Encouraging news for Salazar and Kawakami

There was some encouraging news coming out of Braves camp Friday morning as GM Frank Wren revealed Luis Salazar is communicating with his family and already talking about returning to work. 

There was also some relief when Kenshin Kawakami revealed that he exchanged email messages with his family in Japan.  Through his translator, he indicated that all of his family members are safe.  

While Kawakami’s family lives on the southwestern coast of Japan, former Braves reliever Takashi Saito’s hometown is located near the northeast coast, in proximity to the area that was rocked by an earthquake and tsunami this morning. 

MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reported Saito has contacted his wife and children. But as of late Friday morning, he still hadn’t contacted his parents.

Kawakami made the trip to Tampa this morning to make his scheduled Grapefruit League season debut.   He is scheduled to pitch two innings. 

The Braves announced Anthony Varvaro will pitch in place of Eric O’Flaherty today.  It’s unknown why O’Flaherty didn’t make the trip. 

After his club returns to the Orlando area tonight, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is going to attempt to visit Salazar.   Braves president John Schuerholz visited the injured Minor League manager this morning.  

“He’s doing much better,” Wren said. “He’s visiting with his family and he’s eager to get back to work.”   <p>

The Braves aren’t ready to reveal when Salazar might return to his role as Class A-Advanced Lynchburg’s manager.  Wren and his staff are just encouraged that doctors have told them that they don’t see why he couldn’t handle the role once he gets healthy.  

Since being struck with a foul ball that knocked him unconscious before he hit the rubberized floor of the dugout Wednesday, Salazar has undergone at least two surgeries.  One attempted to repair some of the facial fractures he suffered and the other, performed yesterday, focused on repairing his left eye. 

There has been some fear Salazar will not regain vision in his left eye.  But it doesn’t appear doctors will actually know the full extent of the damage until after performing another surgical procedure on the eye this weekend.

“They’re still evaluating the eye and they’re going to have another surgery this weekend,” Wren said. “We won’t have any other comment until after that surgery.  But he is making good progress.”  <p> 

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