Braves Beat Mets Sunday, 4-1.

Veteran RHP Freddy Garcia's Performance May Earn Spot In The Rotation

Sunday, March 23, 2014
Freddy Garcia
Freddy Garcia
- photo by Tim Evearitt

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- B.J. Upton notched his fifth multihit performance of the spring and Freddy Garcia seemingly solidified his spot in Atlanta's starting rotation while helping the Braves claim a 4-1 win over the Mets on Sunday afternoon at Champion Stadium.

Upton got the Braves rolling when he lined an opposite-field triple off the right-field wall with one out in the first inning.

Chris Johnson scored Upton when he extended Mets starter Carlos Torres' early woes by bouncing a two-out double off the left-center-field wall.

The Braves have until Monday to determine whether Garcia will be on their Opening Day roster. But the 37-year-old right-hander seemed to erase any doubt as he limited the Mets to an unearned run and two hits over 5 1/3 innings. He is expected to fill the third spot in the four-man rotation Atlanta will use to begin the regular season.

Andrelton Simmons doubled and scored on Steven Lerud's two-out double in the fourth inning. But in the top half of the same inning, the sure-handed Simmons also allowed the Mets to tie the score when he bobbled a Josh Satin grounder as he was preparing to throw to third base in attempt to retire Juan Lagares. Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed with a one-out RBI groundout that scored Lagares, who had drawn a leadoff walk.

Justin Upton hit a sixth-inning solo home run off Mets reliever Joel Carreno, and Freddie Freeman further padded Atlanta's advantage with a seventh-inning RBI double that scored Jose Constanza from first base.

But after Garcia limited the Mets to an unearned run and two hits over 5 1/3 innings during Sunday's 4-1 victory, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez would not commit to guaranteeing the 37-year-old right-hander will begin the season in his rotation.

"We'll see," Gonzalez said. "I wouldn't assume anything. His performance today was good, though. We've still got four or five days, so a lot of things could still happen."

There is always a chance the Braves could acquire another starting pitcher via a trade or a waiver-wire move at some point this week. But by the time Monday concludes, they need to tell Garcia whether he will be placed on Atlanta's roster to begin the season.

If Garcia does not receive this guarantee, he would likely opt out of the Minor League contract he signed in January. While he's willing to be used as a starter or reliever at the big league level, he has repeatedly said he has no desire to pitch at the Minor League level.

Garcia has been effective in three of the five starts he has made during the Grapefruit League season. The first of the two disappointing outings he completed was influenced by the pressure he faced as he pitched while his wife was in labor at a Miami-area hospital.

While Garcia might not be effective as a starting pitcher over the entirety of the regular season, he could provide value in the bullpen as a long reliever who would have the ability to occasionally make a spot start.

Up next: 

David Hale will attempt to solidify a spot in Atlanta's starting rotation when he takes the mound for Monday evening's game against the Astros at Champion Stadium. Hale is the favorite to win the final spot in the four-man rotation the Braves will use through at least the regular season's first seven games. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m, and the game will be shown on MLB.TVand Fox Sports South. This will be Atlanta's final night game of the Grapefruit League season.

---- Source: MLB.com


Tennessee Xtreme Girls Basketball Hosts Tryouts Jan. 29

Tennessee Xtreme Girls Basketball will be hosting tryouts on  Sunday, Jan. 29,  at Shepherd Hills Center, 2124 Shepherd Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421. Grades 3, 4, and 5 begin at  3 p.m.  and grades 6, 7, and 8 start at  5 p.m. Visit  www.tnxtreme.com  for more information. (click for more)

Szmidt Starts Red Hot In Heights' Rare Home Game

Talk about starting out a game with red-hot shooting. Hamilton Heights’ Therren Shelton-Szmidt was on target early, hitting 5-of-6 3-pointers in the first quarter and leading the Hawks to a 72-57 victory over Central Park on Friday night. Szmidt’s opening barrage helped the Hawks take a 29-8 advantage after one quarter of action. They were up 49-20 at halftime. Playing ... (click for more)

Jumoke Johnson, 23, And Christopher Woodard, 20, Shot And Killed On 12th Street; Vehicle Crashes Near Willow Street

Jumoke Johnson, 23, and Christopher Woodard, 20, were shot and killed in the 2100 block of E. 12th Street on Friday night. The vehicle in which the shooting victims were riding crashed, landing on another car near Willow Street. The people in the car that wrecked were dead when officers arrived. Police said the incident happened around 8:15 p.m. Police are looking for ... (click for more)

3 People Shot Early Saturday Morning On East 3rd Street

Three people were shot on East 3rd Street early Saturday morning. They were identified as Countess Clemons, 24, Kezia Jackson, 23, and Dutchess Lykes, 26.   The Chattanooga Police Department responded at 2:40 a.m. to person(s) shot call at a local hospital. All three victims were transported to the hospital via a personally-owned vehicle. All three victims said ... (click for more)

Bakewell Mountain Community Thanks Commissioner Fairbanks

The residents of Bakewell Mountain want to formally thank Commissioner Randy Fairbanks for standing up for our community in protecting our property rights and families. He personally made several trips to our properties and homes to see how the proposed gun range would affect our daily lives with noise, traffic, and a decrease in property values. Sometimes the little guys need ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Lady Remembers Rex

Kevin Roden sits on the City Council in Denton, Texas (think the Dallas-Fort Worth airport area in the northeastern part of the state) and he is gearing up to run for a third term this spring. He’s already got his website up and, while the election isn’t until April, he writes on his blog every now and then. Last month he let his wife take a turn at it, which brings us to yesterday’s ... (click for more)