Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — Last year’s Braves phenom Tommy Hanson will start and this year’s phenom Jason Heyward will play right field in Tuesday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Mets at Port St. Lucie, Fla., weather permitting. The forecast is for rain and thunderstorms.
The Braves plan to take four lineup regulars – Brian McCann, Yunel Escobar, Martin Prado, Nate McLouth – and right-field candidate Heyward, whose car-denting and window-shattering homers have been the talk of spring training. First-base prospect Freddie Freeman, Heyward’s good friend, is also scheduled to make the trip.
The Mets will start right-hander Nelson Figueroa and use a lineup that includes new slugger Jason Bay, David Wright, Jose Reyes and former Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur.
Planned relief pitchers for the Braves include Kris Medlen, Jesse Chavez, Michael Dunn, Chris Resop, James Parr and Manny Acosta.
Jurrjens’ bullpen session “excellent”
Jair Jurrjens threw his first bullpen session of spring training Monday, and Cox termed it pain-free and “excellent,” albeit lasting only about 15 pitches per trainer’s orders.
The right-hander, hindered by shoulder inflammation in the opening 1-1/2 weeks camp, threw all fastballs Monday. His pitches had zip and good movement, Cox said.
Jurrjens could need at least three more bullpen sessions before pitching in a Grapefruit League game, but Cox believes there’s plenty of time for him to prepare for the season.