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Braves Daily News Digest: 2/24

Your morning/afternoon stop for all the latest Braves news and other stories around the league.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Braves News:

Grapefruit League Play Just Two Days Away

With a summer like feel outside at Champion Field (see link for video) on Sunday the Braves were able to get in a full practice and continue their final preparations, as their first Spring Training game will be Wednesday at home against the Detroit Tigers at 1:05 p.m.. DOB states that it was almost unfair watching two of the top pitchers on the team Craig Kimbrel and Kris Medlen face hitters in live batting practice. Speaking of pitching, fourth-year skipper Fredi Gonzalez will announce today his pitching plans for the first several games of Grapefruit league action.

Vasquez Cleared To Throw

DOB reports that winter ball standout Luis Vasquez has passed his physical and can resume all throwing activity after straining a lat muscle last month. Despite a career earned run average just under five, 4.98, and a 6.6 BB/9 the 27-year-old hard throwing sidearmer may have found a breakthrough and will be given a chance to prove his worth over the next month. Last season at Chattanooga (AA-Dodgers) and Albuquerque (AAA) he put up career bests with a 2.52 ERA and struck out 11.6 batters per nine innings. The Braves hope he is another diamond in the rough.

Hart Continues Tradition Of Solidifying Core

In the 1990's the Cleveland Indians became a powerhouse in baseball as general manager John Hart built the team around its core group of players and did something that the league had not seen done before: sign players to long-term deals before eligible for arbitration. Now in 2014, his first full year serving as a senior adviser to the Braves baseball operations, Hart has been a part of yet another movement made by a team to build its future and success from within.

Freeman's Defense Puts Him Among Elites

Not only did Freddie Freeman have an absolutely great season with the bat last year, in which he hit .443 with runners in scoring position, but see why FOX Sports South Cort McCartney believes his glove is what pushes him into the elite status.

Ls Stella Ready To Prove His Worth

While the Braves expect Dan Uggla to be their starting second baseman come Opening Day barring any setbacks, the team is excited to see if Tommy La Stella is truly major league ready or not. According to Mark Bowman the 25-year-old has gained comfort in his first spring training stint. Since his professional debut in '11 the former Coastal Carolina standout has had great success at the dish with a .327 average and had drawn more walks (111) than strikeouts (88) in 846 at-bats. He is expected to start the year at Gwinnett.

Braves Support Venezuela

Players of Venezuelan descent along with "El Oso Blanco", who played in the Venezuelan winter league, posed together with signs supporting the student protesters in Venezuela who are battling the government for their freedom right now. Some of the other Latin American players showing their support were Freddy Garcia and Luis Avilan. Bullpen coach Eddie Perez also got in on the message.

Cuban Infielder Has Braves Interest

According to DOB the Braves have scouted 23-year-old Aledmys Diaz on multiple occasions, but a couple of other teams could make his costs too high to go after. His bat remains the most sought after quality while he has received mixed views on his glove. It is believed he could play any infield position needed.

League Wide News:

Gardner Newest High Paid Yankee

Brett Gardner will remain in pinstripes for the foreseeable future, as he signed a 4-year, $52 million extension. The deal includes a fifth-year club option for $12.5 million. The Yankees may be a rather old team this year but their outfielders will be able to steal quite a bunch of bases. Gardner led the league in triples (10) and had a .342 average on balls hit in play.

Rangers Send Message To Venezuela

While Elvis Andrus and Martin Perez are the only two on the Rangers roster from Venezuela many other teammates joined them in sending out their prayers and bringing awareness to the troubles going on in a country fighting for its freedom.

Chacin Shut Down With Sore Shoulder

The Colorado Rockies shut down Jhoulys Chacin on Sunday due to inflammation in his right throwing shoulder. He was the Rockies most consistent pitcher last season when the Venezuelan native went 14-10 from the hill with a 3.47 ERA in a ballpark known to be a hitters park.

Jeter To Play In Game Thursday

The farewell tour is about to begin and even if Derek Jeter doesn't like it he is going to get spoiled all year no matter what ballpark he plays in. This Thursday he will suit up and play in the Yankees home game against the Pirates, but will not play in his team's exhibition against Florida State on Tuesday as well as the Pirates home game on Wednesday night. He believes he will be part of the squad that will play games against Miami on March 15-16 in Panama, on a night in which Mariano Rivera will be honored.

Twins Players Go To Bat For GM

For the first full team workouts on Sunday Joe Mauer and the rest of his teammates for the Minnesota Twins showed their support for GM Terry Ryan by wearing "Stand Up To Cancer" T-shirts.

Trout, Angels Discussing Extension

According to Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan the Anaheim Angels and Mike Trout are discussing a possible extension that would be for six years and in the $150 million range. Last season the 22-year-old sensation led the MLB with a 10.4 WAR and was second in the Bigs with 176 wRC+.

White Sox Broadcasts To Feature More Sabermetrics

While the Chicago White Sox plan to incorporate sabermetrics into their broadcasts they will not try to confuse anyone with the more complicated numbers, but listed WAR, BABIP, and DRS as three they'd be referring to during games.

HarveyThrows For First Time

For the first time since Tommy John surgery Matt Harvey threw 20 light throws from 60 feet. The 24-year old has a very impressive WHIP of 0.985 in 237.2 innings.

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