Second week of camp begins

Martin Prado has been one of the first players to arrive at the stadium during Spring Training and he has always been the last to leave this year.  To Brian McCann and those who have known Prado throughout his professional career, this simply isn’t a surprise. 

“You’re not going to find a guy who works harder than him,” McCann said early Monday morning. 

Strength and conditioning coach Phil Falco could only nod his head when he was asked if he basically has to tell Prado that it’s time to leave the weight room.

But Prado has never seemed to believe enough is enough until the late afternoon hours arrive.  Like clockwork, he has been leaving the Spring Training headquarters around 2:45 p.m. ET, or approximately 90 minutes after most of his teammates. 

Prado spent the past two Spring Trainings inspired by the belief that he had to fight for a roster spot.  This year, he’s fighting to prove he can make the quick transition to left field and continue to be the dependable offensive contributor that he has been the past couple of years.

He has spent most of his time focusing on taking fly balls in left field.  But with the realization that he will eventually move back to the infield (this year or within the next couple of seasons), he has also continued to take grounders with Chipper Jones at third base.

PradChip.JPGSpeaking of Chipper, he has had two good days since his surgically-repaired left knee proved to be sore during Saturday’s workout.  As mentioned multiple times, he’s going to have good days and he’s going to have bad days. 

The Braves can only hope that once the middle of March rolls around there are few mentions about his knee. 

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he isn’t ready to announce his Opening Day starter.  But it seems quite obvious that he will choose either Tim Hudson or Derek Lowe, who has made both of the previous Opening Day starts for the Braves.

With this being said, Gonzalez said he will reveal his Grapefruit League rotation tomorrow.  This might provide at least some clue whether Hudson or Lowe will be on the mound for Opening Day in D.C.  

10 Comments

I would like to here more about the whole team, not just the “chosen stars”. I would like to be able to chose the blogs I wish to read. New to this blog and tweet and the twits (yeah I know what I said), I have trouble navagating but see most of these sights as harder not easier to get to what I want. Wrap up…Give me the whole package. Please.

Thank you.

Mark, have you had a chance to see Salcedo take any swings yet? I am just wondering if the swing is still as clean as it was in the video from when he was a kid. I’m also interested in seeing if Lipka drives the ball to the gaps or is a slap and run guy. And, while I’m at it, any early feedback from the guys about spending time with Larry Parrish. TP is just handing out maps to Epcot Center, right?

First player to arrive at camp and hit the cages EARLY this morning……? One Jordan Schafer. What an encouraging sign.

Jordan Schafer on top of his game would be a huge boost to the Braves. Add back a return to form for Nate, and a healthy Mather, and all of a sudden we’re 5 deep where we once had almost nothing.

I am not a Jordan Schafer fan, but we could certainly use a turnaround with him. Hopefully he has, indeed, changed his attitude and will turn around his performance. It would be nice having Jordan patrolling CF over Nate. The only problem I see there is you will have three left handed bats in the outfield. Because we all know Martin will see a good amount of time at 3B. I do not think we should expect a huge amount from Chipper this season. His play with be spotty more than likely. I do not see him being able to play over 120 games on his knee.

I don’t have a problem with a line up that includes 5 lefties and 3 righties, or with Chipper, 4 lefties, 3 righties and a switch. There are still way more right handed pitchers than left handed ones, and we need to win those games as well. Loogies don’t pose as big a problem when you are already up 3 runs when they come in.

The every day players would be RH: Gonzo, Uggla, Prado, LH: Heyward, McCann, and maybe Freeman. The rest are platoons and part time starter that will probably start less than 120 games each. That is plenty of balance. If we get 100 solid, healthy games from Chipper that will be a big help.

You have to give it to the kid with his ability to keep his swagger this long while going through a very tough injury that was made worse already. I have thought about it and I don’t think its really that big of a problem to have a left handed outfield right now for us. Next year Nate will most likely be gone, and if Shafer comes through we have two and have the ability to pick up a RH. If not, we have Prado and Gonzalez and Uggla as RH this year. If you think about how the infield works most of them are RH, and can obviously bat LH, but it isn’t likely. I’m real excited for Saturday just to see what Fredi does with out line up.

I expect around 115 games from Chipper this year. I see him hitting about .320/15/70/.400. But that’s in a perfect world. I see him having a better chance at a bounceback year than McLouth. But I hope McLouth does well too. I thik Schafer will be up at the big league level before September.

If Chipper is even close to those numbers it will be a good season for the Braves. 1,000 plate appearances removed from the last time he hit above .265, I’m sure Chipper would take .320 as well. I think he is a smart enough hitter to get his hands to enough balls to hit near .300, but with a weak knee and visibly less bat speed the power numbers are going to be hard to get to. I know he is working exactly those issues based on his interview with Smoltz, so here’s hoping he can find the adjustments he needs to drive the ball and produce those numbers. He’ll certainly enjoy this season more if he does.

Not only was Schafer first to arrive and hit the cages, he’s been friendly with fans and media- signing autographs, doing interviews, etc. The Jordan Schafer of years past was not like this. I am certainly not a Schafer fan myself…but man, if he turns it back around on the field as he seemingly has off it, I will lead the bandwagon.

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