Braves to play all of their starters in Friday’s exhibition season opener
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has spent the past month answering questions about the Upton brothers and his talented new outfield. He will catch his first glimpse of this outfield trio in game action on Friday afternoon when the Braves open their exhibition season against the Tigers at Disney’s Champion Stadium.
Tim Hudson is scheduled to pitch the first two innings against the Tigers, who will start Rick Porcello. Craig Kimbrel and Cory Gearrin are among the Atlanta relievers who are expected to pitch at least one inning.
Minus the designated hitter being utilized in the pitcher’s spot, Gonzalez’s lineup for Friday’s game looks a lot like the one he will likely use in the April 1 Opening Day game against the Phillies. Each of the starters are expected to remain in the game for at least two plate appearances.
Blake DeWitt will begin Friday’s game as the designated hitter. After a couple plate appearances, he will be replaced by Evan Gattis.
Like he did with Tyler Pastornicky and Andrelton Simmons during their shortstop battle last year, Gonzalez plans to spend the early portion of the exhibition season utilizing Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson on an every other day basis at third base.
There is a chance Francisco and Johnson will begin the regular season platooning at third base. But the Braves are going to give both a chance to battled over the next couple weeks with an everyday role.
Andrelton Simmons SS
Jason Heyward RF
Justin Upton LF
Freddie Freeman 1B
B.J. Upton CF
Dan Uggla 2B
Juan Francisco 3B
Gerald Laird C
Blake DeWitt DH