Mississippi starts Thursday against Tennessee

Mallex Smith will make his Braves debut Thursday night.

The Mississippi Braves will have several players to watch on the 2015 roster.

The rotation will be headlined by Jason Hursh, who returns to Double-A after making 26 starts there a season ago. He’ll be joined by right-hander Tyrell Jenkins, who was acquired in the Jason Heyward trade. Greg Ross, who made 12 starts in Mississippi last season, returns, along with newcomers Victor Mateo and Jake Brigham.

Mississippi’s bullpen will include lefty Ian Thomas, who saw time in Atlanta last season. Also, Ryan Weber, Andrew Robinson, Jorge Reyes, Ryan Kelly and Justin Jackson will be in the pen. They’ll be joined by Bryton Trepagnier, who was acquired from the Pirates for Edward Salcedo.

The two catchers will be Chris O’Dowd, who came over from Colorado in the David Hale trade, and Steven Rodriguez, a minor league Rule V Draft pick.

Seth Loman is expected to get the most playing time at first base. Former Yankees farmhand Corban Joseph will play second base. Daniel Castro, who hit .277 for Mississippi last season in 51 games, will play shortstop. And Rio Ruiz will be one to keep an eye on. Ruiz was acquired from the Astros in the Evan Gattis trade. He won’t turn 21 until May 22, but the kid has shown he can hit. Ruiz hit .293 last season in Lancaster of the California League. How will he do in the Southern League this season?

The Braves top pick in 2010, Matt Lipka, will be in the outfield for Mississippi. He’ll be joined by David Rohm, who was a 9th rounder in that same draft. Rohm returns to Double-A after hitting .255 there last season. Let’s watch Mallex Smith and see how many stolen bases he will have. Acquired from the Padres in the Justin Upton trade, Smith led the minor leagues last season with 88 stolen bases.


Listen to "The Bill Shanks Show" from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and e-mail him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.


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