Spring Training 2013: Atlanta Braves Excited To Open Camp With New Squad Featuring Upton Brothers

2012 Season Marked The End Of The Chipper Jones Era

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Brian McCann will likely miss at least the first two weeks of the regular season as he recovers from right shoulder surgery.
Brian McCann will likely miss at least the first two weeks of the regular season as he recovers from right shoulder surgery.
- photo by Tim Evearitt

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. --  Dan Uggla now has the corner locker that had been previously reserved for Chipper Jones, who retired after last year's National League Wild Card playoff loss to the Cardinals. This marks the first time since 1992 that the Braves have come to Spring Training without the plan of Jones being in Atlanta's starting lineup.

"It was odd looking over and not seeing the old wrinkled bag of bones over there," Hudson said of Jones, joking. "But it is different. He's been a fixture around here for years."

Monday was essentially Justin Upton's first day with the Braves, who acquired him in a seven-player trade with the D-backs on Jan. 24. Though position players are not required to report to camp until Thursday, the talented outfielder was eager to begin the next chapter in his life with his new team.

Upton seemed quite comfortable as he introduced himself to new teammates and interacted with some familiar faces that he has previously only known as opposing players. The 25-year-old outfielder greeted Uggla with a bear hug.

Tim Hudson understands what Upton will experience over the next few days and weeks. He was the center of attention when the Braves acquired him in a blockbuster trade with the A's before the start of the 2005 season.

Eight years later, Hudson is the longest-tenured player on the Braves' roster. Setting a good example, the 37-year-old hurler was the first player to take the field to play catch early Monday morning.

There were no formal workouts, as pitchers and catchers simply had to report to camp on Monday. They will hold their first workout on Tuesday. All position players are required to report on Thursday, one day before the club's first full-squad workout.

Showing some youthful exuberance, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman made early arrivals to camp last week. Upton, Uggla and Chris Johnson, a third baseman also acquired in the blockbuster trade with the D-backs, were all among the early arrivals in camp on Monday.

 The most notable position players who have not yet arrived in camp were shortstop Andrelton Simmons and B.J. Upton, who signed a franchise-record five-year, $75.25 million contract with Atlanta in November.

B.J. Upton plans to make the 45-minute commute from his Tampa-area home during Spring Training. His brother has no interest making those long drives. But the two will have plenty of opportunities to interact as they share adjoining lockers.

Like many of his Braves teammates, Uggla made the drive from Atlanta to the Orlando area this past weekend.

Other key losses from last year's team include backup catcher David Ross, center fielder Michael Bourn and the versatile Martin Prado, who was the key piece used to get Justin Upton from the D-backs. (On Monday, Bourn signed a four-year contract with the Cleveland Indians.)

While those players will be missed within the clubhouse, the Braves will enter this season excited about their new look, which features the addition of the Uptons, who will team with Heyward to form what could be the game's most talented outfield. Each of the outfielders is a Gold Glove Award-caliber defender capable of producing 30 homers and 30 stolen bases.

If catcher Brian McCann and Uggla are able to bounce back from frustrating seasons and return to form, Atlanta could have one of the game's most potent offenses.

------  Source: MLB.com

Tim Hudson
Tim Hudson
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt

Cleveland, Bradley Central No. 1 And No. 2 In State Wrestling Poll

Now in its 25th year, The Poll is primarily a measure of  dual meet strength  with some consideration to individual tournament strength.   Votes are cast by a state-wide panel of high school wrestling coaches and are based on a maximum Power Ranking of 100%.   STATE POLL:   RANK ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Central Boys Win Over Hixson

Chattanooga Police To Add 14 Officers After Violent Weekend; New System To Allow Local Testing Of Shell Casings

In the wake of a weekend in which five people were shot with two dying, the Chattanooga Police Department is adding 14 more officers, Mayor Andy Berke and Chief Fred Fletcher said Monday. The department is also utilizing a new system that will allow local testing of shell casings and avoid a long wait time after sending them off to Nashville. Chief Fletcher also said there ... (click for more)

Cleveland Mother And Father Indicted After 2-Month Old Tests Positive For Meth; Has Multiple Injuries

The father and mother of a two-month-old in Cleveland have been indicted for child abuse after the baby tested positive for meth and had multiple injuries. Cleveland Police said on Jan. 4 the Department of Children Services and the Cleveland Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit began a joint investigation on an aggravated child neglect/abuse case.  DCS and ... (click for more)

Proud Of Chattanooga And The Women's March - And Response (2)

I was very happy to participate in the Women’s March on Chattanooga yesterday afternoon. The diversity and the sheer numbers of women, men and children were incredible. One estimate was at least 3,000. Standing together with all of these like-minded souls was overwhelming and humbling.  I have rarely been so happy and so proud of my town.  One question is, why is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Puzzling Women

After Rhonda Thurman left the “Enlightment” meeting of the Hamilton Country School Board Saturday afternoon, she must have been catching up on the news when she posted this message on her Facebook page: “I am really trying to understand. I am a woman and I cannot think of one "RIGHT" I do not have. Can someone enlighten me?” Not one person enlightened Rhonda because nobody could ... (click for more)