Terdoslavich, Bethancourt impressive in spring stint

Vivlamore reporting from Florida.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The timing could not have been better for Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez to make his point with a young prospect.

A day before Chipper Jones announced that 2012 would be his last season, Gonzalez reminded Joey Terdoslavich that the third baseman was nearing the end of his career.

The Braves re-assigned Terdoslavich to the minor leagues on Thursday, the day Jones made his announcement. On Wednesday, in Viera for a Grapefruit League game against the Nationals, Gonzalez had a conversation with the player who could be Jones’ heir apparent.

“I said ‘You know, No. 10, you don’t know how long he is going to play for. He’s 40 years old,’” Gonzalez recalled.

Gonzalez said Terdoslavich will likely start the season at Class AA but could begin at Class AAA. The plan is for the infielder to move back to third base. He spent most of last season at first base at high-Class A Lynchburg, where he hit .286 with 20 home runs and a league-record 52 doubles. He played primarily third base in high school and college.

“I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t do it,” Gonzalez said of Terdoslavich playing third base.

Also Thursday, the Braves re-assigned catcher Christian Bethancourt, right-hander Adam Russell and infielder Ernesto Mejia. On Friday, they re-assigned left-hander Dusty Hughes.

Gonzalez said it won’t be long until Terdoslavich and Bethancourt are major-leaguers. He said Bethancourt already had the defensive ability to play in the big leagues.

“It’s a matter of them letting us know they are ready,” Gonzalez said. “What I mean by that, when they tear up the minor leagues and there is no other place to send them than the big leagues, then we’ll see them. From what I’ve seen here, it’s close.”

General manager Frank Wren said it’s too early to think about who will take over for Jones.

“We are going to have to be thinking about another third baseman and another middle-of-the-lineup hitter, but that is for another day,” he said.

Minor struggles

Left-hander Mike Minor had his first rough outing of the spring, giving up his first Grapefruit League runs Friday against the Mets. Minor worked 4 2/3 innings and allowed three runs, two earned, three hits and four walks. He struck out three. Minor had not allowed a run over 14 innings in his previous four starts.

“The fastball I’ve had that every game, for the most part, and today I couldn’t really locate it,” Minor said. “When I did, I tried to throw a strike and throw it down the middle and they would hit it and hit it pretty hard. … I got lucky and got out of some jams. Pretty much the only pitch I had today was the change-up.”

Minor was scheduled to pitch six innings but couldn’t make it out of the fifth.

“It was one of the days I’m glad I had because it’s spring training and I think you need those games where you don’t have everything and you have to get through it,” Minor said. “It was good practice to get out there and struggle a little bit.”

Despite the outing, Minor has a spot in the season-opening rotation, Gonzalez said.

“I’m ready to say Minor is in the rotation, and not necessarily the fifth [spot],” Gonzalez said. “I’m not ready to say he’s our fifth. He might be better than that.”

That leaves right-hander Randall Delgado, who will start Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays, and Julio Teheren to battle for the spot in the rotation until Tim Hudson returns from off-season back surgery, according to Gonzalez. There is also a possibility that the Braves will start with a four-man rotation the first part of the season, not needing a fifth starter until April 17.

Braves down Mets

Dan Uggla went 3-for-4, including a two-run homer, and had three RBIs and the Braves pounded out 11 hits in a 9-4 victory over the Mets at Champion Stadium Friday. It was Uggla’s fifth home run of the spring. Michael Bourn (one RBI) and Martin Prado (two RBIs) each went 2-for-4, including back-to-back triples in the first inning.

Yohan Flande got the win for the Braves (7-13-3).

First baseman Freddie Freeman is day-to-day with a left hand soft tissue contusion after being hit by a pitch in the fourth inning. Right-hander Anthony Varvaro left with a right pectoral strain. Reliver Jonny Venters has been held out for several days with a sore shoulder.

On the mend

Gonzalez said he expects Hudson to pitch on April 2 – either in the final exhibition game against the Mets or in a minor-league game.

“We’ll get to see him face some hitters,” Gonzalez said.

The plan is for Hudson to make his regular-season debut, barring a setback, during the team’s four-game series against the Pirates April 27-30.

Jack Wilson played his second minor-league game Friday in his return from a strained right calf. The plan is for the shortstop to play additional games on Saturday and Sunday, working up to seven innings, before joining the big club after Monday’s off day. Gonzalez said Wilson, again barring a setback, will be ready for the start of the regular season.

Etc.

Delgado will be followed by Christian Martinez against the Blue Jays. Most Braves regulars will be making the trip except Michael Bourn, Uggla and Jones. … Kris Medlen threw five innings of one-hit ball in a minor-league game Friday. He struck out one in throwing 45 pitches.

65 comments Add your comment

Freddie Freeman

March 23rd, 2012
4:28 pm

Freddie is on first

smalltownbravesfan

March 23rd, 2012
4:32 pm

hopefully Joey T tears up AA & AAA, takes over @ 3B next year. could be the 4th year running that the Braves start a rookie.

smalltownbravesfan

March 23rd, 2012
4:33 pm

Bethancout will make 5 in 2014.

Art Vandelay

March 23rd, 2012
4:39 pm

I’m rarely a naysayer about how the team handles things since I figure that I am just a dufus fan. However, I don’t see how we can’t have Medlen in the rotation. He has clearly be at least the 2nd best pitcher in spring training this year so far. My vote for the rotation would be (in no order) Jurjens, Hanson, Minor, Beachy, Medlen. Neither Delgado nor Teheren have shown me anything that they should be in the rotation at the onset of the season. PLUS we have Hudson coming back in May.

smalltownbravesfan

March 23rd, 2012
4:44 pm

i agree Art , Medlen should be starting in Hudson’s spot. plus if JJ not pitching well when Hudson returns and Medlen is, then he stays and JJ goes (somewhere)

smalltownbravesfan

March 23rd, 2012
4:46 pm

hopefully JJ gets his stuff together and they can trade him for LF/3B/CF, then Medlen stays in rotation

LAG

March 23rd, 2012
4:54 pm

This has probably been discussed before, but if Bethancourt is MLB-ready in ‘13 or even ‘14, where do you play him?

Larry

March 23rd, 2012
5:04 pm

“I said ‘You know, No. 10, you don’t know how long he is going to play for. He’s 40 years old,’” Gonzalez recalled.”

Without peer is the genius of Fruiti, and his very words igniting an involuntary pause to listen carefully among the earth’s greatest of cognitive processing and manifestation?

I have to mention it just once more “I said you know…you don’t know…”

Indeed, sir, I am in awe!

phil

March 23rd, 2012
5:21 pm

LOL at Larry…Poor FG.

phil

March 23rd, 2012
5:22 pm

When we say the shoulder is sore, do we mean yardwork sore or SORE, as in, potential big trouble?

Stinger2

March 23rd, 2012
5:45 pm

I hope all these people who are making negative comments and trying to be funny when referring to FG will be ready to apologize when the Braves win the division or wild card this year.

pastor mackdaddy

March 23rd, 2012
5:50 pm

sounds like to me F Wren and FG are not on the same page about who’s on third (or gonna be on third)!

Bayou Brave

March 23rd, 2012
5:50 pm

Medlen should be the 5th starter.

Jack Flash

March 23rd, 2012
5:50 pm

Sounds like Wren & Fredi are not on the same page…esp about 3rd base.

MikeY

March 23rd, 2012
5:52 pm

Braves actually do not need a 5th starter till 4/19.

Jack Flash

March 23rd, 2012
5:52 pm

Pastor @5:50..we are thinking a like…

pastor mackdaddy

March 23rd, 2012
5:54 pm

amen Jack Flash

alanfalcon

March 23rd, 2012
5:58 pm

I wonder what Franks thoughts were when reading the SI article, did he believe them or his projections about the team?

gotigers72

March 23rd, 2012
6:36 pm

Since their 1-10-1 start, the Braves are playing .700 ball at 7-3-2. Just sayin’. I’ll be interested about what their record is for the last 12 games when most of the regulars will be playing most of the time, and the rotation will be pitching more innings with the bullpen pitching in situations that they will be in during the season.

gotigers72

March 23rd, 2012
6:42 pm

Oh well, I was wrong. They are 6-3-2 since opening 1-10-1. Still that’s a .667 percentage which is not too shabby. That would be 108 wins if it carried through an entire regular season. Not likely, but it’s been done by one of the Bobby Cox Braves teams I believe.

Jake

March 23rd, 2012
6:51 pm

I don’t like that Venters has a sore shoulder.

Memphis

March 23rd, 2012
6:52 pm

Spring Training baseball records are meaningless. The Royals had the most wins last year. I agree with Medlen, however we haven’t seen him pitch longer than 5 innings. Even when he was starting in 2010, he’d routinely be awesome for 5 or 6 innings, and then all of a sudden run out of gas. I’d go Hanson, Jurrjens, Beachy, Minor, Delgado for the time being. Delgado showed he has great stuff last season. And he seems to be the more poised of the two (Teheran)

Braveslog

March 23rd, 2012
7:21 pm

Parraz, Sutton, and Durango also look good. more on that here:

http://braveslog.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/dont-stop-believeing/

Around The Horn

March 23rd, 2012
7:21 pm

FrHeidi

Perhaps Fredi’s newest nickname should be FrHeidi.

You know the story. Orphaned Heidi managed to penetrate the harsh exterior of her grumpy grandfather and subsequently had a delightful stay with him.

Marlin orphan FrHeidi has now reunited with past family ties in Atlanta. But is FrHeidi truly able to manage the Braves or is he simply wanting a delightful stay — by doing everything he can to not alienate anyone or make waves?

Virtually everything FrHeidi says seems designed to placate, gloss over and maintain a sense that everything is OK.

But is everything really OK? Is this what the Braves truly need in a manager?

Hire Ryan Sandberg, an up and comer with a history of being a winner — or someone like him.

All FrHeidi brings is a middle of the road, kumbaya style mediocrity.

rico43

March 23rd, 2012
7:29 pm

Varvaro went a long way to ruin Minor’s day. One of the earned runs scored when Varvaro followed him and failed to retire any of the four hitters he faced. Flande cleaned up his mess by getting out of a bases loaded jam and has still not allowed a run this spring.

Based on results, Flande and Gearrin have earned the final two bullpen roles.

mpimentel

March 23rd, 2012
7:32 pm

yeah fire fredi…but wait who gonna mng us in a couple of weeks….you?

mpimentel

March 23rd, 2012
7:33 pm

how bad or serious is venter’s injury shoulder?

mpimentel

March 23rd, 2012
7:35 pm

oh gosh….jj, hanson, hudson, vizcaino and now varvaro -.venters…how many arms have our pitching coach dammage so far…my GOD….

mpimentel

March 23rd, 2012
7:36 pm

MINOR DON’T LISTEN whatever roger told you to do…SAVE YOUR ARM FROM HIM…

mpimentel

March 23rd, 2012
7:40 pm

DOB I have a question…how many times our starting pitchers were to DL under mazzone regime of work?….I don’t remember tommy, maddux, neaggle, milwood going to DL as common of this corp…

Jack Flash

March 23rd, 2012
7:47 pm

mpimentel..this is Chris on blog not DOB….he is on vacation.

I too would like to see Durango, Sutton and Parraz on team…trade Diaz & Wilson.

jim

March 23rd, 2012
8:12 pm

In he Mazzone era arm injuries included:
Avery, Borbon, Jr., McGinchey, Wohlers, Stanton, (the guy traded to LA in the Sheffield deal whose name I’m blocking), and John Smoltz (twice).

Was Mazzone still around when Hampton first broke down?

DaveinNEPA

March 23rd, 2012
8:20 pm

Venters’ shoulder is sore?

Shouldn’t that have been the main story instead of being buried in the afterthoughts?

Largo

March 23rd, 2012
8:30 pm

Hopefully, BUT NOT LIKELY, the offense will be better this year. Starting pitching – plenty of arms but quality of those arms is questionable. The big three in the bullpen – as good as last year? Not likely, Venters, when he can get it over the plate, is still getting hit like at the end of last year.

This team has other problems but those above are the largest ones.

JAFO

March 23rd, 2012
8:43 pm

THAT Larry is a ‘failure to communicate.’ Classic. But the ‘true fans’ know he’s a winner.

JoeFan

March 23rd, 2012
8:47 pm

Bethancourt takes over for McCann in 2014. Brian leaves the Braves via free agency. All this is based upon Bethancourt continued progress and the Braves not willing to throw large amounts of cash at McCann whose best years are likely behind him.

kerryb

March 23rd, 2012
8:48 pm

Largo
March 23rd, 2012
8:30 pm

Hopefully, BUT NOT LIKELY, the offense will be better this year. Starting pitching – plenty of arms but quality of those arms is questionable. The big three in the bullpen – as good as last year? Not likely, Venters, when he can get it over the plate, is still getting hit like at the end of last year.

This team has other problems but those above are the largest ones.

_________________________________________________________________

NOT LIKELY? Are you kidding me? Have you seen any of these games yet? Prado looks back to form, Uggla is knocking the cover off the ball, Heyward is starting to look like the Heyward of 2010 when he swings, Freeman’s had a little nagging knee thing but he hit one out yesterday and had a double, McCann is looking like the usual McCann. They all say they love the hitting approach of the hitting coaches Walker and Fletcher. One of the problems last year was that pathetic hitting coach Parrish. I haven’t heard of any of them saying that they liked the guy. Quit being so negative, I think these guys are going to be pretty good this year.

kerryb

March 23rd, 2012
8:52 pm

JoeFan, Bethancourt will replace David Ross as the backup. McCann is only in his 6th full season. Better days behind him? McCann just turned 28 last month. He is just about to hit his prime. He is already the next face of the Braves and they will NOT let him go. Dude, have some idea of what you are talking about before you post.

kerryb

March 23rd, 2012
8:54 pm

Also, everyone in MLB will tell you that Brian McCann is the best offensive catcher in baseball. Better days behind him???????

Let's Go

March 23rd, 2012
9:08 pm

JoeFan @ 8:47pm
That’s a bold statement that McCann’s best days are behind him but if last year’s downslide wasn’t just due to injury you could be right but I’m not ready to throw in the towel on BigMac just yet. If what MLB had the other day is correct and he is batting 3rd with Uggla & Chipper behind him I expect him to have a big year. And after his big year I expect the Braves to extend his contract during the off season instead of just picking up his 2013 option and then letting him explore free agency. After what the StL gave Molina this year the Braves do not want to screw this up by waiting too long.

old man

March 23rd, 2012
9:26 pm

1. Medlen should be in the rotation.

2. Sutton should start at SS.

3. Parraz and Durango should make the team. Diaz and Wilson should not.

Largo

March 23rd, 2012
9:57 pm

kerryb. . .I like your optimism and hope the braves do as well as you think they will. However, because of injuries (sure to come) and the reasons I stated above, plus lack of good management, I’m not quite the optimist you seem to be.

Regarding JoeFan’s comment about McCann’s best days likely being behind him: McCann’s batting average has dropped some fifty points since his first couple of years. Also, it’s getting a bit difficult for him to catch up the hard fastball.

Good Luck to the braves.

Matt

March 23rd, 2012
10:05 pm

Venters? Sore shoulder? Uh oh…….

TGIF

March 23rd, 2012
11:04 pm

At least none of that endless drivel on the ‘main blog’. It’s unbearable

Trapper John

March 23rd, 2012
11:41 pm

Hey kerryb. Who do you think hired Parrish? Oh yeah. that guy. Fruiti Gonzales.

David O'Brien

March 23rd, 2012
11:48 pm

mpimentel..this is Chris on blog not DOB….he is on vacation. — Jack Flash

We sportswriters don’t have “days off,” we have “vacation.” Every day is either a work day or a vacation day. As opposed to, well, most every other working person in the U.S., who gets a day or two off each week, in addition to 2-4 weeks vacation per year. Makes sense to me.

Tim

March 24th, 2012
4:56 am

@Trapper John

You need to get a clue buddy. Frank Wren hired Parrish because he knew Parrish but working with the Tigers. That’s why Wren fired and said I take total blame because the guy I hired didn’t work out.

Bill M.

March 24th, 2012
7:29 am

Kerryb— Bethancourt will not be a backup. He will be the Braves starting catcher or be traded. You don’t use a young kid for backup. If he has a great year, he just might be the catcher next season. McCann is one of my favorites but he has alot of problems staying healthy and he’s not a very good catcher. He can hit. He needs to be in the american league.

Puma

March 24th, 2012
7:40 am

Positives going into the last days of Spring Training.

McCann returning to form as baseball’s premier offensive catcher – .297
Chipper’s classy retirement announcement now for the future Hall of Famer
Uggla on track – batting .311 with 5 homers
Prado hitting like a man on fire (.367 – top 25 of all players this spring), seems more comfortable in LF
Durango – batting .476 and an OBP of .577
Parraz – batting .400 and a.455 OBP
Braves team batting average continues to improve
Minor – pitching well
Medlen – the man can pitch
Hudson – the cagey veteran will be ready when his time comes in late April
Flande – nice surprise
Kimbrel – good to go
Very green grass at Turner Field

(Philly)Hater

March 24th, 2012
7:49 am

After last September’s debacle, boring offseason, and a pathetic ST, I’ve never been so unenthusiastic about Braves baseball…..when’s Falcons preseason start???

Paddy

March 24th, 2012
9:10 am

Larry, you have a way with words that only FG can dream about!

Jack Flash

March 24th, 2012
9:57 am

agree Bill M

reckingball

March 24th, 2012
9:58 am

The Braves can take it all this year! WS winner 2012!
Go Braves!

Jack Flash

March 24th, 2012
10:08 am

DOB @ 11:48… everyone needs a day off (vacation)call it what you wish.I know you earn your money (unlike some)and I thank you for that. Keep up the good work.

Rufio

March 24th, 2012
10:23 am

Unfortunately, I am afraid that Freddi G and Frank Wren are to rigid in their plans to stay with a hot hitter or the pitcher no one hits. This appears to be the case with Medlen. One of the best in camp and Wrens says Yea, he will be in the bullpen. Meanwhile, Jurrjen has a 10+ era this spring. Am I suggesting that the Braves throw JJ to the side ? No. I am saying let someone who works hard and achieves have the opportunity to play. It works well at our Catcher position. If Mccann is hurt then David Ross does a great job filling the spot. It allows Mccann to recover without the pressure of getting back. The fact is Ross should have played more time at the end of the year.

Medlen had a hell of a game starting back last year and his reward is go back to the pen.

Paddy

March 24th, 2012
10:38 am

Rufio…….. Medlen’s reward is to be on the team in any capacity. Any player that has not reached star status justs want to help the team in any way possible. He is not being punished, he is being rewarded by being given a chance to show his star power! Teams that do not have this mentality never win!!

blueridge

March 24th, 2012
10:50 am

If you had to pick one pitcher from the Braves staff to start a game seven, right now, who would you choose?

For me- Medlen. He has to start.

Jack Flash

March 24th, 2012
11:02 am

Chipper will have surgery Thursday for tore meniscus on knee….if true we in trouble again. Joey may get some work.

JoeFan

March 24th, 2012
11:19 am

Joey T.gets an early opportunity or the Braves move Prado to 3B and and have even larger hole to fill in LF.

Cali Brave fan

March 24th, 2012
12:24 pm

? whats the possibility of moving mCcann to third and starting bethancourt at catcher. Macs defense at c is avg to poor and bethancourt can throw out runners, maybe mac can play passable d at third and his offensive # will improve.

Pai-Yow

March 24th, 2012
12:33 pm

I would love to see Bethancourt and Gattis behind the plate for the Braves…especially with Gattis’ bat…wow. I say work Gattis in the minors both behind the plate and at first so he gets AB’s…and since Bethancourt is “ready” then I think the Braves could use a younger catcher soon. Just not too sure about his consistancy at the plate. What you all think?

danny

March 24th, 2012
5:51 pm

JoeFan…….I am in total agreement about McCann. I love Mac but we need to think about trading him while he still has some value. He is starting to break down and with the emergence of Freddie Freeman we have no where to put him. An American League team would love to have him as a DH.

TeheranTime

March 25th, 2012
7:00 am

It certainly is pretty negative on the old blog. I understand why. The Braves stood pat, have a good group of injured players and need I mention last season’s meltdown? Braves fans were negative during the last few years of the Bobby Cox era as well. This team will never field teams like the 90’s again. We had better get used to it and get over it.

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