Braves still hopeful Kyle Wright has time to be ready for season

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
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The Atlanta Braves have reason to hope right-hander Kyle Wright, the majors’ only 20-game winner last season, still has time to be ready for opening day.

If Wright requires more time to prepare for the season, the Braves appear to be developing sufficient depth to fill their rotation.

Wright, 27, has yet to appear in a spring game after having a cortisone shot to address a right shoulder issue in January. He has said his shoulder feels good, but the Braves will be closely monitoring his progress after throwing a bullpen session Tuesday and preparing to throw live batting practice Friday.

If there are no setbacks, Wright could have time to pitch in three spring games, including one next week.

Wright was 21-5 with a 3.19 ERA to lead the majors in wins in his breakout 2022 season. The right-hander added six scoreless innings for Atlanta’s only win in their NL Division Series loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Wright is expected to join Max Fried, Spencer Strider and Charlie Morton as the first four pitchers in Atlanta’s rotation.

Meanwhile, right-hander Ian Anderson allowed only an unearned run and one hit over 2 1/3 innings against the New York Yankees on Sunday. Right-hander Bryce Elder threw three scoreless innings against Houston on Friday.

With Mike Soroka slowed by a hamstring injury in his comeback from his second torn Achilles tendon, Anderson and Elder have been joined by Kolby Allard in the competition for the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Two of the three could open the season in the rotation if the Braves choose to give Wright more time to build up his pitch count.


Chicago White Sox pitcher Mike Clevinger said he feels vindicated and is focusing on the season, speaking two days after Major League Baseball announced he will not be disciplined following the investigation of a domestic violence allegation.

“I appreciate everyone who waited until the verdict was out, waited until the facts came out. I appreciate anyone who didn’t rush to judgment and kept their cool and understood the ramifications of these accusations,” Clevinger said Tuesday before the White Sox played the Milwaukee Brewers in a spring training exhibition.

“I was confident the whole time. I feel vindicated,” he added. “I guess you could say this was a bad situation, a devastating situation. I’m just trying to move forward. I want to focus on baseball now. Looking forward to helping my family heal from this.”

The commissioner’s office said its investigation included interviews of more than 15 people, including Clevinger and a woman who said she is the mother of Clevinger’s child, as well as thousands of electronic communications and other documents. Clevinger voluntarily agreed to submit to evaluations by the joint treatment boards established by MLB and the players’ association.

Asked what he learned, Clevinger said: “You’ve got to really watch who you trust. And I’ll leave it at that.”

In an Instagram post on Jan. 24, Olivia Finestead said she is the mother of Clevinger’s child and alleged he fathered two other children who were not hers. She posted a photo of marks on her body with accompanying words that alleged the injuries were “from when he threw an iPad at me pregnant” and “finally left when he strangled me.”

The Associated Press typically does not identify victims of domestic violence or sexual assault unless they agree to be named or come forward publicly with their allegations, as Finestead had.


Boston Red Sox infielder Justin Turner says he and his “chiclets” are doing fine after he was hit in the face by a pitch in Monday’s spring training game against the Detroit Tigers. Turner needed 16 stitches but posted on his Twitter account on Tuesday he is “feeling very fortunate” to have no broken bones and his “chiclets” intact.

The pitch from right-hander Matt Manning knocked the 38-year-old Turner to the ground. Medical personnel rushed to Turner at the plate. Turner was bleeding and had a towel on his face as he walked off the field.

Turner and his wife, Kourtney, posted thank you messages on their Twitter accounts for support from fans. Kourtney said Justin had a lot of swelling but was resting at home.

Turner, a two-time All-Star, signed a $15 million, one-year deal with the Red Sox after nine seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen was penalized an automatic strike for failing to enter the batter’s box and address the pitcher with eight seconds left on the pitch clcok in the fourth inning against Toronto on Tuesday.

McCutchen appeared to be distracted by Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Tiedemann’s movement off the mound and then rushed to enter the box when Tiedemann returned to the mound. McCutchen’s hasty attempt to beat the eight-second count was too late, and the penalty drew boos from some fans.

McCutchen reached on an infield single in the Pirates’ 7-2 win.


Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes is using his spring training to adjust to the new rules. The 2021 National League Cy Young winner, who had a league-best 243 strikeouts last season, said his goal in three innings against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday was “to get more comfortable with the pitch clock, and see if we can get some advantages with it.”

“The key to pitching is make the hitter uncomfortable in the box,” Burnes said, adding the advantage is with the pitcher after batters use their one allowed timeout.

“If you can manage the pitch clock a little better, it might give you a leg up,” Burnes said. “The game is all about adjustments.”

Making his second start of the spring, Burnes gave up six hits and two earned runs.

Burnes, 28, said he decided against participating in the World Baseball Classic because “I felt like my important job was to make sure I’m ready for opening day.”


The Reds reassigned veteran right-hander Chase Anderson to the major league camp. It is an indication Anderson, 35, has a chance to earn an opening day roster spot for his 10th big league season.

The Reds need to fill two starting rotation slots behind their young trio of Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft. Anderson, who signed a minor league contract on Feb. 18, pitched two scoreless innings on Monday night against Colorado, allowing two hits and striking out five.

“Chase was like we saw at the end of last season,” said manager David Bell. “The first time we’ve seen him this year, really looked like he was in midseason form. He had a really good changeup, his velocity was really good.”

Anderson was 2-4 with a 6.38 ERA in nine games with the Reds last season.

US routs Cuba 14-2 to reach World Baseball Classic final

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MIAMI (AP) — Trea Turner and Paul Goldschmidt and an unrelenting U.S. lineup kept putting crooked numbers on the scoreboard, a dynamic display of the huge gap between an American team of major leaguers and Cubans struggling on the world stage as top players have left the island nation.

Turner homered twice to give him a tournament-leading four, driving in four runs to lead the U.S. to a 14-2 rout Sunday night and advance the defending champion Americans to the World Baseball Classic final.

Goldschmidt also homered and had four RBIs and Cedric Mullins went deep in a game interrupted three times by fans running on the field to display protest signs.

“The team kind of represents the government over there, and people aren’t too happy about it,” U.S. manager Mark DeRosa said.

The U.S. plays Japan or Mexico in Tuesday night’s championship, trying to join the Samurai Warriors as the only nations to win the title twice.

“I think it took us a little bit of time, but now we kind of found our stride a little bit,” Turner said.

Turner has a tournament-leading 10 RBIs. He followed his go-ahead, eighth-inning grand slam a night earlier against Venezuela with a solo homer in the second inning off Roenis Elias (0-1) and a three-run drive in the sixth against Elian Leyva.

“I kept saying every time he went deep, who is the idiot that’s hitting him ninth?” DeRosa said.

Cuba went ahead when its first four batters reached off Adam Wainwright (2-0) without getting a ball out of the infield. The 41-year-old right-hander recovered to strand the bases loaded.

“I put myself in that situation in the first place by making horrible PFP plays — or not making PFP plays,” Wainwright said in a reference to pitchers’ fielding practice.

American batters had 14 hits, including eight for extra bases, and seven walks. Goldschmidt hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the first on a 112 mph rocket high over the left-field wall. He added a two-run single in the fifth.

“For me that was one of my favorite home runs I’ve ever hit in my entire life,” Goldschmidt said.

St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado left after he was hit on a hand by a pitch in the fifth inning, briefly raising another injury concern before X-rays came back as negative. Mets closer Edwin Díaz sustained a season-ending knee injury during the celebration that followed Puerto Rico’s win on Wednesday and Houston second baseman Jose Altuve broke a thumb when hit by a pitch while playing for Venezuela on Saturday.

Fans in the sellout crowd of 35,779 at loanDepot Park sounded evenly split between the U.S. and Cuba. Several hundred people gathered before the game outside the ballpark in Miami’s Little Havana section to protest the presence of the Cuban team, whose island nation has been under communist rule since 1959.

Play was briefly interrupted in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings when fans ran onto the field. The first held a banner that read “Libertad Para Los Presos Cubanos del 11 de Julio (Freedom for the Cuban Prisoners of July 11)” referring to the date of 2021 demonstrations.

“There were provocations, but we never paid attention to it,” Cuba manager Armando Johnson said.

Cuban fans roared in the early going when their team’s first four batters strung together three infield hits and a bases-loaded walk. Wainwright allowed one run and five hits in four innings. Cardinals teammate Miles Mikolas followed with four innings and Aaron Loup finished.

An Olympic gold medalist in 1992, 1996 and 2004, Cuba’s national team has struggled in recent years as many top players left for MLB. Cuba failed to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Cuba for the first time this year is using some players under contract to MLB clubs, including Chicago White Sox Gold Glove centerfielder Luis Robert and third baseman Yoán Moncada — who were booed. But many Cuban big leaguers were absent.

“We would like for the other players to join,” Johnson said. “They should think about it and return to Cuba.”


DeRosa on what he did after Saturday night’s come-from-behind quarterfinal win over Venezuela.

“I was reading how horrible a manager I was on social media first,” he said.


In the other semifinal, Japan starts 21-year-old sensation Roki Sasaki against Mexico and the Los Angeles Angels’ Patrick Sandoval on Monday night.


Moncada left after the third baseman collided in the sixth inning with left fielder Roel Santos, who caught Kyle Schwarber’s fly. Moncada was hit on the ribs but is OK, Johnson said.


Arizona RHP Merrill Kelly is likely to start the final.