As we approach the end of the spring training, and a 22 year run for the Braves at Disney, there’s still plenty of questions surrounding the club as it prepares to trim the roster down to 25 to open the season. How safe is Adam Duvall? Who fills out the remaining spots in the rotation? And, could starters be used as relievers to start the year with injuries to guys like AJ Minter and Darren O’Day?
Part of that picture became a little more clear on Friday afternoon, as the club released southpaw Sam Freeman. Freeman had been outrighted to Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday, but the club gave him his release 24 hours later. This spring, the 32 year old lefty made six appearances, allowing four earned runs over the span of eight innings pitched. Last year, Freeman really struggled into July, when he was placed on the DL with left shoulder inflammation after posting a 5.45 ERA over 49 games pitched. Upon his return from the DL, Freeman tossed 14 scoreless appearances from August 20 through the end of the regular season.
With Freeman out of the picture, this certainly opens the door for a guy like Max Fried to start the year as a long guy from the pen, joining fellow lefties Jessie Biddle and Jonny Venters. It also seems likely the club could bring in someone from the outside here late in camp to try and steal a roster spot.
The good news is, help could be on the way sooner than later. AJ Minter is scheduled to throw a live BP session later this afternoon. Then, early next week, he expects to pitch in a Minor League game and progress from there. If all goes well, barring any setbacks, Minter could join the club in the second week of the regular season. And when he does, don’t be surprised to see Brian Snitker mix and match as far as what direction he goes in with save situations.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet