Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves

Diving into the depths: Atlanta Braves

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.

Rotation
1. Tim Hudson
2. Derek Lowe
3. Tommy Hanson
4. Jair Jurrjens
5. Mike Minor
6. Kenshin Kawakami
7. Brandon Beachy
8. Todd Redmond
9. Julio Teheran
10. J.J. Hoover

Kawakami still hasn’t been moved, so Minor could have a fight on his hands for the fifth spot in the rotation. I think that we’ll see Kawakami go once a few other teams lose starters to injury this spring.

Bullpen
1. Jonny Venters
2. Craig Kimbrel
3. Peter Moylan
4. Eric O’Flaherty
5. Scott Linebrink
6. George Sherrill
7. Kenshin Kawakami
8. Brandon Beachy
9. Cristhian Martinez
10. Scott Proctor
11. Stephen Marek
12. Anthony Varvaro
13. Jairo Asencio
14. Cory Gearrin
15. Jay Sborz
16. Juan Abreu
17. Erik Cordier

I like this pen, maybe more than I should. Moylan is dynamite against righties, O’Flaherty is much more than a specialist and Linebrink should benefit greatly from getting out of U.S. Cellular. My guess is that Venters starts off as the closer and that Kimbrel overtakes him at some point during the summer. Kimbrel should be the long-term choice, but he does have the Carlos Marmol-like command issues.

Catcher
1. Brian McCann
2. David Ross
3. J.P. Boscan
4. Wilkin Castillo

First base
1. Freddie Freeman
2. Eric Hinske
3. Martin Prado

Second base
1. Dan Uggla
2. Martin Prado
3. Brooks Conrad
4. Diory Hernandez

Third base
1. Chipper Jones
2. Martin Prado
3. Brooks Conrad

Shortstop
1. Alex Gonzalez
2. Diory Hernandez
3. Brandon Hicks

If Chipper can’t overcome the torn ACL in time for Opening Day, then Prado will play third base. Otherwise, Prado will serve as the regular left fielder after making room for Uggla at second base.

Left field
1. Martin Prado
2. Eric Hinske
3. Joe Mather
4. Brent Clevlen
5. Wilkin Ramirez

Center field
1. Nate McLouth
2. Matt Young
3. Jordan Schafer
4. Jose Constanza

Right field
1. Jason Heyward
2. Joe Mather
3. Eric Hinske
4. Brent Clevlen
5. Wilkin Ramirez

Randy Winn to the Braves makes all kinds of sense. Jim Edmonds would be better, but he is another lefty and he might prefer to retire anyway. The Braves need a legitimate backup center fielder, and there isn’t really anyone else out there in free agency. Maybe they could get Darnell McDonald from the Red Sox if Boston prefers an infielder as its 25th man. They might just wait to see who turns up on the waiver wire at the end of the spring.

Bronson Arroyo is throwing side-arm now

Washington Nationals pitcher Bronson Arroyo catches a pop fly during a drill at a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Viera, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
AP Photo/John Raoux
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Nationals pitcher Bronson Arroyo has partial tears of tendons in his rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Considering he’s 39 years old, no one would fault him if he decided to call it quits. But he has one more idea, MASN’s Mark Zuckerman reports: Arroyo is going to throw side-arm, or at least three-quarters.

“It hurts when he gets on top [of the baseball],” manager Dusty Baker said. He continued, “So we’re taking our time. And if not, if nothing else, he’s a good guy to have in your organization.”

Arroyo missed the latter half of the 2014 season and the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Prior to that, he was known as a workhorse, racking up at least 199 innings in each of nine seasons between 2005-13.

Robbie Erlin needs Tommy John surgery

San Diego Padres' Robbie Erlin pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Tuesday, April 12, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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Padres pitcher Robbie Erlin has a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament and he’ll need Tommy John surgery as a result, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Times reports. Erlin landed on the disabled list on April 21. Now he’ll miss the rest of the season and likely the beginning of the 2017 season as well.

Erlin, 25, posted a 4.02 ERA with a 13/3 K/BB ratio in 15 2/3 innings spanning two starts and one relief appearance to begin the 2016 season.

Cesar Vargas moved into the rotation in Erlin’s absence and has pitched well thus far in two starts, yielding only one earned run with a 9/6 K/BB ratio over 10 1/3 innings.

The Reds’ bullpen set an ignominious record

CINCINNATI, OHIO - APRIL 08: Caleb Cotham #54 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the sixth inning of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on April 8, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
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Reds reliever Caleb Cotham allowed a pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Giants, setting a rather ignominious club record. It marks the 21st consecutive game in which the Reds’ bullpen has allowed a run, setting a new major league record, as C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer points out.

Entering Tuesday’s action, the Reds’ bullpen had been by far the worst in the majors with a 6.54 ERA. The Padres’ bullpen, second-worst, is comparatively much better at 5.27.

The last time the Reds’ bullpen had a clean night was April 10 against the Pirates. That afternoon, Dan Straily, Jumbo Diaz, and Ross Ohlendorf combined for five scoreless innings in a 2-1 victory.

Aroldis Chapman will rejoin the Yankees on Monday

New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman goes into his windup against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
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Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman was suspended 30 games by Major League Baseball under its domestic violence policy for an offseason incident in which he allegedly pushed and choked his girlfriend, then discharged a firearm at least eight times in his garage. Monday marks game number 30, and Chapman is set to rejoin the club then, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Manager Joe Girardi plans to insert Chapman directly into the closer’s role if a save situation arises against the Royals on Monday.

Chapman will make two appearances in the Gulf Coast League this week to continue warming up. He had been throwing in extended spring training games at the Yankees’ complex in Tampa.

The Yankees acquired Chapman from the Reds at the end of December, sending Caleb Cotham, Rookie Davis, Eric Jagielo, and Tony Renda to Cincinnati in return. While the back end of the bullpen hasn’t been an issue for the Yankees, seemingly everything else has for the 8-15, last place club.