Glowing reports had circulated around the Augusta-area baseball community regarding North Augusta junior right-hander Rashad Byrd, so I made the trip to River Bluff on Tuesday night to put eyes on the football star for the first time.
Shelby Miller had his first spring start in front of a television camera Thursday, allowing fans the chance to see the new mid-rotation arm acquired in the Jason Heyward trade with the Cardinals.
Miller gave up one run on two hits in three innings, walking one and striking out two. More important than the numbers, the right-hander showed solid stuff from a live arm that should play well this season in an attempt to rebound from a sub-par 2014 by his standards.
Tyrell Jenkins made his first spring appearance on a broadcast Thursday night against the Yankees, giving Braves fans with an MLB.tv subscription a chance to see the prospect acquired in the Jason Heyward trade with the Cardinals. He didn't disappoint in his first inning, but he also showed both sides of his prospect coin over two innings of work.
A Yankees writer said the YES gun was a little hot, but the readings for Jenkins and Shelby Miller were on par with their past averages, so I'm going with those numbers with the caution that it's a TV gun.
Pirates right-hander and Greenbrier product Brandon Cumpton underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.
Cumpton was shut down early in Pirates spring camp after experiencing elbow discomfort, and it was discovered to be ligament damage. Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery Tuesday.
Greenbrier beat Grovetown on March 4 to start the region schedule on a positive note after sweeping through to a region title last year. The Wolfpack haven't lost a region game since April 2013, much of that because of starts like Nick Sandlin's against the Warriors.
The senior allowed two runs on two hits in seven innings, walking two and striking out 12 while inducing 19 swinging strikes. After struggling with command and control in the first inning, Sandlin settled in to allow just three baserunners in the final six innings.
What I considered one of the most important factors for the 2015 Braves season was the health of Mike Minor and Alex Wood. So far, Wood is doing well and appears strong. Minor, on the other hand, is basically close to worst-case scenario.
Minor was scratched from his start Sunday because of shoulder tightness. The Braves are sending him to Dr. James Andrews today for evaluation, with an announcement possibly coming Tuesday.
The Braves had their first broadcasted game Saturday by traveling split squad to the Mets on MLB.tv, highlighted by Mike Foltynewicz's spring debut and a start for Jose Peraza.
The Braves Spring Training television schedule was announced Monday, so far featuring 10 televised games and many more to be shown on MLB.tv.
FSS = Fox Sports South
SS = SportSouth
MLB.tv = MLB.tv online paid subscription
March 7 - vs. Mets, 1:10 p.m. (MLB.tv)
March 9 - vs. Nationals, 1:05 (MLB.tv)
March 12 - at Yankees, 7:05 (MLB.tv)
March 13 - at Mets, 1:10 (MLB.tv)
March 17 - at Red Sox, 1:05 (MLB.tv)
Whatever your opinion of Melvin Upton Jr., his injury that's opening the door to center field shouldn't be welcomed with gladness.
Upton has been sidelined for all of Spring Training with inflammation in a bone behind the ball of his left foot. He will miss all of April and could miss most of May, or he may not even return until June.
Braves Spring Training Watch is a week-long series detailing storylines that fans should keep an eye on as the team trains in Florida. The Spring Training primer can be found here. Part 1 of this series can be found here.