The Braves christened their new ballpark on Friday during an exhibition game against the Yankees. Traffic issues notwithstanding, the park drew an estimated 21,392 fans, who were rewarded with an 8-5 win thanks to some late-game heroics from shortstop Jace Peterson.
The first home run in SunTrust Park history, however, came not from the Braves but from the bat of Yankees’ first baseman Greg Bird, who went deep in the third inning against Atlanta right-hander Bartolo Colon:
The Braves responded in the bottom of the third when Freddie Freeman punished a 1-0 pitch from Michael Pineda for a three-run homer over the right field fence. They tacked on another five runs in the sixth, capitalizing on a fielding error and bases-loaded walk and adding a three-run double to overtake the Yankees, 8-5.
While the Braves may not have been the first to record a home run in their new ballpark, the rest of their performance looks like a good omen as the team heads into the 2017 season. They’re scheduled to make their official season debut in the park on April 14 against the Padres.
Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks with a minor lat strain, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s a precautionary move, as Ramirez felt some tightness in his arm and could not complete his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday.
There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will be able to recover in time for the start of the season, though he’s expected to claim a rotation spot again this spring. The 28-year-old righty has been dogged by injuries throughout his six-year career, but finally managed to piece together a full season on the mound in back-to-back stints with the Rays and Mariners in 2017. He went 5-6 in 19 starts for the two clubs and turned in a cumulative 4.39 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 131 1/3 innings.
The Mariners are no stranger to pitcher injuries, either. They lost a number of their top arms to various elbow, arm and shoulder injuries last year and cycled through 40 total pitchers as they limped toward a 78-84 finish. Comments from club manager Scott Servais indicate that the team will keep a close eye on Ramirez throughout his recovery, though Divish notes that right-hander Andrew Moore and lefty Ariel Miranda could also slot into the no. 5 spot if Ramirez experiences further setbacks.