Astros Vs. Braves, Spring Training: Regulars Getting Action Against A Split-Squad Astros Team

The Braves host the Astros at 1:05, with the Braves throwing most of the regulars out there. The game is on 680 AM/93.7 FM, MLB.tv audio.

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Astros Vs. Braves Final Score: Three Home Runs Spark Braves Win, 7-1

The Braves went homer crazy against the Astros, knocking three over the fence to back five shutout innings by Jair Jurrjens, winning 7-1.

Wilkin Ramirez improved his case for fourth outfielder with a 2-4 day, driving in three along with a home run. He went yard in the second inning with a two-run shot off Bud Norris.

Chipper Jones continued his hot hitting with two hits, including a two-run home run in the third off Norris. Chipper definitely looks ready for the season, and his knee seems to be holding up well under multiple days in the infield.

Brian McCann hit a solo home run off Arcenio Leon in the eighth. He also added a single for two hits in four trips.

Nate McLouth continued his solid on-base ability this spring with two walks. Otherwise, the rest of the Braves hitters didn't manage much. Jurrjens actually knocked a triple, so there's that.

The backups contributed some. Brooks Conrad singled, Diory Hernandez and Joe Mather each walked.

Jurrjens pitched five strong innings, allowing two singles and no runs, one walk and four strikeouts. The two singles came back-to-back to lead off the fourth, followed by two strikeouts and a popout. Jurrjens had seven groundouts to three flyouts, and his control was spot on for most of the outing. Certainly a nice rebound start for Jurrjens.

Eric O'Flaherty pitched a scoreless sixth, including a strikeout of Michael Bourn. Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless seventh with two popouts. Scott Proctor was solid in the eighth, striking out the side after allowing a leadoff single. Mark one for Proctor in this one.

Cristhian Martinez allowed the lone run with two outs in the ninth: a solo home run. He struck out two in the inning.

Stock:

Proctor deserves a shout out for striking out the side in the eighth. The batters were fringe major leaguers, but it's three strikeouts nonetheless. It's a big step toward the final bullpen role for Proctor.

Nothing really changed offensively. Ramirez had a big day with the home run and three RBI, but whether it's enough to be in serious consideration for the backup outfielder role is not certain. He's probably too far back.

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Astros Vs. Braves, Spring Training: Regulars Getting Action Against A Split-Squad Astros Team

The Atlanta Braves host a split-squad version of the Houston Astros today at 1:05. Most of the regulars are getting some action today.

Braves Lineup:
1. Martin Prado, LF
2. Nate McLouth, CF
3. Chipper Jones, 3B
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Freddie Freeman, 1B
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Wilkin Ramirez, RF
9. Jair Jurrjens, SP

Braves Pitchers: Jair Jurrjens, Eric O'Flaherty, Craig Kimbrel, Scott Proctor, Cristhian Martinez

Astros Lineup:
1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Anderson Hernandez, 2B
3. Hunter Pence, RF
4. Carlos Lee, LF
5. Matt Downs, 1B
6. Oswaldo Navarro, 3B
7. Tommy Manzella, SS
8. Humberto Quintero, C
9. Bud Norris, SP

As I said, most of the regulars are getting the start with the exception of Jason Heyward, who has a sore back but isn't serious. Wilkin Ramirez gets another start in the outfield, and it looks like the Braves are really ramping up the plate appearances for the outfield candidates lately.

Nate McLouth makes his second straight start in center after the sore shoulder sidelined him for a few days. He went 2-4 with two singles Saturday.

I do like how Freeman is placed sixth in the order ahead of Gonzalez. It's really not a big deal, but I think he should be higher in the lineup than Gonzalez, even if it is seventh instead of eighth. And if McLouth falters, he would move to sixth, which is a production spot. He certainly shouldn't be eighth.

As a note, I mentioned yesterday how I couldn't find any news on why O'Flaherty didn't travel with the team when he was supposed to. He had a tight back and was held out, according to David O'Brien. He is scheduled to appear today.

It is a split-squad Astros team - the other half is playing the Tigers in Lakeland - but Houston is still sending a good chunk of their regulars to Disney. Bourn, Pence and Lee should give Jurrjens some good at bats.

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