Relaxed setting as pitchers and catchers report
When a member of the Braves clubhouse staff asked if Brian McCann had been seen Monday morning, one of the All-Star catcher’s teammates said “no” and suggested “he’s probably home relaxing and enjoying one of the last day’s off he’ll have in a while.”
Once the exhibition season begins McCann and his teammates will gain occasional chances to catch your breath. But as many of the Braves gathered at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex Monday morning, they were celebrating the dawn of a new season and getting ready for the daily grind that will begin Tuesday — when the club’s pitchers and catchers stage their first workout of the season.
There was a sense of excitement Monday morning when Braves pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training. The always-enthusiastic and suddenly slimmer Peter Moylan took time to introduce himself to Dan Uggla and marvel at Nate McLouth’s bleach-blonde hair before playing catch.
Moylan, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel were among those who took time to play catch Monday. Martin Prado, Jordan Schafer and Uggla took a few swings in the batting cages before the morning hours concluded.
So far Fredi Gonzalez’s camp has the same exact feel as those conducted by Bobby Cox. There will obviously be some changes. But Uggla’s description of Gonzalez’s camps with the Marlins sound a lot like what the Braves experienced under Cox’s direction.
Once they concluded a Monday morning meeting, members of the Major League and Minor League coaching staffs and the front office went to a local golf course to enjoy a round together.
Courtesy of a late-morning text, Lowe revealed that McCann wasn’t simply taking it easy Monday. The veteran pitcher was scheduled to tee off with his catcher at 11:30 a.m.
There will be plenty of other rounds of golf completed over the next couple of weeks. But most of the rounds will be staged in the afternoon hours. The pitchers and catchers will hold their first workout Tuesday morning and the first full-squad workout will be held Saturday.
Because they were injured at the end of last season, Chipper Jones and Prado will both be able to participate on the field during the workouts for pitchers and catchers.
Prado will be taking time to better acquaint himself with the left field position that he acquired once Uggla was obtained via November’s trade with the Marlins.
While the Braves said Prado has played the position consistently during Winter Ball, the former second baseman said his time in the outfield has been rather limited.
“There’s a bunch of stuff I have to work on,” Prado said. “I’m asking everybody for tips.”
When Opening Day arrives six weeks from now, Prado might find himself quite comfortable with his new surroundings.
But as he enters the long journey otherwise known as the baseball season, Prado can only view this as one of the many challenges that he and his teammates are destined to encounter.
“We’re like every other team,” Lowe said. “In Spring Training,
everybody thinks they’re going to win. There’s no negativity yet.
Nothing bad has happened. Everybody likes the acquisitions that their
teams have made. We’re no different.”