Spring Training Blog - March 23

BravesCenter's Bill Shanks has the latest from Disney's Wide World of Sports.

Thursday, March 23 - 1:08 pm

First off, Blaine Boyer looked really good this morning. He threw a scoreless inning, allowed two hits (one that would have been handled by LaRoche), and struck out Matt Esquivel on three straight pitches. He topped out at 93 mph.

I spoke with Boyer after his inning of work. He was thrilled, smiling from ear to ear. Blaine admitted that he's still working on his mechanics, mainly just because he hasn't thrown as much as all the others have up to this point in the month. He said he thinks he might be ready to go when the team breaks camp (as does Bobby Cox), but that it's logical to believe he might have to spend the first week of the season on the Disabled List while he gets in two or three more outings down here at Extended Spring Training.

Truthfully, Blaine did better than I expected him to do. If he continues to have similar performances, I see no reason why he can't be ready to go in a few weeks.

And the latest I just heard about Macay McBride is that the team does NOT believe the injury is anything threatening at all. Yes, the tightness in his forearm was similar to what you expect from an initial diagnosis on Tommy John surgery. But they do not think that at all. It's a bit lower, closer to the wrist, than the usual area associated with any type of Tommy John situation. So that's good news.

What we're dealing with here is a time frame issue. They leave here in seven days. Boyer may need 10-15 days to get in another five outings or so down here. IF all continues to go well, there should be no reason he can't be ready to go in Atlanta in mid-April.

And the same for McBride. IF it's nothing serious, then after he starts throwing again soon, hopefully he could be ready to rock and roll in a couple of weeks.

So IF Boyer and McBride could be ready in two or three weeks, do you go out and acquire a reliever now?

Franklyn German is out of options and might not make the Tigers. He is the one Detroit has made available. But that would not be for John Thomson. It would be a smaller trade.

If we had to break camp right now, our bullpen would be:

Chris Reitsma
Joey Devine
Oscar Villarreal
Lance Cormier
Mike Remlinger
Chuck James

And then that's where it gets sketchy. That's only six pitchers. Obermueller is still in camp, so he's an option.

But then you think about the Thomson/Sosa dilemma, that's where you could see a possible trade. Thomson is pitching right now in front of a ton of scouts, so we'll see how that shakes out.

Some notes from the minor league scrimmages this morning...

Catcher Xan Barksdale had a big day, with a home run off David Williams and a 2 RBI double off Damian Moss.

Josh Arteaga had a RBI double for Richmond.

Catcher Bubba Garcia hit a bomb off Jose Ortegano.

Pitching lines today:
PITCHER - H-IP-R-ER-BB-K

Chris Vines - 4-3-6-5-0-3
Jo Jo Reyes - 1-3-0-0-0-4
Pedro Rayo - 2-2-1-1-0-1
Glen Richards - 1-1-1-1-1-2
Joshua Ward - 0-1-0-0-0-2

Jairo Cuevas - 4-3-5-5-1-3 (throwing 92 mph consistently)
Neftali Feliz - 0-2-0-0-0-4 (nasty stuff!)
Ysidro Garcia - 2-2-1-1-2-1
Jose Ortegano - 3-2-1-1-0-3

Martin Prado played 3B today. Whistling Yunel Escobar played 2B for a few innings. Luis Hernandez played 2B and SS. Those three are going to rotate around in Double-A.

Dean White, who has played 3B and SS over the past few years, saw some innings at first base today. Myrtle Beach might have several players play first for them this year (Ben Thomas, Jamie Trejo, Kala Ka'aihue).

And Scott Thorman played left field for Richmond. He could see some action out there this season. Thorman looks good out there. If James Jurries has to go back to AAA, Thorman might get even more playing time in left field.

Elvis Andrus is battling some shoulder pain, but he assured me there's nothing serious. They just iced his shoulder down after he was finished playing.



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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