LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – After going through six or seven of these, you might think a major league player wouldn’t get excited about the first full-squad workout of spring training.
Braves left fielder Martin Prado would set you straight.
“Oh, man, I feel like a kid,” he said while suiting up for Saturday’s full-squad workout, the first of spring. “And I think when I’m not feeling that anymore, it’s time to quit.
“I love it. There’s probably 100 million kids that want to be in this spot. I’m hoping that God gives me this same feeling every year, until He says, you’re done. And walk away.”
After putting the Braves through a 3-1/2-hour session that began with a team meeting in center field and ended with wind sprints in right field, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez seemed pleased and relieved.
A new baseball year was officially underway for the Braves. Another step in putting last year’s September disappointment behind them.
“I’ve sensed a good vibe since [camp opened],” said Gonzalez, who was pleased when most position players reported 4-6 days early, during pitchers-and-catchers workouts last week. “These guys are ready to get going. That was exciting to see, to see that look in their eyes. It was a good feeling.”
After just one official workout, right fielder Jason Heyward was eager to play games.
“I think everybody’s a little antsy,” he said. “We’re doing fundamentals right now, waiting on the games to roll around. But it’s necessary.”
Was he pumped over the start of full-squad workouts? Heyward smiled.
“It’s baseball, man. You’ve got to have fun,” he said. “This is something I love to do. We all showed up early, wanting to have fun together. We had a great time last year. Unfortunately it didn’t end up the way we wanted. We want to turn that around.”