Atlanta Braves - PlayerWatch
LHP Mike Minor, who was 13-9 with a 3.21 ERA last season, was scheduled to throw off the mound for the first time March 5 since being shut down after feeling shoulder discomfort early in camp. The soreness was blamed on trying to do too much too soon after a month of inactivity following urinary tract surgery on Dec. 31.
LHP Jonny Venters was to be cleared to begin throwing off a mound with limited effort on March 5. Venters hopes to join Atlanta's bullpen in late May or early June as he returns from his second Tommy John surgery.
RHP Julio Teheran's first spring inning after a signing a six-year contract extension worth $32.4 million couldn't have been more impressive. He retired the Nationals in order on five pitches with a strikeout March 1. Teheran did allow a pair of two-out singles in his second and final inning, but he finished with 21 strikes in 30 pitches.
RHP Gavin Floyd, signed by the Braves as a free agent, was scheduled to throw live batting practice for the first time March 5. He had Tommy John elbow surgery last May while with the White Sox, and he seems to be on target for a return about 12 months later.
RHP Freddy Garcia, bidding for a spot in the rotation, didn't allow a baserunner in his first five spring innings. He retired nine consecutive Mets batters on March 3 after getting six Tigers in a row on Feb. 26 in the spring opener. Garcia, 37, signed a minor league contract with a March 25 out clause if he is not guaranteed a spot in Atlanta. "It's still a long spring, but he's been really, really impressive," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
C Gerald Laird caught in the bullpen March 4 and was expected to return to the lineup soon. He hadn't appeared in a spring game since straining his back on a swing in the first inning Feb. 27 against Detroit. Laird left after catching the bottom of the inning at Lakeland, Fla.