Spring Training Notes: 3/1

It was a pretty busy Tuesday at Disney's Wide World of Sports. Tim Hudson signed a contract extension; it was the last day before the preseason games begin; and it was the first full day of workouts for minor leaguers. BravesCenter's Bill Shanks gives us his notes from his first day of camp.

  • It's hard to even explain how happy everyone was to get the news about Hudson's new contract. The players were definitely thrilled to know he's going to be at the top of the rotation for the next five years.

  • Hudson obviously told his agent to get this thing done. He is genuinely happy to be a Brave and you could tell in the press conference his first week of spring training made a huge impact on him. The Braves had to know that as soon as he got in that uniform, Hudson would never want to leave.

  • When you see Tim Hudson, you expect him to be a bit bigger. He's very thin, but you can see what a great athlete he is just from the fielding drills the pitchers had Tuesday morning.

  • The early word on the last bullpen spot has Kevin Barry and Adam Bernero as the two favorites. Barry has been impressive thus far, while Braves manager Bobby Cox seems to love Bernero's arm. It'll be neat to see if those two get similar work when the games start tomorrow. Bobby Cox seemed to watch infielder Pete Orr closely during the morning workout. Cox had to be impressed with what he saw. Orr is very sound mechanically in the field. He's just a very smart player - the type of player that Cox usually loves.

  • A couple of days ago a Braves official was quoted as saying that outfielder Billy McCarthy was "a hitting machine." Well, he just keeps on impressing. Billy looks awfully close to being ready to contribute at the big league level. Tony Pena, Jr. saw a little time at second base during BP, as did Kelly Johnson. Both came up as shortstops, but they are both athletic enough to play at second if needed. Johnson could continue to improve his stock with his versatility if he can play second, as he already can play third and the outfield along with his natural position.

  • There is zero doubt that Esix Snead can fly. But his problem has always been the old adage that, "You can never steal first base." Snead could really help the AAA team this season. Reports have Anthony Lerew pitching well early in camp. Lerew had a little soreness toward the end of last season, but he's back in full strength and doing well. Anthony's fastball is again in the mid-90s.

  • Matt Wright is recovered from the fracture in his arm from last season. Wright has been down in Orlando for a few weeks and says he feels good. Matt will probably head to AA this season.

    Brian McCann just looks so natural out there as one of Atlanta's catchers. His swing looks terrific. Let the countdown begin.

    Bill Shanks has a new book coming out late this month called "Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team." Bill can be reached at thebravesshow@email.com

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