Marcell Ozuna stays hot, Kyle Wright struggles in debut as Braves win 6-5
By Brian Murray
Kyle Wright is finally getting his first start of the Spring for the Atlanta Braves. After receiving a cortisone shot in his shoulder back in January, he has been brought along slowly. The pitcher with the most wins (21) in the Major League last season takes the mound in his much anticipated Spring Training debut facing the Tampa Bay Rays.
After getting the first two batters to ground out in the first inning, Brandon Lowe hit his third homer of the season over the right-center field wall. Wright then gave up a single to Harold Ramirez, but it turned out harmless when the next batter grounded out to end the inning. Wright's problems continued in the second inning giving up three more runs, including a Yandi Diaz line drive home run.
The Braves answered back in the bottom of the second. Marcell Ozuna reached second as a result of a single and throwing error. Eddie Rosario follows with a hard-hit double putting runners at 2nd and 3rd. Kevin Pillar knocks in Ozuna with a groundout to score the Brave's first run of the game. Vaughn Grissom, playing the SS position for the first time in nearly a week, singles in Rosario making it a two-run game. Grissom also stole his second base of the Spring before Ozzie Albies strikes out to end the inning.
Kyle Wright was breezing through the third inning forcing two groundouts but was pulled with a 2-2 count on the third batter of the inning. Braves Manager Brian Snitker exited the dugout immediately after the pitch, without a trainer, and pulled him from the game. Wright later said he felt fine and was just altering his delivery after a drop in his velocity.
Meanwhile, the Brave's bats started to come alive. Matt Olson hit a leadoff homer in the third inning, his sixth of the Spring. The Rays got that run back in the next inning with a dinger by Taylor Walls. But the Braves were able to tie the game up in the bottom half of the fourth with Ozuna and Grissom hitting their second singles of the day. They were then driven in by back-to-back hits by Albies and Olson to make it 5-5. The Braves score a run in the top of the eighth to go up 6-5 and that would be the final score.
Kyle Wright's debut looked a little shaky, but let's hope it was just a case of a little rust and first-day jitters. It is nice to see batters like Ozuna and Albies bats heating up this Spring. Albies started the Spring a little slow but is on a current seven-day hitting streak and Ozuna has risen his BA to .325 for the Spring. On another note. Vaughn Grissom did his best to make his case for the starting SS position by going 3-4, stealing a base, and turning two double plays. Apparently, it was to no avail as he was optioned to AAA later in the day.
The Braves will be idle tomorrow and will pick up play Wednesday at 1:05 EST against the Detroit Tigers. Another big pitching debut is expected when Michael Soroka takes the mound for his first live game since his lone Spring Training appearance back in 2021.