Bill Shanks of the Fox Sports South Braves blog posted a transcript of the interview done with Fredi Gonzalez at the Winter Meetings. The part I took to base my feature on Nate McLouth's spot in the lineup this coming season is found inside the transcript, as well. Some lines worth noting:â†µ
Gonzalez was able to see some live games of the minor leaguers, including Freddie Freeman, Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy, as well as some lower players like Christian Bethancourt and Edward Salcedo. It appears he is still getting a feel for the farm system and what the Braves have.â†µ
Gonzalez has 100 percent confidence in Freeman to play everyday in Atlanta, but he mentioned giving him a breather against a tough lefty, which is expected. He also mentioned Minor being the fifth guy, which seems to be a given at this point.â†µ
Gonzalez intends to use Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel in a revolving role, similar to how Bobby Cox used Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez. Venters can be expected to close out games when a prominent lefty is due up, and Kimbrel will close otherwise. I think it is a smart way to use what you have, considering both have high-leverage stuff and are oppo-armed. It is not that common to have such a combination.â†µ
And, of course, the dreaded McLouth in the number two spot quote. Gonzalez has Prado penciled in leadoff and is thinking McLouth number two, with Jason Heyward sitting in the middle of the order somewhere.â†µ
"Yeah, you know, I've been recognized more as the Braves manager in Atlanta than when I was the Marlins manager in Miami."