Braves ready to take this show north
Just returned from the clubhouse and it’s pretty safe to say that all the guys are ready to compile a couple of at-bats during this afternoon’s game against the Tigers and then head to Atlanta as quick as possible.
As I was shooting the breeze with Jason Heyward this morning, I said something like, “well it will be nice for you to get back to your own bed tonight.” When he responded, “yeah, for like five days”, I said “enjoy it, you’ll come to appreciate even these opportunities that allow for just a short stay at home.”
That advice I provided Heyward will not benefit him as much as the words of encouragement that he received from Hall of Famer Al Kaline this morning. The former Tigers outfielder came to the Braves clubhouse to see Bobby Cox and then took time to tell the young Braves outfielder things like “good luck, play hard, work hard, etc.”
Cox will likely announce his Opening Day roster after either Friday or Saturday’s game. I’m still guessing Brooks Conrad gets the last spot for a position player and that Jesse Chavez and Jo-Jo Reyes fill the final two bullpen spots.
As for lineup projections, it still seems like Melky Cabrera will hold the leadoff spot until Nate McLouth can regain a consistent groove.
Today’s lineup also provides reason to believe there will be some instances when Brian McCann is placed in the cleanup spot when the opposing team is starting a right-handed pitcher. It’s also interesting to see that Heyward is batting sixth and Yunel Escobar is in the seventh spot of the order.
While wrapping up the Florida portion of their exhibition schedule today, the Braves are going up against right-handed knuckleballer Eddie Bodine. With this in mind, it’s time to wish a happy 71st birthday to Phil Niekro.
The baseball accomplishments that I share with Niekro are limited to the fact that our fathers bought our first baseball gloves at a little sporting goods store in Wheeling, W.Va called Kelly Mikes.
TODAY’S LINEUP vs. Tigers