Braves cut ten players off spring roster

The Atlanta Braves had their second round of cuts today. BravesCenter's Bill Shanks has more.


Lake Buena Vista, Florida

The Atlanta Braves made their second cuts of the spring Thursday, trimming their roster to thirty-five with ten additional demotions.

Right-hander Anthony Lerew was sent to AAA Richmond. He came into camp with an outside shot at winning the closer's job, but Lerew struggled in six games with a 13.50 ERA. He allowed 6 hits in 6 innings, 9 earned runs, 6 walks, and 4 strikeouts. Lerew is expected to be in AAA Richmond's starting rotation.

Nine non-roster invitees were re-assigned to minor league camp, including right-handers Chad Paronto, Wes Obermueller, Travis Smith, and Sean White; catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Steve Pyzik; infielder Cesar Crespo; and outfielders David Kelton and Michael Ryan.

Paronto pitched in five games this spring and had an ERA of 5.00. He gave up 4 earned runs on 11 hits in 9 innings, 2 walks, and 7 punchouts.

Obermueller was a disappointment. He was solid at the Braves' Early Throwing Program, but had a 10.12 ERA in five games here at Disney. Acquired in December for Dan Kolb, Obermueller allowed 9 runs on 16 hits in only 8 innings, with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts.

"He's much better than what he showed here," said Braves' Manager Bobby Cox after Thursday's game.

Obermueller will start the season in Richmond's rotation, as will Travis Smith, who was 1-1 in 5 minor league games this month with a 7.88 ERA. Those two could be joined by Lerew, Damian Moss, former Phillies right-hander David Coggin. Cox is pleased with the talent of the pitchers that will be backing up his rotation in Richmond.

"We've got some guys that have had some experience down there," he said. "It's always good to have them."

White made a huge impression on Cox, as the veteran manager raved about White's stuff all throughout the spring. The six-foot-four righty was 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA and one save in four games pitched. He allowed only 5 hits and 4 runs in 8 innings of work, with 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts. He'll be in the AA rotation in Mississippi.

Saltalamacchia was easily the talk of camp for most of the month of March. He had a walk-off home run against the Dodgers on March 3rd, and then hit a long bomb against the Yankees in Tampa on March 11th. "Salty Dog" finished the spring with a .194 average, 3 home runs, 8 RBI, 7 hits in 36 at bats. The 20-year-old catcher had a month Cox will never forget.

"Pretty dang good impression," Cox said. "He throws good. He's catching good. And he's got some swing - from both sides. He's one of those guys you feel good every time he walks to the plate. You feel really good about it."

Pyzik got into only one game and had one at bat this spring. He will head to Myrtle Beach to back up Clint Sammons. Crespo hit .143 with 7 RBI in 42 at bats. He'll go to Richmond and play both third base and centerfield.

Richmond's outfield could also included Kelton and Ryan. Kelton hit .231 with 3 RBI in 39 at bats, while Ryan hit .225 with 2 home runs and 6 RBI in 40 at bats.

Here are the remaining 35 players in big league camp:
01. Boyer, Blaine
02. Cormier, Lance
03. Davies, Kyle
04. Devine, Joey
05. Foster, John
06. Hampton, Mike
07. Hudson, Tim
08. James, Chuck
09. McBride, Macay
10. Ramirez, Horacio
11. Reitsma, Chris
12. Smoltz, John
13. Sosa, Jorge
14. Thomson, John
15. Villarreal, Oscar
16. Remlinger, Mike
17. McCann, Brian
18. Pena, Brayan
19. Pratt, Todd
20. Perez, Eddie
21. Betemit, Wilson
22. Giles, Marcus
23. Jones, Chipper
24. Jurries, James
25. LaRoche, Adam
26. Orr, Pete
27. Pena, Tony
28. Renteria, Edgar
29. Diaz, Matt
30. Francoeur, Jeff
31. Johnson, Kelly
32. Jones, Andruw
33. Langerhans, Ryan
34. Jordan, Brian
35. Almanzar, Carlos


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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