Quite a few of the Braves players and coaches have been working out at Turner Field over the last few days in preparation for Spring Training, which is just three weeks away. Among the topics discussed were Chipper Jones' knees, Jason Heyward's improved swing, and Fredi Gonzalez putting Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado in the bullpen.
We'll take a look at a few of the newsy developments after the jump, with some reaction and thoughts going forward.
#Braves manager Fredi G. said Teheran and/or Delgado would be bullpen options if don't make opening-day rotation.— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) January 31, 2012
Why in the world would Fredi Gonzalez want to put his top-two starting pitching prospects into the bullpen to pitch an inning or two every three days? Instead of continuing to refine his approach, build stamina by making starts and develop his curveball, Julio Teheran would rot in the bullpen tossing occasionally whenever Fredi felt like misusing a reliever for the night.
As for Delgado, he's simply not ready for the Majors and needs at least half a season at Triple-A Gwinnett. He would gain absolutely nothing by throwing 10 or 15 pitches every few nights in Atlanta.
These two pitchers are barely old enough to have an alcoholic beverage. Why would we want to stunt their development and have them in the bullpen just to have them at the Major League level. They're already on the 40-man roster and pitch 20 minutes away from Turner Field; if something ever came up before a game, they could be at Turner Field within an hour or two most nights.
Chipper's knees had him concerned about his future in Nov.But he's been fine throughout Jan and is not thinking about retirement #Braves— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) January 31, 2012
This is good to hear and it's always nice when old No. 10 is feeling well, but let's be honest: it's not exactly like Chipper is doing a lot right now that would jeopardize the health of his knees. Everyone in Braves Country will be pulling for Jones and his health in 2012 as he attempts to stay on the field as much as possible, but take this with a grain of salt. Almost everyone is feeling great in January and February.
As for not considering retirement, I think we should have all learned by now that it's never smart to count out Chipper. If he wants to play and is capable of playing, he'll play. He's earned that right in Atlanta.
Heyward, Freeman and Chipper were at the stadium today. Chipper is raving about Heyward.Says he's starting to swing like the '10 Heyward— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) January 31, 2012
Great news, and it really does sound like Chipper will be a hitting coach one day, doesn't it? As for Heyward, we mentioned earlier in the week that he worked extremely hard in the offseason to regain his strength and it sounds like it's already paying off. Again, everyone looks strong while taking batting practice in January, but this can only mean good things going forward for the Braves.