Brandon Beachy expects to have no restrictions in spring training

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Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy has been limited to just five starts in the majors since Tommy John surgery in June of 2012, but he’s hoping for better luck on the health front this year.

Elbow inflammation pushed Beachy’s season debut back to July 29 last year and he eventually underwent surgery in September to remove a bone spur and loose fragments. However, he was among the pitchers present for day one of the Braves’ voluntary throwing program at Turner Field today and told Mark Bowman of MLB.com that he’ll have no restrictions going into spring training:

“I’m going to be a little smarter than I have been in the past, with not worrying about velocity the first couple of outings and things like that,” Beachy said. “But I’m going to be on the same schedule as everybody else.”

Beachy is still just 27 years old and owns a 3.23 ERA and 275/86 K/BB ratio over 267 2/3 innings in the majors, so there’s some serious upside if he’s finally back to full health. Veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia was brought back last week as insurance for the rotation while Gavin Floyd could be an option at some point during the first half assuming all goes well in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Yadier Molina responds to Willson Contreras on Instagram

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On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”

Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.

Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.

Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.