Hanson, Hudson get in final tuneups
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — after experiencing a Spring Training filled with beautiful weather, the Braves said goodbye to Florida on Monday amid the rainy conditions that forced them to cancel their night game against the Nationals.
The rain prevented Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson from pitching in the Minor League games they were scheduled to start on Monday afternoon, but both made their final tuneups for the regular season by throwing to Minor League hitters in the indoor batting cages at Champion Stadium.
“It didn’t feel weird, because I’ve had to make starts in the cages both of the past two years,” Hanson said. “It’s not a shocker. every time I come down here, my starts get rained out. I was just trying to get my work in, and I feel pretty good with all of my pitches.”
as he prepares for Saturday afternoon’s season debut against the Nationals, Hanson is encouraged that it’s been more than a week since he felt any discomfort in his back.
like Hanson, Hudson didn’t mind pitching in the cages as a substitute for what would have been his final Spring Training experience. The 35-year-old was simply happy to complete three simulated innings to get his arm ready for his regular-season debut, on Sunday.
“I liked pitching down there and having my catcher as the umpire,” Hudson said. “I was able to carve those kids up on the corners. but seriously, it really wasn’t weird at all. I just needed to get my work in.”
The Braves did decide to push Jair Jurrjens’ scheduled bullpen session back until Tuesday. They remain hopeful that Jurrjens’ previously sore right side will be healthy and allow him to make his regular-season debut on April 6 in Milwaukee.
Prado proving a natural in left field
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Martin Prado spent the past couple months dedicating himself to making the conversion from second baseman to left fielder. he proved successful enough to allow Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez to enter this season without any concerns about the left-field position.
“[Prado] might be the best left fielder in the National League,” Gonzalez said. “From what we’ve seen in Spring Training, he’s in the top five. … That’s how impressed I was with him picking up left field.”
After the Braves acquired second baseman Dan Uggla from the Marlins, they were confident Prado was athletic enough to make a smooth transition from infielder to outfielder. he proved so during the exhibition season by showing good range and quickly reacting to balls off the bat.
But Gonzalez said he was equally impressed to see Prado quickly learn all of his responsibilities as an outfielder.
“It was the little things, not just catching the ball and throwing the ball,” Gonzalez said. “When you see a ball hit off the wall, he’s backing up the guy where he’s supposed to be. When you see a ball going to right field, he backs up where he’s supposed to be.”
Braves get Bullock from Twins for Diamond
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Braves acquired right-handed pitcher Billy Bullock from the Twins in exchange for left-handed pitcher Scott Diamond.
This swap of Minor League pitchers gives the Twins the opportunity to keep Diamond without having to carry him on their 25-man roster throughout the season. They would have had to do so, because they originally acquired him from the Braves in December’s Rule 5 Draft.
Bullock has posted a 3.18 ERA and recorded 150 strikeouts in the 107 2/3 innings he has pitched during his first two professional seasons. Selected by the Twins in the second round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, the 23-year-old right-handed reliever soared to the Double-A level by the end of last summer.
While pitching for Double-A New Britain, Bullock worked 36 2/3 innings, recording 60 strikeouts and issuing 24 walks.
Diamond went 8-7 with a 3.46 ERA in the 27 combined starts he made for Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett last year.
The Braves will use each of their relievers to work at least the first seven innings of Tuesday night’s exhibition game against the Twins at Turner Field. … Brandon Beachy will start Wednesday afternoon’s exhibition against the Twins. Rodrigo Lopez, who is targeted to begin the year with Gwinnett, is also schedule to pitch three innings that day.
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