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.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base when he returns from the disabled list. Cabrera has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a sprained left thumb, but he’s expected to be activated on Friday.
Cabrera, 31, last played second base in 2014 with the Nationals. He has played shortstop exclusively as a Met the last two seasons. Jose Reyes would continue to play shortstop if the Mets were to go through with the position change. Cabrera would displace T.J. Rivera, who has been playing second base in place of the injured Neil Walker.
In 196 plate appearances this season, Cabrera is hitting .244/.321/.392 with six home runs and 20 RBI. He has made 11 defensive errors, which is tied for the third-most among shortstops behind Tim Anderson (16) and Dansby Swanson (12).
Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.
Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.
Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.