Odds and ends from Braves camp: Monday
It was easy to start feeling old as David Justice and Fred McGriff provided instruction to Jason Heyward and many other Braves players Monday morning. Heyward was just three-years-old when a young kid named Chipper Jones came to his first big league Spring Training in 1993 and started to get guidance from Justice, Terry Pendleton and some of the other veterans.
“No matter how old Chipper gets, he’ll never be older than me,” Justice said. “I still look at him like that young kid. He’ll never stop looking like the young Chipper that I first met.”
That young Chipper who will turn 40 in April has never forgot about the way Justice, McGriff and Terry Pendleton took care of him during the early years of his career. He has credited each of them numerous times throughout his career and took time to do so again on Monday when Justice and McGriff arrived in camp to begin a week-long stint as special Spring Training instructors.
“It’s always good to have the alumni back spreading their knowledge,” Jones said. “Those guys were the guys who took me under their wing and really gave me so much guidance when I was younger.”
Check out more about Justice and McGriff in today’s notebook, which also includes a note on the ambitious Andrelton Simmons and updates on Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens.
Once Justice and McGriff complete their week-long experience in camp, the Braves will welcome Dale Murphy (March 3-18), Phil Niekro (March 5-10) and Gene Garber (March 19-23). Tom Glavine and John Smoltz are also expected to participate, but their dates have not yet been set.
It’s great to see Murphy is going to be in camp for more than a week. He is going to do color commentary on many the games that will be broadcast on radio during his time in camp.
Many of you are likely tired of the daily Tommy Hanson concussion-related updates and looking forward to hearing more about his altered delivery. Well, it’s pretty safe to assume he feels the same way. He went through his conditioning drills without a problem and went to see a local doctor Monday with the hope of being cleared to participate in Tuesday’s workout.
Hanson is still saying he will be ready for the start of the season and that is certainly still a possibility. But with the big right-hander a week behind and in the midst of getting comfortable with an altered delivery, there is no reason to rush him. This leads me to believe Jair Jurrjens will get the Opening Day start against the Mets. His right knee has continued to cooperate through the first week of camp.
To give Hanson nearly an extra week to prepare, the Braves could line up their starting pitchers like this:
Jurrjens @ Mets April 5
Beachy @ Mets April 7
Minor @ Mets April 8
Delgado/Teheran @ Astros April 9
Jurrjens @ Astros April 10
Hanson @ Astros April 11
If the Braves choose to go this route, Brandon Beachy would be lined up to start the April 13 home opener against the Brewers.