Braves may trade Kenshin Kawakami back to Japan

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It looks like the Braves may cut ties this winter with one of their 2010 season-opening starters.

According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, a Japanese club has expressed interest in acquiring right-hander Kenshin Kawakami from Atlanta and may be willing to eat around $3 million of the $6.67 million that remaining on his contract.

If those numbers are correct, Atlanta should pull the trigger now.

Kawakami, 35, turned in a disappointing 5.15 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and 59/32 K/BB ratio over 87.1 innings this past season, working as both a starter and reliever, and a major improvement doesn’t seem likely in 2011.  Win-loss records don’t mean a whole lot, but it should also be noted that he finished 1-10.

Opening an extra $3 million before the start of the hot stove season would go a long way toward helping Atlanta improve other areas of the ballclub.

Baseball to honor Stoneman Douglas High School as spring training games begin

New Era
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There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.

The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.

All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.

After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.

Here’s today’s schedule: