Pope with a good major league showing

Braves' third base prospect Van Pope had another solid showing in big league camp Thursday. BravesCenter's Bill Shanks talked with him after the game with Cleveland.

One of the great things about spring training is when a young minor leaguer comes over from the back fields at Disney and reports to the big league clubhouse. The Braves are very good about getting their kids some exposure in the major league environment.

Van Pope, slated to be the third baseman in Myrtle Beach this season, has been brought over five times this month. He's played in three games, with his best performance Thursday against the Indians.

Pope went 2-for-3, improving his average to .400 in five at bats, and showed off the great glove work the Braves' minor league staff is used to seeing on a regular bases.

"Yeah it felt awesome," Pope said after the game. "Just getting the experience up here and learning from all these guys...it was a good day."

Pope showed off his excellent glove in the top of the 10th inning when he handled a hard-hit ball in a clutch situation and made a strong throw to first base.

"Yeah it was one of those in-betweeners," he said. "You get that short hop and you've got to wait on that big bounce and I waited on it. I had to show it off that time, and I did."

For a kid that has only played in A-ball, Pope is grateful that the Braves have given him the chance to experience the big leagues - even if it is March and even if it was for a little while.

"Oh man, I've been over here five or six times and just to be around these guys is unbelievable," Pope said. "I watched some of these guys growing up, Smoltz and Chipper and all them. It's awesome."

What's awesome is the Braves know he'll be back - perhaps to stay one day in that same clubhouse where he's now just a visitor.


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 atthebravesshow@email.com.


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