Odds and ends from Braves camp: Friday

Tyler Pastornicky would not have received his first call to the Majors had Alex Gonzalez not aggravated his right calf the night before the Braves played their fateful regular season finale last year.  Had Pastornicky not received that call, he would not have met Jack Wilson and gained the invitation to spend some time working out with Wilson at his California residence this offseason.

Had Wilson not extended that invitation, the Braves might be able to confidently project who will begin the season as their backup shortstop.

And if you’re worrying too much about who will serve as Atlanta’s backup shortstop for the first couple weeks of the season, well then that’s your problem.

Wilson strained his right calf while running sprints and working out with Pastornicky at his Camarillo, Calif. home on Tuesday.  The veteran infielder arrived at Spring Training on crutches Friday.  He will likely miss at least the first two weeks of April.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez mentioned Drew Sutton and Josh Wilson, a pair of non-roster invitees, as candidates.  He also mentioned Andrelton Simmons.  But that’s not certainly not going to happen.

There is no doubt that Simmons might be the most talented shortstop in camp.  But the kid needs a few more months, and more likely at least one more season to develop.

Gonzalez did not mention Brandon Hicks’ name when discussing potential candidates.  But given Hicks is already on the 40-man roster, he certainly has to be considered a candidate.

Pastornicky traveled to California last Saturday and worked out on a daily basis before flying back to Orlando on Thursday.   He was able to take field grounders on Wilson’s regulation-sized infield, lift weights, take batting practice and do all of his conditioning drills.

In other words, he was able to do everything he would have been doing had he joined the many other Braves who had arrived to camp early.

Arodys Vizcaino might not be guaranteed a spot in the Braves bullpen to begin this season.  But he’s definitely going to make it quite difficult on the club to send him back to the Minors.  The 21-year-old hurler is still throwing his 95-mph heater and working to find consistency with his curveball.   Brian McCann lost his bat as he swung through one of these curves during live batting practice Friday morning.

As Vizcaino walked away from the live BP session, he said he has been working to find some comfort with his changeup, a pitch he rarely threw last year. According to FanGraphs, he threw about seven with a span of 322 pitches at the Major League level.

If Vizcaino finds comfort with the changeup, there will be more reason to contemplate using him as a starting pitcher. But I’m sticking with my belief that he’ll stick to the relief role and find himself in a closer’s role somewhere down the road.

Tommy Hanson rode the stationary bike for 10 minutes this morning and did not pop the tire.  Sorry, had to do it.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Hanson felt good and will likely increase his activity over the next couple of days.  But it still sounds like it will be Monday before Hanson is cleared to simply return to the field.

There will certainly still be time for Hanson to be ready at the beginning of the season.  But as I mentioned earlier this week, there is a possibility that his first turn will be skipped and he’ll make his season debut in the sixth game of the year against the Astros.

The Braves will hold their first full-squad workout Saturday.  Because of physicals, Saturday and Sunday’s workout will start at 1 p.m. ET.

Check out Braves.com for more details about PastornickyFriday’s notebook included Mike Minor’s explanation of the “trade” comments and Medlen regarding a relief role.

Follow me on Twitter @mlbbowman





Whoops…How did I NOT include the rebound of Prado and can he bat in the 2nd slot? Braincramp…

I say we get what we can get for him right now. Never liked this pick, he has sucked on the field and now has an attitude. Get real kid.

Minor was quoted in the AJC as saying, “If they don’t have room for me here, then there’s no reason they shouldn’t trade me or just do something with me.”

You’re taking that comment out of context. He was referring to the future, not present tense. Those comments are based on if he doesn’t get the 5th spot in 2012, is sent back down to AAA, where he fears he’ll be at 24 years old. He has the right to say what he did, but ATL will definitely trade him if he gets beat out for the 5th spot in the future. Braves won’t let a 1st-rd pick (2009) rot in the minors, even if he doesn’t earn a spot in the rotation this year, when there’s many teams that will pay top dollar for good young pitching.

He hasn’t sucked on the field. He hasn’t made many consistent starts, so he hasn’t had much of an opportunity to find any rhythm. He’s looked decent in the MLB, and even better in the minors with a solid K-rate. On any other team (save: TB) he’d be in their rotation, but our depth amounts to him as having to work hard, and now he’s showing signs of the stress for the competition.

Remember this was a guy that was drafted out of high school (TB), but turned that down to go to Vandy, excel and gets drafted higher in the 1st-rd by Atlanta. He still is ahead of his class in terms of MLB experience, but I’m sure he’s ready to have some permanence to his position and grow into the MLBer he knows he can be. I don’t blame him for being impatient. I don’t take it as him not being loyal to the Braves.

i agree, Medlin, in my opinion is a much better pitcher. i loved this guy a few years back. i think it was in late june of 2009 when he gave a couple of excellent starts. i thought he carried the pitching staff. and last year when he came back from his injury he was more than capable of handling the job.

Pingback: Arodys Vizcaino (Braves) — BaseballMoves.com

Who is this Medlin guy I keep hearing so much about?

Kris Medlen? Out for almost all of 2011 and some of 2010 after having TJ surgery. In 2010, before the surgery, he showed a lot of promise as a starter going 6-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 14 games started, and solid strikeout/walk rates. I do remember ATL having a great record in the games that Medlen started, somewhat the anti-Derek Lowe.

….I know who MEDLEN is. Still can’t figure out who Medlin is, though.

Andrelton Simmons backing up Pastornicky – “but that’s not certainly not going to happen”. All the negatives are confusing me.

I think Midland is in TX.

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