The scene inside the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center was priceless.
Day 3 of the Braves Country Caravan, which featured first baseman Freddie Freeman, infielder Tyler Pastornicky and prospect J.R. Graham, made a stop at the Active Duty Rehab Unit and brought smiles to the Wounded Warriors. The players spent more than an hour interacting with the soliders and veterans, signing autographs and taking pictures with anyone that stopped by.
While the baseball news of the day centered on acquistion of Justin Upton and the departure of Martin Prado, Freeman, Pastornicky and Graham all reminded what was really important.
TALKING BASEBALL: With the news breaking that Arizona and Atlanta made a seven-player deal that sent Prado, Randall Delgado and prospects Nick Ahmed, Brandon Drury and Zeke Spruill to the Diamondbacks for Upton and Chris Johnson, talk turned to general manager Frank Wren and the job he's done.
"When you've got a GM that wants to win, especially with the group of guys around us, it's pretty special," Freeman said. "Every year they're trying to make us better. We're losing a couple of key guys and he's going in trying to do the best job he can to replace them."
While at the moment the news wasn't official, Pastornicky, who started last season as the starting shortstop, had high praise for Prado.
"He's as much of an idol that I have," said Pastornicky, who has been working at several positions this winter to make himself more valuable. "I look up to him a lot. He's a great overall player and I try to model my game after him. He's a great friend of mine."
Pastornicky said Prado has offered advice to try and help make him a better overall player.
"I talk to him all the time about stuff and you watch him play. He's just an awesome player and awesome overall guy. I try to copy him and am going to continue to try and copy him, learning how to play all the different positions and playing them well."
Pastornicky has spent much of the winter trying to improve his game and is using his struggles from last year as motivation for the new season.
"I learned a lot last year, I had a lot of ups and downs and I think I went through a lot and it made me mentally tough. So I really don't think there's anything I can't handle. ... I'm ready to go and ready to use that and become more consistent in my game and do whatever they need me to do this year."