Snitker: The first time things have felt like Spring Training

Gene J. Puskar, The Associated Press
In this May 17, 2016, file photo, Atlanta Braves interim manager Brian Snitker talks with reporters in the dugout before the team’s baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh.

680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – For the first time since Friday, Braves manager Brian Snitker didn’t have to being his daily media zoom session with bad news. As a matter of fact, it was quite the opposite on Tuesday morning as the skipper didn’t have any COVID-19 positive test results, or players opting out to report on. To make things even better, Snit said today was the first time things have felt like Spring Training since the team regrouped at the end of last week.

To further prove that point, the team will begin what Snit referred to as “controlled scrimmages” at Truist Park starting tomorrow. Four pitchers will be on the mound, including what’s likely to be the first two starters in the rotation in Mike Soroka and Max Fried. In addition, veteran Josh Tomlin and reliever Shane Greene will also be a part of tomorrow’s action.

Starting on Monday, the team will ramp things up even more as umpires will be hired and the team will essentially be split into two groups for more “normal” inter-squad contests. Given the fact that some of those pitchers have already thrown in simulated action, it’s quite possible they’re ramped up even a little further than initially expected following such a long layoff. But, don’t expect to see any of the 30 teams around the game push their starters, or anyone for that matter, especially early on.

Speaking of Soroka, if he is indeed the Opening Day starter, he’ll face the two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner in the NL in Jacob deGrom and the Mets at Citi Field. We knew a 60 game schedule would present a whole new set of challenges for everyone involved and the Braves are no exception to that rule. The club will open with a three game set in Queens, followed by a two game series in St. Pete against the Rays, before returning for their Home Opener against Tampa on Wednesday July 29th. The schedule features 20 games in 20 days to start and includes home and homes with AL East foes the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees, a visit from the Blue Jays and a visit to Camden Yards in September to take on the Orioles.

Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.

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