Blanco starts in center
With Gregor Blanco receiving limited playing time since he’s returned from the World Baseball Classic, it’s been hard to believe the Braves when they’ve said they haven’t decided where Jordan Schafer will begin the season.
Obviously, they cant’ exactly use the “well we want to see what Jordan can do” excuse, when they have every reason to want to see Blanco much more than he did while compiling a .676 OPS during his rookie season last year.
Blanco, who has registered two hits in 18 Grapefruit League at-bats, will get a chance prove himself against the Tigers this afternoon, when he starts in center and Schafer starts the game on the bench. This is just the third start he’s made in the nine games that have been played since he returned from the Classic.
Schafer has one hit in his last eight at-bats and we’ve discussed how
important this final week would be for him. But,
he showed enough during the previous four weeks to prove the Braves
would severely weaken their roster if they opted to start the season
with Blanco in center.
I understand the theory about protecting future investments. Some have
wondered how Schafer’s psyche would be affected if he were to start the
season in Atlanta and hit around .200 during the first two months.
In response, I wonder how his psyche would be affected if the Braves approach him later this week and tell him that everything that he’s done over
the past few weeks has earned him the opportunity to gain further
seasoning in the Minors.
Had the Braves kept Josh Anderson, Schafer might have been able to live
with the fact that from a business perspective there was a better
option for the club to utilize in center. But they didn’t and by doing
so, I think they’ve left themselves with just one option.
Ross update: David Ross strained his right groin during Tuesday night’s game and reported to the park on Wednesday feeling some relief. But the Braves still seem concerned about the possibility that he could start the season on the disabled list. If this occurs, Clint Sammons will likely be on the Opening Day roster.
“Ross is a good backup catcher,” Cox said. “He’s a good catch-and-throw guy and he’s always in the game while he’s on the bench. He’s really a team guy.”
With Brian McCann’s bruised right knee still providing some discomfort, Sammons is behind the plate for today’s game. McCann will likely don the catching gear again on Thursday or Friday.
Heyward still crushing: Durign a Double-A game in Viera yesterday, Jason Heyward went 4-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs. The 19-year-old phenom will likely begin the season with Class A Myrtle Beach. But don’t be surprised if he’s with Double-A Mississippi by the time the first week of May arrives.
Justin Verlander is completing his warmup pitches and Tom Glavine is done warming up in the bullpen. Thus it’s time for me to end this entry.