Uggla and Gonzalez gear up for Fish
Welcome back to Disney for the resumption of the Grapefruit League schedule. After enjoying their only offday during Spring Training, the Braves will return to action this afternoon to play the most important game Disney has ever hosted in March.
Forget about that Domincan Republic-Venezuela game in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. This afternoon’s matchup against the Marlins is much bigger for former Fish Dan Uggla and Fredi Gonzalez.
In fact the Braves called a closed door team meeting this morning and sources have said Uggla went all Chris Brown on some bathroom mirrors after this video was shown.
Truthfully, these Marlins-Braves matchups will truly mean a little more once the season arrives. In fact, today’s game appears to be a sidebar to the other events unfolding here today.
Luis Salazar returned to camp this morning for the first time since March 9, when he was hit with a foul ball and suffered injuries that cause him to lose his left eye last week. Per his Twitter account (@LV_Ware) Minor League outfielder L.V. Ware said, “Just seen Luis Salazar & he is good spirits.”
Salazar is scheduled to talk to us around 10 a.m. It’s remarkable that he is able to do all of this just two weeks after enduring a traumatic experience that could have ended in a much more tragic manner.
Check MLB.com and braves.com later this morning for a report. You can also follow me on Twitter @mlbbowman.
There will also be some attention pointed in the direction of Tommy Hanson, who is scheduled to throw six innings against a group of Braves Minor Leaguers this morning. Because Hanson’s back was a little sore, the Braves pushed this start back two days. No big deal, but it will be interesting to see what the big redhead says after this outing.
With the end of the exhibition season one week away, there are still some questions to be answered. It’s still not clear who will win the last couple spots on the bench? I’ll stick with Ed Lucas and Brooks Conrad as my guesses.
Once Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor make their scheduled starts this weekend, there might be more clarity about which will be named the fifth starter. But for now, I’m sticking with Beachy. If you want to see my argument against Minor go back to a number of different blogs posted throughout Spring Training. The short of it is, he needs more time.
The Braves also need to fill the final spot in their bullpen and as time has passed it has seemed less likely that Scott Proctor will fill it. Cristhian Martinez has emerged as a favorite because he can work multiple innings and serve as the “swing guy” in the pen. But Jairo Ascencio, formerly known as Luis Valdez, has been making multiple-inning appearances and looking like the more impressive option.
Before I wrap up this morning, I have to ask how many of you would have provided the same response I did when my wife was telling me the “special” numbers she had chosen for last night’s Mega Millions drawing.
Of course if they were so “special”, I wouldn’t be composing this blog and getting ready to watch the Braves and Mets play today. Sorry it’s just become habit to write that. It’s still the Marlins this afternoon.
Anyhow, when she asked me to guess which numbers she had selected, I correctly guessed “1” because she was born in January. Then after I guessed wrong with a couple numbers, she said “29” and I responded with “John Smoltz?”
After going silent for a few minutes, she said, “I can’t believe you would say that? Do you not remember we got married January 29?”
It didn’t work when I attempted to save myself by saying, “Funny you should mention that. I was watching old footage of Smoltzie the other day and every time I saw his jersey number, I thought about our anniversary date.”