The Atlanta Braves notched their third spring win in a row Wednesday, with a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers. The Braves were sparked by a 3-run first inning shot by third base candidate, Juan Francisco.
Francisco finished 2 for 4 in the game, to hike his spring average to .333, as he bids to win the third base job.
But Francisco’s competition at third base, Chris Johnson, didn’t give up much ground, as he went 2 for 2, with an RBI, and a run scored, as he raised his spring average to .444.
Amazing what competition will do to players’ performances in the spring, as Francisco and Johnson are both trying to impress Fredi Gonzalez. No matter who wins the third base job, both will be coming north with the Braves to start the season.
The real pressure is on the players who are not assured major league jobs come April 1.
Outfielder Jordan Schafer is one of those players, and he kept up his good work this spring by going 2 for 5, to raise his spring average to .357. Schafer could be a very nice piece off the bench, with his ability to play all three outfield positions, strong throwing arm, and his good speed on the bases.
Another player who continues to impress this spring, is pitcher J.R. Graham. With Julio Teheran expected to assume the fifth spot in the rotation this season, Graham is now the Braves number one minor league pitching prospect. He earned the save Wednesday, while pitching two scoreless innings. Graham gave up one hit, one walk, and struck out one.
On a down note, Dan Uggla‘s struggles continue as he went hitless, and struck out twice, in three at bats Wednesday. Uggla spring average now stands at .167. Normally you don’t worry too much about veterans not hitting in the spring, but it would be nice to see Dan Uggla get it going early this season.