Spring Training Blog - March 21

BravesCenter's Bill Shanks has the latest from spring training, including a report on Horacio Ramirez's latest warmup for the season.

Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Tuesday, March 21 - 3:38 pm

Despite a day off for the big league Braves, Horacio Ramirez pitched for Myrtle Beach today in his latest warmup for the 2006 regular season. Ramirez threw 88 pitches and went 5.1 innings, allowed four runs on six hits, three walks, and four strikeouts.

"I felt good out there," Ramirez said. "I was really trying to focus on my curveball today. I threw some good ones. I was happy with the way I threw over here."

Braves Manager Bobby Cox was at the minor league complex watching Ramirez pitch, along with his entire coaching staff: pitching coach Roger McDowell, bench coach Pat Corrales, bullpen coach Bobby Dews, third base coach Fredi Gonzalez, and first base coach Glenn Hubbard.

For Ramirez, it was strange being back in minor league camp, even if it was only due to the big league team having the day off.

"It's a little tough," Ramirez said. "It was a tough day to pitch. It's real windy. It was just a different atmosphere. But I wanted to go out there six times (innings), and I was able to accomplish that today. That was the main thing I wanted to do."

Ramirez had his best outing of the spring last week against the Mets, and even though he allowed a few runs today off minor leaguers, he's happy with where he's at in spring training.

"I'm right where I want to be," he said. "I'm happy I was able to go six innings. I'm happy with the way things are going."

Moylan with another strong outing

Australian Peter Moylan, signed ten days ago after playing for Australia in the World Baseball Classic, came in relief of Ramirez with runners on first and third and one out in the sixth inning. Moylan quickly disposed of the rally turning a 1-6-3 double play.

Moylan then pitched the seventh inning and got a strikeout and two ground outs. He was clocked at 91-94 with his fastball, an 87 mph curve, and his changeup was around 77 mph.

I interviewed Moylan this morning, and his story is simply amazing. I'll have the interview in a podcast in a few days. He is probably headed to AAA Richmond, and there's a good chance we're going to see this guy in the big leagues this season. It's an great story, but all of a sudden the Braves have another pitcher that might be able to help them out this season.

Good news on the bullpen

The Braves feel good about the chances of Macay McBride and Blaine Boyer being ready for Opening Day. McBride has been bothered by a forearm strain right above his wrist. He was originally scheduled to pitch tomorrow, but the Braves will give him a day or two more to rest.

And Boyer continues to improve in side sessions. He had a setback several weeks ago, but ever since has had four solid bullpens. Doctors say there is no structural damage in his shoulder, so if Boyer continues to build up arm strength, he could be ready for the start of the season.

Australian Steve Kent makes debut

Sixteen-year old Steve Kent made his debut in a Braves' uniform with two solid innings of work for Rome. Kent was a bit nervous before the game, but he did very well. He allowed only one run on three hits in his two frames, with one walk and one strikeout. Kent registered 87 on the gun with his fastball, up four miles an hour from the Instructional League. It's hard to believe he's a sixteen-year old kid. How good might he be in four years?


* Last year's fourth round pick, right-hander Michael Broadway, started the game for Rome today. He went two innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits, no walks, and one strikeout. This is a big, tall kid that will have plenty of time to develop. He was throwing 91-94 on the gun with his fastball.

* Jeff Katz, Atlanta's ninth rounder in 2004, went two scoreless innings. He had three walks, but held Houston's Low-A team hitless.

* Home runs today by Brandon Monk and a blast from Ka'aihue Kala. Ernesto Mejia had a double that drove in two, and Bubba Garcia had a RBI single.

* One note from watching the Rome outfielders work this morning. Jordan Schafer, a former pitcher whom the Braves drafted as an outfielder in the third round last year, has a gun. I guess it should be no surprise since he was a pitcher, but that kid really has a gun in the outfield.

* Ivan Terrazas, a natural outfielder, is also seeing some time at first base.

Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional front office philosophies. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.

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