Well things are heating up over the course of the weekend down in spring training for the Atlanta Braves. First we have the battle for the Braves fifth spot in the rotation which sounds like it is going to be close. After a strong start from Jared Shuster in his last outing, Dylan Dodd took the mound for the Braves on Saturday and looked great as well as the Braves took down the Phillies.
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The rotation isn't the only roster battle the Braves have going on right now, though, as shortstop is becoming a lot more interesting than we thought it was going to be. Vaughn Grissom had played reasonably well at short and had been hitting, so most observers thought he was the heavy favorite to win the job. However, Braden Shewmake has forced himself into the competition it seems and given that he is the better shortstop defender at present, there is an argument for giving him a shot. There is also the fact that Grissom hasn't played all that much in recent days which makes us wonder if something is going on with him.
We also got some updates regarding Kyle Wright and Mike Soroka yesterday. Kyle Wright is supposed to make is spring training debut on Monday, so we will finally get to see where he is at in his build up to the 2023 season. If he isn't particularly stretched out yet, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Braves carry both Shuster and Dodd with one of them handcuffed to Wright's early season appearances until he can pitch deeper into games. Michael Soroka threw well in a sim game on Friday and is making decent progress.
Finally, we took a look at the Braves players who have struggled during spring training so far. Most of the most notable names have been on the pitching side which explains the roster cuts the team has made so far, but it is worth keeping an eye on all of these guys to see who can bounce back. Also, this isn't a list of guys that don't have a chance of being useful players in 2023...in the end, this is just spring training.
The elimination rounds of the World Baseball Classic are underway and the matchup between the USA and Venezuela was a classic with the US ultimately prevailing. Ronald Acuna Jr. had a go-ahead RBI and Venezuela led 7-5 late in the game. However, Trea Turner's grand slam off of Silvino Bracho gave the US the lead for good. Baseball is the best.
During that same game, Jose Altuve was the latest player to get bitten by the injury bug as he was hit by a pitch in his hand and had to leave the game in the fifth inning. The current rumor is that Altuve's thumb is broken which would be devastating for the Astros, but there isn't confirmation on that just yet.