Dan Schlossberg's Spring Report: Santana Signing Saves Braves • Latino Sports


Dan Schlossberg’s Spring Report: Santana Signing Saves Braves


JUPITER, FL – First Tim Hudson absconded to San Francisco via free agency. Then Mike Minor had surgery to repair a urinary tract infection. Compounding the growing pitching problem, Brandon Beachy suffered tightness in his forearm. The last straw was losing Kris Medlen, at 28 the ace of the pitching staff, with an elbow injury that will likely force his second Tommy John surgery in four years.

Kris Medlen will be missed in Atlanta

Kris Medlen will be missed in Atlanta

But, if nothing else, the Atlanta Braves are resilient.

That’s how they won 14 consecutive championships, a pro sports record unlikely to be matched.

Realizing that he had to do something radical to repair his suddenly-vulnerable rotation, general manager Frank Wren found $14.1 million and bundled it into a one-year contract for Dominican righthander Ervin Santana.

The pitcher, glad to escape the American League, was the last good arm on the free agent market. He had a 3.24 earned run average for Kansas City last season and topped 200 innings for the third time in four seasons.

He might not be Medlen, whose 2.47 ERA over the last two years was second only to Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, but he’s pretty darn close.

Although Beachy, Minor, and Medlen may all open the year on the disabled list, it

Lefty Mike Minor should return soon

Lefty Mike Minor should return soon

won’t be long before two of them are back in action. That will give manager Fredi Gonzalez a solid rotation: Julio Teheran, Minor, Beachy, Santana, and lefty Alex Wood, starting his first full season. If anybody falters, veteran Freddy Garcia and Princeton grad David Hale — both impressive last September — are ready to step in.

How the Braves can afford Santana’s $14.1 million contract is a bit of a mystery but trading Dan Uggla or B.J. Upton, both of whom earn $15 million per annum, would bring the payroll back to a level Liberty Media likes. Of course, if the Braves celebrate the 100th anniversary of Boston’s Miracle Braves with a World Championship, no one will be complaining about money.

Elsewhere around the camps:

K-Rod is kayoed by a cactus

K-Rod is kayoed by a cactus

Milwaukee reliever Francisco Rodriguez has already won this year’s award for the dumbest spring training injury: he stepped on a cactus. K-Rod, who once saved 62 games in a season, is now worried about face-saving. He not only signed late but encountered visa problems trying to return to the United States . . .

Is anybody going to sign Stephen Drew? The Mets certainly need a shortstop and the Yankees will need one next year . . .

After wearing white at home and gray on the road during past spring trainings, the St. Louis Cardinals are wearing bright red batting practice jerseys during games . . .

Palm Beach County commissioners have found eight potential sites for a ballpark that would be shared by the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros, who are unhappy with their facilities in Viera and Kissimmee, respectively. If they’re not successful, teams in Jupiter (Marlins and Cardinals) and Port St. Lucie (Mets) could relocate to other points in Florida or even to Arizona. Both states now have 15 teams each, forcing a number of split-squad games every day . . .

The Cardinals have played in more postseason games (48) over the last three years than anyone else in the majors . . .

Rifle-armed Rafael Furcal, who has spent his career to date as a shortstop, is expected to play second base for the Miami Marlins this season . . .

Atlanta catcher Evan Gattis, baseball’s answer to Paul Bunyan, hit a titanic home run Wednesday over the building that houses the Marlins clubhouse at Roger Dean Stadium.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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  • julio

    There is probably no better update on Spring Training than ur reports. Keep it going for all us baseball fanatics that need to know whats really going on behind the scenes.