Today’s game versus the Rays had two objectives. One, get some young pitchers like Bryce Elder some work against MLB competition. Two, and most importantly, get on the plane to Atlanta without anyone getting hurt. Bryce Elder nailed down his objective, no-hitting the Rays over 4 2⁄3 innings. The position player starters played five innings without incident, and gave way to the minor league camp. Matt Olson had a single, double, and an RBI, while Ozzie Albies had two singles and a stolen base.
Corey Kluber faced off against the younger Elder, who was eight years old when Kluber was drafted. The Braves ran out eight starters and newly-named utility player William Contreras at catcher. The Rays ran a few starters out in their lineup versus Elder.
Bryce Elder worked around a HBP and a walk in the first inning. Brett Phillips ate Austin Riley alive on a hot shot to third base in the second inning. Albies then made a circus catch on Ronny Simon’s pop-up. He got out of the second, and got a double play to get out of the third after two walks. He breezed through the fourth with two strikeouts. After two soft groundouts in the fifth, he gave way to Sean Newcomb. There was nothing but weak contact from the Rays off Elder, minus a groundball that escaped Riley. He missed low in the zone several times and up a few times. Today there was no TV coverage, no Statcast, no detailed Gameday, no motorcars, so my estimation is that he threw 80-90 pitches. But overall, an excellent outing from Bryce Elder, who will report to Gwinnett while looking pretty close to MLB-ready today.
Meanwhile, #Braves RHP prospect Bryce Elder got the start in Atlanta's final exhibition game before he'll join the Gwinnett Rotation. Elder fired 4.2 IP with 0H, 0R, 3BB, and 2K. The 22-year-old is an arm to keep an eye on in 2022.— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) April 5, 2022
Matt Olson got the meager hitting party started with a single to right field in the first inning but was left at first base. Ozzie Albies led off the second inning with a sharp single and stole second base. Then Adam Duvall got a gift popup single to center field because there was wind, boys. The bottom three of the lineup could not push them across, however. Rosario threw in a single in the third, Ozzie likewise in the fourth.
After Contreras reached on a walk in the fifth, Matt Olson clobbered one over Castellanos in left field, reaching second and driving in the runner. Austin Riley followed with a smash to the wall that was caught by Phillips.
The Braves took their one-run lead to the sixth inning. That would be all of the scoring for the game. At the top of the sixth, the Braves swapped out all of their position players, save William Contreras. Kenley Jansen led the Braves in the sixth. After walking Choi, he erased him in a double play for a scoreless frame. Will Smith picked up two strikeouts in the seventh. A.J. Minter faced one hitter in the eighth and struck him out.
Orlando Arcia and Luke Waddell had singles today. Pitcher and Vandy alum Tyler Ferguson and Trey Riley both had an appearance and Ferguson gained a strikeout.
So that wraps Spring Training for 2022. The Atlanta Braves finished on a high note at 8-7. They will head north and start the regular season against the Reds Thursday night.