Bottom of Braves rotation still open

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For a change, the Atlanta Braves have a few open spots in their rotation heading toward Opening Day.

Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens are locked in as the top two starters. After that, it’s more uncertain until Tim Hudson returns early in the season after recovering from back surgery.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has plenty of options, with Brandon Beachy likely set in the No. 3 spot and Mike Minor the probable fourth starter.

Beyond them, the final slot is wide open.

Gonzalez said Saturday that there’s a lot of competition to fill out the rotation.

BREWERS: His 50-game suspension and months of anxiety lifted from his shoulders, Ryan Braun carried only an equipment bag containing his bat and glove.

No speeches or suspicions on Saturday.

Braun took batting practice, shagged fly balls in the outfield and ran the bases like a little kid, relishing every second in the sun.

“I had a lot of fun today, just being around my teammates and being on the baseball field and getting to play baseball was nice,” he said. “It was a lot of fun.”

RED SOX: There will be no drinking in the Boston clubhouse this season.

The team will ban alcohol in the clubhouse and on the last plane flight of road trips, new manager Bobby Valentine said.

The move comes in the wake of last season’s September collapse in the AL East, a tailspin that included reports of Boston starting pitchers drinking beer in the clubhouse on their off-days rather than supporting their teammates in the dugout.

PHILLIES: Cliff Lee will work in a side bullpen session today when Philadelphia’s pitchers throw to hitters for the first time in camp.

Lee is nursing a minor abdominal injury. He’s expected to step back into line with the rest of the star-studded pitching staff in the coming week.

• Injured Phillies star Ryan Howard is leaving Philadelphia’s spring training camp for a few days to visit the doctor who did the surgery on his torn left Achilles tendon.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said it was a “routine checkup.”

CARDINALS: Ozzie Smith suited up with St. Louis as a spring training instructor for the first time, saying it was nice to breathe "good baseball air."

A rift with manager Tony La Russa over the way Smith's playing career ended led to a lengthy estrangement, aside from formal functions, following his retirement in 1996.

But the Hall of Fame shortstop has been welcomed back into the fold by new manager Mike Matheny.


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