Braves Spring Training Notebook: Pitchers already on the clock
Updated: Feb 19
NORTH PORT, FL -- Another day's work is in the books for the Atlanta Braves, who are now just a week away from beginning their exhibition slate.
On Saturday, the Braves held a live batting practice session on the back fields. Ian Anderson and Jared Shuster alternated two innings against hitters Austin Riley, Matt Olson, and Eddie Rosario. The pitch clocks were running for each at-bat in addition to the 30 second interval between batters. Many of the Braves other pitchers, including Max Fried and Kyle Wright, were on hand to watch how Anderson and Shuster dealt with the new clocks.
Anderson is vying for the fifth spot in Atlanta's rotation while Shuster will likely begin the season as part of the Triple-A Gwinnett starting staff. Both men seemed comfortable with the pitch clock and showed no real issues working at the new pace. Anderson was forced to step off with a 3-0 count prior to the clock expiring in order to avoid what would be an automatic ball. That was permissible since each pitcher is allowed two disengagements per at-bat and he'd yet to use any. Manager Brian Snitker was on hand to watch the session and mentioned the club will meet with MLB official next week to go over video and seek clarification on the rules as needed.
Michael Soroka begins throwing...
Just one day after Snitker revealed that Michael Soroka was dealing with some hamstring tightness that is limiting his activities early in camp, the righty played catch on Thursday. Soroka reported to camp and let the team know about the hamstring issue which began bothering him after a recent workout.
Snitker reiterated that the Braves aren't going to rush any of their pitchers with nearly six weeks to go in camp. Unlike last season, when the lockout forced all clubs to accelerate their spring training timetable, the Braves prefer to be cautious with any pitcher dealing with any ailment, big or small. Snitker said they're hoping to have Soroka ramp up his activities and rejoin the other pitchers in the near future.
Kyle Wright not resting on last year's success...
I had a chance to catch up with Kyle Wright, who you'll hear from in the next edition of my Braves Player Preview Series. Among the topics of conversation was how Wright is approaching the first major league spring training in which he doesn't have to earn a spot on the roster, let alone make the rotation.
"I'm fortunate enough that I can kind of use spring to really get ready instead of coming in and having to compete right away. Not that it's going to really change too much, because I still want to compete and that's the goal," said Wright.
Wright's outlook is a result of his experience. Some of the most important lessons he draws from date back to his college baseball days, during which time he played under Tim Corbin at Vanderbilt.
"One of the best things my college coach ever taught us about baseball was that positions are rented, not earned," revealed Wright. "I think that was one of the best pieces of advice I ever got. Even though I had a great year and put myself in a good position this year, if you don't perform, everything's rented."
Grant McAuley covers the Braves for 92-9 The Game in Atlanta. Follow Grant on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to From The Diamond wherever you get your podcasts.