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Emptying the notebook on Braves Fest 2024

Braves Fest notes from Brian Snitker, Michael Harris II, and more

The annual Braves Fest event held at Truist Park every January is in many ways the starting point to a new season. The Braves will head to North Port, Florida in just a few weeks to begin preparations for the upcoming season. Their Grapefruit League opener is set for February 24.

We have put together plenty of stories from this year’s Braves Fest throughout the week. Below are some leftovers from the many interviews.

Brian Snitker on the Braves’ lineup

Brian Snitker was asked if he had given any thought on how he might deploy his lineup in 2024. Snitker and Alex Anthopoulos have both publicly stated that new addition Jarred Kelenic will hit towards the bottom of the order. They haven’t yet disclosed whether that means Michael Harris II will move up in the order, or where in the lower third Kelenic might slot in.

“It will probably be pretty much the same thing honestly,” Snitker said. “That’s the good thing, I think, now that we kind of know what we got. There’ll be some competition for a couple things. I’m excited about Spring Training to see guys, but we’re kind of an established club.”

The Braves had about 50,000 fans show up for Braves Fest despite rainy conditions. Snitker and many of the players commented on how thrilling it was to see fans this excited in January.

“Awesome! I said earlier today, Braves country is,” Snitker said. “That’s a real thing and to see how everybody came out and weathered the elements. The strong showing is just a testament.”

Michael Harris II on Vaughn Grissom

The Braves traded Vaughn Grissom to the Red Sox in order to acquire Chris Sale. Grissom’s former teammate and lockermate Michael Harris II said he was excited for Grissom, who now has an opportunity to play on a full-time basis in Boston.

“It was tough seeing him go, but I know it’s a good opportunity for him,” Harris said. “It’s a good organization over there. I think he’s excited. He just was saying he has to make all the friendships and connections over again so I guess that’s probably the hardest part. I think he’ll fit in well and do good.”

Sean Murphy on navigating the summer heat in Atlanta

Sean Murphy saw heavy playing time for a stretch early in the season while Travis d’Arnaud was out with a concussion. Once d’Arnaud returned, they settled into more of a 50-50 timeshare behind the plate. Murphy ended up playing 102 games behind the plate while d’Arnaud saw action in 63. Murphy said that playing in the summer heat was an adjustment that he had to make after coming over from Oakland, but the training staff was on top of it.

“I learned a ton in my first summer. Obviously I’ve never played every day in this kind of heat,” Murphy said. “The training staff and the strength staff, they do a good job of keeping us ready to go and hydrated. All the things we need to do, those guys are on top of it. So, yeah, those guys took care of all that for us. Knock on wood, stayed healthy pretty much throughout the year. Certainly a little speed bump in the middle, but I’ll just try to do it again.”

Austin Riley looking for a Gold Glove

Austin Riley was a Gold Glove finalist after the 2023 season. While the award ultimately went to Pittsburgh’s Ke’Bryan Hayes, Riley hopes to continue his defensive improvement in wake of Ron Washington’s departure.

“I’d say I’ve come a long way. I always give credit to Walsh. He always backtracks and say I put in the work. But, him working with me every day, watching the little things. It’s just the baby stuff of, my first step, my angle, being able to come off the ball. Being able to just read those balls. I’d say I’ve come a long way. I think there’s more in there. I think I’ve got a Gold Glove in me. I really do.”

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