Braves relief aces are taking it easier this spring

3 Comments

Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters were rode hard and put away wet last year. So this year, they’re taking it a bit easier heading into spring training. From the AJC:

It’s easy to suggest their first-half workload is what caused Kimbrel and Venters to struggle down the stretch, when they appeared to be operating on fumes some nights … But it’s also clear that Venters and Kimbrel are learning something about pace and preparation. They realize there is a purpose to spring training, and that is solely to prepare for the season … This year Venters and Kimbrel won’t enter spring training in midseason form, by design. Both spent the offseason doing more strength and conditioning, and less throwing.

That should help.  As should Fredi Gonzalez taking it a bit easier on them.  One thing not mentioned in the article but which also needs to happen:  the Braves have to freakin’ hit a little bit so they’re not constantly finding themselves in tie and one-run games like they did so often last season.

If Kimbrel and Venters are fresh all year, it means that the Braves will be in good shape. If run ragged again, forget it.

Mike Napoli tore his ACL

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mike Napoli suffered a torn right ACL and meniscus while playing for Triple-A Columbus the other night. The injury will require season-ending surgery.

Given that Napoli will turn 37 this year, given that he will need 10-14 months of rehab and given that, as it was, he was unable to find a major league gig, it’s almost certain that this injury will end Napoli’s career.

Napoli was off to a 1-for-24 start at Columbus after signing a minor league contract with the Indians this spring. He hit .193/.285/.428 for the Rangers in 2017. If this is it for Napoli, he’ll end his career with a line of .246/.346/.475 with 267 homers and 744 driven in. He appeared in the World Series with the 2011 Rangers, the 2013 Red Sox and the 2016 Indians, winning a ring with Boston.