Viera, Fla. – Braves officials scoffed at a report claiming they told teams that veteran catcher David Ross was available.
“I can tell you, we wouldn’t even think about trading him,” manager Bobby Cox said. “That’s completely made up. It doesn’t make any sense.”
ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark wrote in his Saturday blog that “other clubs report the Braves have told teams he’s available — possibly in a catcher-for-catcher swap for a younger backup-catcher type.”
Considered one of the top backup catchers in baseball, Ross hit .273 with seven homers and a solid .888 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) in 128 at-bats last season, filling in ably for All-Star catcher Brian McCann.
Ross is in the second year of a two-year, $3 million contract, and teammates say he’s an integral part of their team chemistry as one the most respected and popular players in the clubhouse.
“That [ESPN rumor] made no sense whatsoever,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “That’s one of the things we like most about our club, is the depth and quality of our bench.”
Ross was out of the lineup all weekend with a strained groin. He’s hit .357 with four doubles and eight RBIs in 28 at-bats this spring.
Escobar scratched again
Shortstop Yunel Escobar stayed back at Braves camp Sunday to treat a stiff lower back that’s kept him out of the past two games. He was on the original travel roster for Sunday’s game against the Nationals in Viera, Fla.
“We’ll see how he is tomorrow,” Cox said. “But he’s ready to go [for the regular season]. Might as well try to get him 100 percent.”
Escobar has hit .325 with six doubles, a homer and nine RBIs with only three strikeouts 40 at-bats.