Spring Training Blog - March 31

Bill Shanks has the latest from spring training.

Friday, March 31 - 5:40 pm

* Word has it that John Thomson and Chris Reitsma will both pitch this weekend in Atlanta. If they prove healthy and okay, they'll probably be on the Opening Day roster. Thomson is going to be the more difficult decision. They could wait and let him have one more throwing session the middle of next week before he could go on Saturday in the fifth game of the season. But if he doesn't do well tonight, it will be an easy decision to disable him. At this point, it would be a surprise if Reitsma does not do well. The Braves believe he's okay.

* The trade made today with Boston for Franklin Nunez was mainly to fill out the AAA roster. If Thomson and Reitsma have to go on the DL, two of Richmond's pitchers could have to spend some time in Atlanta, creating a need for another arm in Triple-A. If Nunez does well in Richmond, he might have a chance if there were a need in Atlanta. But there are a lot of pitchers (Ray, Peter Moylan, Kevin Barry, Chad Paronto, Brad Baker) that are in that category already.

* What in the world is Bobby Cox going to say to James Jurries when he lets him know Brian Jordan wins the job? I pray I'm wrong, but it would be a shock. This guy is leading the Grapefruit League in hitting, but he's probably going to Triple-A.

* Okay the Single-A teams were here at Disney today hosting the Astros. I mostly watched the Rome game, and I'd be lying if I didn't say that Elvis was the main reason for that. He got a base hit and reached on an error. I know someone asked him in the chat yesterday about his patience at the plate, and I have to say that the statheads will love this guy!! LOL. He's just an exciting player to watch. We're like a factory around here; we just spit stars out like they were sunflower seeds, one after another.

* Jeff Lyman cemented his spot in Rome with a decent outing today. Lyman hit 93 mph on his fastball and allowed two runs on three hits in three innings of work, with two walks and two strikeouts.

* Moises Hernandez, acquired for Leo Mazzone, was impressive in his four innings of work. The right-hander sat between 90-94 on the radar gun and allowed only one run on two hits, with no walks and four punchouts. Hernandez will be in Rome's bullpen.

* Lefty Devin Anderson pitched two scoreless innings and had three K's. He will also be in Rome's pen.

* Jordan Schafer has got to be the most surprising player of this camp. He's hitting over .400 in the spring, and he's really surprised many of the coaches. Our third rounder last year was a pitcher that we have really turned into a hitter. He's impressive, and he's won a job in Rome's outfield.

* While most of the minor leaguers were told today where they are going, there are still a few decisions to be made. Plus, any potential roster moves regarding Reitsma and Thomson might impact the Richmond roster.

* The rosters are about 85% complete. I'll share them with you Sunday after everyone's been told.

* Here are the starting rotations for the top four classifications:


Anthony Lerew
Travis Smith
Wes Obermueller
Damian Moss
Ken Ray


Sean White
Chris Waters
Brady Endl
David Coggin
Daniel Curtis


Jake Stevens
Matt Harrison
James Parr
Kelvin Villa
Luis Atilano
Jose Ascanio
Charlie Morton


Jo Jo Reyes
Chris Vines
Beau Jones
Asher Demme
Tyler Bullock
Jeff Lyman
Jairo Cuevas
Nelson Payano

* Probable Opening Night starters: Anthony Lerew (Richmond), Sean White (Mississippi), Jake Stevens (Myrtle Beach), and Chris Vines (Rome).

* There will be a lot of piggybacking. Mississippi will gain Francisley Bueno and Matt Wright in a couple of weeks. Wright might start out in the bullpen, but eventually will be in the rotation. Bueno could spend two extra weeks in Extended Spring Training to get more work, but so far is drawing raves from the coaches.

* Jo Jo Reyes and Chris Vines will be on their own in Rome, while the remaining six will be bunched together. Asher Demme and Beau Jones will be together; not sure about the other two.

* And again, we'll have the remaining rosters Sunday.

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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