|ATLANTA ( TEHERAN )|
MILWAUKEE ( GALLARDO )
|3/31/2014||TEHERAN(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||GALLARDO(R)|| |
|4/1/2014||WOOD(L)||@ MILWAUKEE||LOHSE(R)|| |
|4/2/2014||HARANG(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||GARZA(R)|| |
|4/4/2014||HALE(R)||@ WASHINGTON||ROARK(R)|| |
|4/5/2014||TEHERAN(R)||@ WASHINGTON||STRASBURG(R)|| |
|4/6/2014||WOOD(L)||@ WASHINGTON||JORDAN(R)|| |
|4/4/2014||ESTRADA(R)||@ BOSTON||PEAVY(R)|| |
|4/5/2014||PERALTA(R)||@ BOSTON||BUCHHOLZ(R)|| |
|4/6/2014||GALLARDO(R)||@ BOSTON||LESTER(L)|| |
|4/7/2014|| ||@ PHILADELPHIA|| || |
|ATLANTA: ATLANTA (AP) - For the Atlanta Braves, spring training turned into a matter of survival.|
No wonder they're so eager to get the season going.
The defending NL East champions lost a big chunk of their starting rotation down in Florida: projected opening day starter Kris Medlen and fellow right-hander Brandon Beachy both underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time and are out for the season. Another starter, Mike Minor, will also begin the year on the disabled list as he recovers from a sore shoulder.
But the Braves are nothing if not resourceful. They quickly signed Ervin Santana to a $14.1 million, one-year contract and have every intention of getting back to the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five years.
''We still have a great team,'' closer Craig Kimbrel said. ''It's tough losing two top pitchers. But getting Santana was really big. I want to be closing out division titles and championships and World Series. I think we've still got the group to do it.''
The Braves will have a different look behind the plate after longtime catcher Brian McCann signed with the New York Yankees. But another title in a lackluster division is certainly a possibility, especially if second baseman Dan Uggla and center fielder B.J. Upton bounce back from dismal seasons in which both hit under .200. They showed signs of turning things around in spring training.
''Time will tell,'' general manager Frank Wren said, ''but we really like what we've seen so far.''
|MILWAUKEE: MILWAUKEE (AP) - Two pitches into his spring training return, the Brewers' most important player tried to prove his point.|
Home run, Ryan Braun.
Now let's see how he fares when the games count.
Bolstered by the return of Braun from a 65-game doping suspension and the signing of free-agent starter Matt Garza, Milwaukee enters the 2014 season hoping it has the pieces to contend again in the competitive NL Central.
Braun has vowed to return to his 2011 MVP form.
''I think the expectation is to have an opportunity to compete to get back to the playoffs. That's our goal, I think it's realistic,'' Braun said during spring training in Phoenix.
Staying healthy would help, too. Besides Braun's suspension, injuries sapped much of the Brewers' power last year with projected 3-4-5 hitters Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart each missing various lengths of time. Hart never played because of a knee injury.
Hart is gone, but Braun and Ramirez are back and bolstered by new team cornerstones who emerged last season in Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura and Jonathan Lucroy.
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER NL PREVIEW (ATLANTA-MILWAUKEE) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Braves-Brewers Preview* ========================
By GENARO C. ARMAS AP Sports Writer
Atlanta (0-0) at Milwaukee (0-0), 2:10 p.m. EDT
MILWAUKEE (AP) - The arctic cold that encased the Midwest this winter didn't exactly make for the most ideal of conditions to grow new grass for the Brewers, even with the retractable roof closed at Miller Park.
But the groundskeepers pressed on with the new sod. Even brought over some grow lamps from Europe to give the field an around-the-clock dose of synthetic sunlight.
All to get ready for Monday, when baseball returns to Milwaukee. The Brewers will host the Atlanta Braves to open the 2014 season for both teams.
"This was a little harsher winter than we had anticipated. We're hoping for a little better spring," said Michael Boettcher, the team's director of grounds. "But regardless of what Mother Nature gave us here, we're going to have it ready for Opening Day."
The new field was lush and green for a two-game exhibition set against the Kansas City Royals over the weekend. Players gave it rave reviews.
The team was scheduled to get the grow lamps even before the brutal winter. Turned out to be perfect timing when the contraptions arrived this month.
"It looks absolutely fantastic," outfielder Logan Schafer said. "It's a lot firmer underneath. Last year, we'd do a lot of burnouts trying to get jumps and we'd kind of kick up a lot of grass. But you look it looks great out there, playing great."
One less thing for Ryan Braun to worry about as he switches positions from left to right field. But as if that wasn't enough of a transition, the Brewers' top player is also returning from a 65-game doping suspension by Major League Baseball stemming from Biogenesis scandal.
So far, Braun looks as if he's going to follow through on his vow to again become one of baseball's top sluggers. The 2011 NL MVP hit .417 this spring with three homers and nine RBIs, and manager Ron Roenicke is also pleased with the way he's handled the move to right.
"He's working hard at it and he feels comfortable out there," the skipper said. "I think with the range that he has he'll save us a lot of runs."
Other than reliever Francisco Rodriguez's painful run-in with a cactus during a day off in Arizona, and what appears to be a minor shoulder injury for All-Star shortstop Jean Segura, the Brewers (74-88) enter the regular season relatively healthy. It's a relief for the franchise after a 2013 season that was burdened by injuries to Braun (right hand), third baseman Aramis Ramirez (left knee) and Rickie Weeks (left hamstring), among others.
In contrast, the Braves are trying to keep up with mounting injuries, especially among their pitching staff.
Pitchers Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy are already done for the year with elbow injuries. Mike Minor will open the season on the disabled list as he recovers from a sore shoulder. Gavin Floyd is recovering from elbow surgery in May.
That left Atlanta tabbing Julio Teheran (14-8, 3.20 ERA) as the starter for the opener against Yovani Gallardo (12-10, 4.18) and the Brewers. Teheran followed up his nice rookie campaign with a terrific spring, with a 1.80 ERA and 26 strikeouts to just four walks in 25 innings.
With a lineup led by Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton, the Braves (96-66) are hopeful they can withstand the injuries to remain an NL East contender.
"We always find a way to do it and get over it. Somebody else will step up," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I have the confidence in our club that they'll overcome that."
At this point in the year, everyone has hope - groundskeepers included. The high temperature could reach 60 degrees for Monday's opener, downright balmy for Milwaukee.
|Last Updated: 12/13/2017 2:51:46 PM EST|