LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — All-Stars Jason Heyward and Brian McCann highlight the travel squad for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener – and Fredi Gonzalez’s Braves managerial debut — against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman, center fielder Nate McLouth, outfielder Jordan Schafer and utility man Eric Hinske are also set to be in the starting lineup, with Hinske in left field and Schafer as designated hitter.
Gonzalez said his probable lineup Saturday would look like this: 1. Schafer DH, 2. McLouth CF, 3. Heyward RF, 4. McCann C, 5. Hinske LF, 6. Freeman 1B, 7. Brooks Conrad 2B, 8. Brandon Hicks 3B, 9. Diory Hernandez SS.
New second baseman Dan Uggla should make his Braves debut in Sunday’s home opener against the Mets at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Gonzalez is bringing some of the Braves’ top young pitchers on the trip, including rookie closer Craig Kimbrel, lefty Jonnny Venters, and prospects Randall Delgado and Brett Oberholtzer.
Delgado and Oberholtzer were among the extra arms on the travel roster, not scheduled to pitch but available if needed. Relievers scheduled to follow Jurrjens, in no particular order, include lefty Eric O’Flaherty, Venters, Kimbrel, Cristhian Martinez, Anthony Varvaro and Steve Marek.
Kenshin Kawakami will likely be in camp by the middle of next week, general manager Frank Wren said Friday. The veteran pitcher has been delayed by visa issues in Japan and missed the first two weeks of camp.
The Braves are trying to trade Kawakami, who had 1-10 record last season and is owed $6.7 million in the final year of his contract.