Braves Announce Non-Roster Invitees To Spring Training Camp

Friday, January 11, 2013
- photo by Tim Evearitt

ATLANTA -- Evan Gattis, Sean Gilmartin, Alex Wood and J.R. Graham headline the list of 21 non-roster players who have received an invitation to participate in the Braves' big league Spring Training camp.

While Gattis will come to camp with the hope of landing a spot on the Opening Day roster as a backup catcher or outfielder, Gilmartin, Wood and Graham will have the opportunity to prove why they are some of the top pitching prospects in the Braves' system.

This year's other notable non-roster invitees include slick-fielding shortstop Nick Ahmed, veteran infielder Blake DeWitt and outfielder Todd Cunningham.

Interestingly, Joe Terdoslavich is listed with Cunningham and Jordan Parraz as this year's non-roster outfielders. Terdoslavich was viewed as Chipper Jones' potential replacement when he came to his first big league Spring Training last year. But his defensive struggles led him to spend a majority of last year as Double-A Mississippi's first baseman.

Gattis will arrive at Spring Training looking to build on the success he created while spending the past few months in the Venezuelan Winter League. The 26-year-old catcher hit .303 with 16 home runs and a .595 slugging percentage in 53 games with Zulia.

Gattis' success in Venezuela added to the confidence he gained while combining to hit .305 with 18 home runs and a .995 OPS in 74 Minor League games last year. His numbers might have been even more impressive had he not injured his left wrist soon after being promoted from Class A Advanced Lynchburg to Double-A Mississippi.

With the potential that Brian McCann could miss most of April while recovering from shoulder surgery, Gattis could begin the season as Atlanta's backup catcher. If he proves that he can hit big league pitching, the Braves could also decide to give Gattis some time in left field.

DeWitt appears to be another non-roster invitee with some hope to gain a spot on the Opening Day roster. The 27-year-old infielder has played more than 400 Major League games with the Cubs and Dodgers. He has the ability to play second base, third base and either of the corner outfield spots.

This will be the first big league camp for Graham, who has been considered by some scouts to be the organization's top pitching prospect. The 22-year-old right-hander combined to go 12-2 with a 2.80 ERA in 148 innings with Lynchburg and Mississippi last season.

The Braves took Wood with their second-round Draft pick in June and then watched him go 4-3 with a 2.22 ERA in 13 starts with Class A Rome. Wood, a hard-throwing 21-year-old left-hander from the University of Georgia, recorded 52 strikeouts and issued 14 walks in 52 innings.

Gilmartin, the Braves' top selection in the '11 Draft, impressed with the poise he displayed during his first big league camp last year. The polished 22-year-old left-hander then compiled a 3.84 ERA in 27 combined starts with Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett.

Ahmed's stock appeared to rise as he displayed his solid defensive skills in the 2012 Arizona Fall League. A hard-nosed shortstop who has been compared to Jeff Blauser, Ahmed hit .269 and recorded 40 stolen bases while spending the 2012 season with Lynchburg.

Cunningham spent last summer displaying some of the hitting skills the Braves projected when they took him in the second round of the '10 Draft. While hitting .309 with a .767 OPS in 120 games with Mississippi, he also created confidence that has enough range to play any of the three outfield positions.

Below is a list of all of this year's non-roster invitees:

Pitchers (9): LHP Ryan Buchter, LHP Yohan Flande, Gilmartin, Graham, LHP Dusty Hughes, RHP Wirfin Obispo, LHP Daniel Rodriguez, RHP Gus Schlosser, Wood

Catchers (6): Luis De La Cruz, Gattis, Matt Kennelly, Matt Pagnozzi, Braeden Schlehuber, Jose Yepez

Infielders (3): Ahmed, DeWitt, Joe Leonard

Outfielders (3): Cunningham, Terdoslavich, Parraz

---- Source: MLB.com

Joe Terdoslavich
Joe Terdoslavich
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt

Craine, Ribeiro Named SoCon Players Of The Week

Two University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football student-athletes were named Southern Conference Players of the Week, following the Mocs' 41-21 win over Samford on Saturday.  Seniors Derrick Craine and Henrique Ribeiro both earned recognition from the league office announced today. Craine rushed for a career-high 222 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns in the win. ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: A Few Things Overheard In The Man Cave

When my family gathers to watch college football in my man cave, it's never the same as it was the week before. I've decided to list a few of the comments I overheard this past  Saturday  as Tennessee faced Florida. Keep in mind, this game more than any other draws out all the possible emotions known to mankind for a four hour period. Also keep in mind that a few of ... (click for more)

DA Pinkston Files Petition To Declare 2 Gangs A Public Nuisance

District Attorney General Neal Pinkston filed a petition on Monday asking that two Chattanooga gangs, the Gangster Disciples and the Grape Street Crips, and their members be declared public nuisances. General Pinkston is also "asking that injunctive relief be given to the law-abiding residents of East Lake by establishing a Safety Zone that covers most of their neighborhood." ... (click for more)

Woman With Ankle Injuries Rescued On Walden's Ridge

Emergency Service personnel responded to an injured runner on the Mabbit Trails on Signal Mountain on Monday morning. At 10 a.m. , a 39-year-old female called 911 reporting she had injured her ankle. Walden's Ridge Emergency Services, HCEMS and Signal Mountain Fire Department responded and set up a command post to Wilson Avenue and Summerbrook Lane. At 10:30 a.m. , ... (click for more)

Patrol Cars Donation To Kevin Muhammad's Nation Of Islam Sets A Dangerous Precedent

Re: City Police donating two patrol cars to Kevin Muhammad's Nation of Islam: While I know it's unpopular to mention the wisdom of separation of church and state, this sets a dangerous precedent and should meet with concern from everyone who values religious and secular freedom. What's next? Southern Baptists getting old city parking scooters to patrol church parking lots ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Pitch Called ‘The Defector’

When Jose Fernandez was killed early Sunday morning in a boating accident, he was 24 years old yet had already lived a life much larger than almost all old men. He had spent part of a year in an unimaginably cruel Cuban prison, this when he only 14 years old and sandwiched in an inhumane cell among grown criminals. There were murders daily – in his very cell -- and nobody cared. ... (click for more)