Atlanta Braves Anxious To Open 2013 Spring Training Camp On Feb. 11th

Saturday, February 9, 2013
The Braves train at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando.
The Braves train at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando.
- photo by Tim Evearitt
ATLANTA -- Boxes, crates and bags were stacked to the ceiling as Braves employees entered the home clubhouse at Turner Field early last Monday morning. By mid-afternoon, the bats, balls, uniforms and other items that filled these containers had been placed on a truck that was bound for the team's Spring Training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Moving has seldom been recognized as an act that generates much excitement. But countless baseball fans annually anticipate the day in which their favorite club essentially relocates to the city it calls home during Spring Training.


"This is my favorite part of the year, really," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "You start getting the itch to get down there and smell the grass and hear the sounds of the bat hitting the ball and guys playing catch. It's a good time. You're ready to get going."

Braves pitchers and catchers are required to report to ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex by Feb. 11. But many players, including first baseman Freddie Freeman, are expected to arrive in the Orlando area this week.

This eager anticipation is shared by visiting clubhouse manager John Holland, who is preparing for his 38th Spring Training with the Braves. Holland and head athletic trainer Jeff Porter flew from Atlanta to Orlando early Monday afternoon.

Shortstop Andrelton Simmons is also expected to be among the early arrivals at Braves' camp this year. Simmons could be away from Atlanta's camp for at least two weeks while competing for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

Hensley Meulens, who will manage The Netherlands team, told Gonzalez that he plans to utilize Simmons as his leadoff hitter, a role he's expected to fill for the Braves, who were left with limited options when speedy outfielder Michael Bourn was lost to free agency.

Simmons batted .298 with a .335 on-base percentage in the 182 plate appearances he compiled after making his Major League debut in June.

One of the team's newcomers is third baseman Chris Johnson, who was acquired along with Justin Upton in the seven-player trade with Arizona two weeks ago. Johnson joined Mike Minor and pitching prospect J.R. Graham as a few of the players who completed their workout at Turner Field on Monday morning.

While Minor will go to camp for the first time all but assured of a spot in the Braves rotation, Johnson will go to Spring Training looking to earn as much time as possible at third base. The current plan is for him to begin the season platooning at the hot corner with Juan Francisco.

But Johnson, who combined to hit .281 with 15 home runs and a .777 OPS for the Astros and D-backs last year, remains hopeful to assume Chipper Jones' former position on a full-time role. Johnson happened to play collegiately at Stetson University for longtime coach Pete Dunn, who is Jones' godfather.

---- Source: MLB.com

- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt


Chattanooga Area Swim League

CHATTANOOGA AREA SWIM LEAGUE BLUE DIVISION: 1. Ooltewah 5-0; 1. Stuart Heights 3-1; 3. Signal Mountain 3-2; 4. Dalton 1-4; 5. Calhoun 0-5. RED DIVISION: 1. Catoosa  4-0; 2. Country Club 4-1; 3. Fairyland 2-2; 4. Cleveland 1-3; 5. Big Ridge 0-5. WHITE DIVISION: 1. Red Bank and Waterdogs bot 4-1; 3. Ridgeside 2-3; 4. Cumberland 0-5.  TUESDAY'S RESULTS ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Stays Unbeaten With Win At Dalton

It’s been an amazing past seven days for members of the Ooltewah Tidal Wave swim team as they’ve beaten the top three teams since last Thursday. It all began with a 56-point win over Stuart Heights and was followed by an impressive 82-point victory over the defending league champion Signal Mountain Green Giants on Monday.\ And now those folks from Hooterville can relax for ... (click for more)

Former City Education Commissioner John P. Franklin Dies

John Porter Franklin, long a leading figure in Chattanooga city government, has died.  He was the city's first, elected black official, post Jim Crow laws, in 1971. Mr. Franklin's father, G.W. Franklin, was a pioneer funeral home director and John Franklin continued in that line. He was first an official in Franklin-Strickland Funeral Home, then he started John P. Franklin ... (click for more)

All School Board Members But Rhonda Thurman Approve Going Ahead With Equity Study

All County School Board members except Rhonda Thurman said Thursday afternoon they are in favor of pushing ahead with an equity study sought by new Supt. Bryan Johnson. Ms. Thurman said she was "tired of bullying tactics by outside groups" such as UnifiEd and Chattanooga 2.0. She said the 132 people who signed a letter in support of the study include people "with deep pockets" ... (click for more)

The Boss, Claude Ramsey

I try not to overuse the word great, but we lost a great man today, Claude Ramsey. I had the pleasure of serving under him as director of Commercial and Industrial Properties for 14 years while he was the Hamilton County Assessor of Property. He was probably the smartest person I have ever known. He was tough but patient, kind, caring and compassionate. He knew how to get ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Not A Blessed One

When I read, to no great surprise, that 132 of Chattanooga’s “leaders” had signed a letter in support of “socioeconomic integration” in Thursday’s Times Free Press, there were two things that were immediately obvious to me: Not a blessed one would have (a) written such a letter on their personal stationery, and (b) not a blessed one would have ever voted for the current president ... (click for more)