Braves open spring train­ing as con­fi­dent NL East cham­pi­ons

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL SPORTS - By Dick Scan­lon

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — At­lanta Braves pitch­ers and catch­ers had their first or­ga­nized work­out Satur­day, of­fi­cially end­ing a rel­a­tively quiet win­ter for the team that won the NL East.

It may have been a lit­tle too quiet for some crit­ics, con­sid­er­ing the ag­gres­sive ros­ter moves made by their divi­sion ri­vals. But Al­lS­tar first base­man Fred­die Free­man begs to dif­fer.

“Pretty much ev­ery­one came back, and we added Josh Don­ald­son and B-Mac (Brian McCann),” Free­man said. “I feel we have a 90-win team that got bet­ter, so I think we’re go­ing to be very good this year.”

Dar­ren O’Day was the other ma­jor win­ter ac­qui­si­tion, adding vet­eran depth to a bullpen that was tested last sea­son as the Braves won the divi­sion by eight games and qual­i­fied for the post­sea­son for the first time in five years.

“We’ve kind of got­ten to the point where there’s not a lot of holes, maybe one starter, and we’ll take the best eight (re­liev­ers) with us north,” said Brian Snitker, who won the NL Man­ager of the Year award. “We used 33 pitch­ers last year. Ten guys made their de­buts. We’ve got a long time to be down here and to sort things out. But you’ve got to like the depth and what we have.”

The first pri­or­ity will be find­ing a fifth starter be­hind Mike Foltynewicz, Julio Te­heran, Sean New­comb and Kevin Gaus­man.

Mike Soroka, a 21-yearold right-han­der who went 2-1 in five starts be­fore shoul­der pain ended his rookie sea­son in June, is one of the lead­ing can­di­dates to fill the No. 5 spot.

/ Con­trib­uted by Gail Con­ner

FBC BAS­KET­BALL: First Bap­tist Church bas­ket­ball teams con­tinue to have fun dur­ing Fe­bru­ary, get­ting in ad­di­tional games for the 2019 sea­son. The Green and Pur­ple teams faced off in re­cent days with a 13-8 vic­tory for the green team.

/ AP-John Raoux

Fred­die Free­man of the At­lanta Braves base­ball team. This im­age re­flects the 2019 ac­tive ros­ter as of Fri­day Feb. 22, 2019, when this im­age was taken.

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