.

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Coppolella's work ethic took him from intern to exec

Braves assistant GM began baseball career just out of college with Yankees

Coppolella's work ethic took him from intern to exec

ATLANTA -- If John Coppolella gains the lofty title the Braves might eventually bestow upon him, he would likely become the first general manager who can lay claim to entering the baseball industry with the help of some quarters he deposited into payphones in three states.

Actually, Coppolella's current status as the right-hand man for Braves president of baseball operations John Hart likely has more to do with the intelligence, work ethic and passion he has displayed, dating back to when he entered the baseball world as a 21-year-old intern who drew the attention of late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

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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.

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J-Up honored with second Silver Slugger Award

Braves left fielder ranked second among NL outfielders in homers (29), RBIs (102)

J-Up honored with second Silver Slugger Award

ATLANTA -- Justin Upton's September struggles erased his status as a legitimate National League Most Valuable Player Award candidate. But it was not damaging enough to prevent him from winning his second Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award.

Upton was selected as one of the NL's top three offensive performers in the outfield when this year's Silver Slugger Awards were presented on Thursday night. The Braves' left fielder garnered this same honor while playing for the 2011 D-backs.

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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.

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MLB.com Columnist

Terence Moore

Defensive excellence sewn into fabric of Braves

Players reminded of club's longtime emphasis on glovework with motivational sign

Defensive excellence sewn into fabric of Braves

Did you hear the news? Not only did Braves right fielder Jason Heyward spend this week capturing a second consecutive Gold Glove Award, but he was named the overall Wilson Defensive Player of the Year. Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons also won back-to-back Gold Glove Award honors, and this comes a season after he received the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award as baseball's premier defensive player regardless of position.

Ho-hum. Next thing you know, somebody will mention that Henry Louis Aaron slammed a lot of home runs.

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Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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