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Interstate collapse complicates Braves’ stadium debut

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ATLANTA (AP) The collapse of a section of an interstate in Atlanta has heightened traffic concerns for the Braves’ first game at new SunTrust Park.

The Braves are encouraging fans to adjust their plans to attend Friday night’s exhibition against the New York Yankees. Only season-ticket holders are invited, but now the path to the stadium for those estimated 20,000 fans has become more challenging.

The stadium is located near the interchange of I-75 and I-285 in the northern Atlanta suburbs. The section of interstate collapsed Thursday because of a fire on I-85. Traffic will be directed from that major road to other interstates, including those flanking the stadium.

The stadium seats 41,000. But even with a smaller crowd, the Braves already were expecting traffic congestion Friday, with fans traveling to the park for the first time and finding their way to parking lots. With both sides of I-85 closed as repairs began, traffic worries are now even greater in a city well accustomed to such problems.

The Braves urged fans to be aware of changes before leaving for the game.

“Traffic patterns in Atlanta will be adjusted for everyone, so please listen to local authorities as they direct you around the metro area,” the team said in a statement. “Also, we encourage all fans to purchase their parking before they leave today.”

The Braves’ first regular-season home game is April 14 against the San Diego Padres. They open the regular season Monday at the New York Mets.

Rays sign Carlos Gomez to a one-year deal

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The Tampa Bay Rays signed free agent outfielder Carlos Gomez to a one-year deal worth $4 million.

Gomez hit .255/.340/.462 with 17 homers in 105 games for the Rangers last year. He missed time due to various ailments, as he has frequently over the past several years, playing 118 games in 2016 and 115 games in 2015. He’s useful when healthy. He just has to find a way to stay healthy.

The Rays just traded away Steven Souza and designated Corey Dickerson for assignment, making room for Gomez. Dickerson was slated to make $5.95 million and, if he is not traded, the Rays will be on the hook for $1 million of that. Souza was making $3.55 million. Gomez will work in the outfield corner rotation with Denard Span and Mallex Smith, while Kevin Kiermaier will cover center.