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Atlanta Braves make third round of spring roster cuts

From the official press release:

The Atlanta Braves trimmed their spring roster by eight players today, optioning three players and re-assigning five others. Left-handed pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes, catcher Clint Sammons and infielder Diory Hernandez were optioned to Gwinnett (AAA). Right-handed pitcher Tommy Hanson, catcher Alvin Colina, outfielder Jason Heyward and infielders Brandon Hicks and Freddie Freeman were all re-assigned to minor league camp.

Atlanta now has 36 active players remaining in its Major League camp.

That's pretty much all expected. I know some people were hoping Hanson would somehow stick on the opening day roster, but unless we're once again decimated by injuries there's no reason whatsoever to rush him. I still think Jo-Jo might be the first guy called up if there is an injury before the All-Star break.

From here on out the cuts get harder and harder, and most will likely wait until the last day or two. We'll have to see how injury situations to Soriano, Moylan, and Garret Anderson play out as to who makes the roster for the final bullpen spots and left field job. The center field job will also be hotly contested over the next 10 days, with Jordan Schafer seemingly still holding an edge over Josh Anderson and Gregor Blanco. Kevin Goldstein, the new head-honcho now at Baseball Prospectus, had this to pass along about our young prospects:

The Braves have given a number of prospects surprisingly long looks in their camp, with outfielders Jordan Shafer and Jason Heyward, along with first baseman Freddie Freeman, all generating a lot of buzz. Schafer, who could win the big-league center-field job almost by default, has been especially impressive, with one scout stating, "He just looks like he belongs, I'd certainly give him the job." And while Heyward and Freeman are likely heading for High-A, they also have left a strong impression. "They both can really hit," added the scout. "Heyward is especially impressive, as he puts on a show in batting practice, and then that power shows up in games. It's a John Mayberry body with way more athleticism and speed. It's clear on just a short look that he's going to be pretty damned good."

All signs certainly point to Schafer getting the nod, but I still think a lot hinges on whether or not the Braves can find a taker for Blanco and/or Josh Anderson.

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