The Atlanta Braves extended outfielder Joe Benson a non-roster invitation to Major League Spring Training camp on Thursday, and he wasted little time to take advantage of the opportunity.
Benson, 27, had spent the entire spring in minor league camp yet played in nine big league games as a reserve. He received the non-roster invite after hitting a solo home run Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies, and then had the game-winning hit Thursday to beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
But his ninth-inning single to left field to drive in center fielder Eric Young, Jr. was far from the only act from his standout performance. Benson played left field and had three other singles and finished the day 4-for-5 with a run scored, an RBI and a strikeout. His spring batting average now stands at .412 (7-for-17) with a home run, three runs scored and three RBI as he bids for a spot on the Braves’ Opening Day roster.
Other possible Gwinnett Braves position players’ stats from Thursday vs. Baltimore:
Todd Cunningham (RF), 1-for-1, RBI.
Pedro Ciriaco (3B), 1-for-1.
The Orioles scored four of their five runs off of potential G-Braves right-handed starter Chien-Ming Wang (BS, 1), who entered the game as a reliever in the sixth inning.
Baltimore pushed across one run in the sixth and added three in the seventh, including a two-run, pinch-hit home run by right fielder Travis Snider. Wang lasted 1 1/3 innings with four runs allowed (three earned) on five hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Also, G-Braves’ right-handed reliever Arodys Vizcaino has been suspended for 80 games for using performance-enhancing drugs. The Braves had optioned him Monday to Gwinnett.
The Braves and Orioles will meet for the second of three games to finish their Grapefruit League schedules at 6:05 p.m. Friday in Sarasota, Fla. They will then return to Champion Stadium for a 3:05 p.m. contest Saturday.
Atlanta opens its regular season schedule at 4:10 p.m. Monday against the Miami Marlins in Miami. Gwinnett’s Opening Night game is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. Thursday against the Durham Bulls at Coolray Field.
Potential Gwinnett Braves outfielder Joe Benson slugged his first home run of Spring Training for the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday in a 9-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Benson drove the second pitch he saw from the Phillies’ Opening Day starter Cole Hamels over the right field fence in the second inning for Atlanta’s first run of the game in Clearwater, Fla.
Although he is not on the Braves’ 40-man roster nor a non-roster invitee, Benson has played in nine Major League games this spring, including each of the last five. He finished Wednesday’s game 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. Overall, he has batted .250 (3-for-12) with the home run, two runs scored, two runs batted in and three walks against four strikeouts in Braves Spring Training.
Other possible G-Braves position players’ stats from Wednesday against Philadelphia:
Todd Cunningham (RF), 1-for-3, BB.
Pedro Ciriaco (LF-3B), 1-for-3, R.
Jesus Flores (C), 1-for-2, BB.
Joey Terdoslavich (LF), 0-for-1, K.
A pair of potential G-Braves relievers covered the final two innings against the Phillies. Right-hander Aaron Kurcz threw 1 1/3 innings, giving up two unearned runs on one hit and one walk with three strikeouts and two wild pitches. Fellow righty John Cornely struck out two batters after he took over for Kurcz in the eighth, although Philadelphia left fielder Russ Canzler reached base on a fielder error by Terdoslavich that allowed third baseman Andres Blanco to score the Phillies’ final run of the game.
The Braves will wrap up their Grapefruit League schedule with three games against the Baltimore Orioles. The first contest is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Thursday at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
A member of the 2014 Gwinnett Braves outfield and an outfielder who could join him this year contributed to the Atlanta Braves’ offense Tuesday in an 8-5 loss to the Houston Astros at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Right fielder Todd Cunningham, the G-Braves’ leader in hits a year ago, entered the game in the fifth inning as a pinch runner for left fielder Kelly Johnson and scored two batters later on a single by third baseman Alberto Callaspo.
Cunningham’s run gave the Braves a 5-3 lead, and possible 2015 Gwinnett outfielder Joe Benson took over in center field the following inning. Benson struck out in the sixth but picked up his second hit of Spring Training (eight at-bats) with two outs in the eighth.
Cunningham also grounded out in the seventh and walked in the ninth. He is batting .317 (13-for-41) for the spring with two doubles, six runs scored, five runs batted in and two stolen bases.
Other possible G-Braves position players’ stats from Tuesday vs. the Astros:
Pedro Ciriaco (SS), 0-for-1, K.
Jesus Flores (C), 0-for-1, K.
Houston stormed back to the lead in the sixth inning with three runs off of potential G-Braves right-handed reliever Brandon Cunniff. He walked the first two batters of the inning before he gave up a three-run home run to center fielder Colby Rasmus. Cunniff (BS, 1; L, 0-1) struck out catcher Hank Conger and gave up two more hits before he caught left fielder Jonathan Villar looking to end his only inning of work.
Atlanta also announced Tuesday it has outrighted outfielder Zoilo Almonte to Gwinnett. Almonte cleared waivers, but he can elect free agency because he has been outrighted previously. The move leaves the Braves with 35 active players in Major League camp.
The Braves will face the National League East rival Philadelphia Phillies at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday in Clearwater, Fla., before they finish their Spring Training schedule with three consecutive games against the Baltimore Orioles.
Possible Gwinnett Braves right-handed starter Mike Foltynewicz made what could have been his final bid for a spot in the Atlanta Braves’ starting rotation Monday in a 4-2 Braves win over the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.
Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, the second batter Foltynewicz faced, put Detroit ahead 1-0 with a single that followed leadoff hitter Anthony Gose’s single and steal of second base. Foltynewicz gave up one hit in each of the next two innings but held the Tigers scoreless until left fielder Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo home run over the right-field fence with one out in the fourth.
Foltynewicz struck out the next batter, catcher Alex Avila, to finish his outing with 3 2/3 innings pitched and two runs allowed on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts. He did not factor in the decision.
Offensively, potential G-Braves outfielder Todd Cunningham batted in the leadoff spot and went 3-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout. Possible Gwinnett infielder Pedro Ciriaco and catcher Jesus Flores both flew out to center field in their lone at-bats in the ninth inning.
Members of the 2014 G-Braves, catcher Christian Bethancourt and infielder/outfielder Phil Gosselin, helped produce half of the Braves’ runs against Detroit. Bethancourt tied the game 2-2 with a solo home run in the seventh inning. Gosselin drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth with a single to right field.
Possible G-Braves outfielder Joe Benson tacked on Atlanta’s final run with a sacrifice fly in his only at-bat to score Alberto Callaspo. Benson and Cunningham were also both thrown out trying to steal second base.
The Braves finish March with a 6:05 p.m. game Tuesday against the Houston Astros at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The teams played to 2-2 ties in both of their first two meetings before the Braves topped Houston 14-10 in their most recent match-up March 23.
A potential Gwinnett Braves utilityman has been perhaps the hottest hitters for the Atlanta Braves in Spring Training camp for the past week, and he helped lead the Braves Saturday to a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Pedro Ciriaco went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs in the sixth inning to tie the game at three runs apiece while spending time defensively in center and left field during the contest in Dunedin, Fla. He has hit safely in six of his last seven games while batting .526 (10-for-19) with a pair of runs scored, a double, a triple, 10 RBI and a stolen base. Among qualifiers, Ciriaco leads the team with a .380 batting average (19-for-50) for the spring.
The Braves dropped their second game of the weekend 4-2 Sunday to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Other possible G-Braves position players’ stats from Saturday against Toronto:
Sean Kazmar (3B), 1-for-2, R.
Seth Loman (1B), 0-for-2.
Joe Benson (LF-CF), 0-for-1, R, BB.
Jesus Flores (C), 0-for-1.
Cedric Hunter entered the game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement in left field but did not receive an at-bat.
A pair of possible G-Braves right-handed relievers also combined to throw 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays. Brandon Cunniff (H, 2) breezed through the eighth inning with nothing more than a walk allowed. Juan Jaime (H, 4) retired one batter but also gave up a hit and a walk in the ninth.
The Braves played most of their expected starters at their home Spring Training complex against the Pirates. Right fielder Todd Cunningham and left fielder Benson were the only two players likely to man the outfield for Gwinnett to get an at-bat. Cunningham walked and scored in the eighth, and Benson flew out to center field in the following at-bat.
Right-handed pitcher Michael Kohn (L, 1-1) was the only possible G-Braves pitcher to take the mound against Pittsburgh. He pitched the ninth but gave up the deciding two runs on two hits, including a two-run homer by second baseman Jong Ho Kang, with one strikeout.
Atlanta reassigned Kohn to minor league camp Monday and optioned fellow right-handed reliever Arodys Vizcaino to Gwinnett. Those moves leave the Braves with 36 active players in Major League camp.
The Braves will travel to face the Detroit Tigers for the fifth and final time this spring at 1:05 p.m. Monday in Lakeland, Fla. The teams have split their first four meetings, two of which were split-squad contests for Atlanta.
A pair of possible Gwinnett Braves infielders led the Atlanta Braves to a 4-2, seven-inning win Friday over the Boston Red Sox at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Shortstop Pedro Ciriaco drove in Atlanta’s first three runs with a two-out double in the second inning after he singled the previous inning as the Braves’ first hitter of a game shortened because of rain. Ciriaco finished the game 2-for-4 with a strikeout. He is hitting .370 (17-for-46) in Spring Training and is tied for the team lead in runs batted in with 15.
Kelly Johnson, who is in competition for one of the final spots on the Braves’ Opening Day roster, tacked on Atlanta’s final run with a solo home run in the sixth inning. Johnson entered the game as a defensive replacement at third base in the top half of the inning and played the seventh at first base.
Meanwhile, Phil Gosselin, who led the 2014 G-Braves with a .344 batting average (130-for-378), went 2-for-3 with a run scored. He started the game in center field and moved to third base in the seventh.
Potential G-Braves outfielders Mycal Jones and Jose Constanza came in as defensive replacements in the seventh inning at center field and left field, respectively. Neither received an at-bat.
The Braves used only two pitchers in the game. Possible G-Braves right-handed reliever John Cornely (S, 2) got the final out of the sixth inning and retired both batters he faced in the seventh before the umpires halted play because of rain.
Former G-Braves right-handed pitcher and Atlanta’s Opening Day starter Julio Teheran (W, 2-1) pitched the first 5 2/3 innings with three strikeouts. He also walked four batters and gave up five hits, including a two-run home run by center fielder Mookie Betts in the fourth inning.
Atlanta also announced Friday it has optioned left-handed pitcher Manny Banuelos, right-handed pitcher Williams Perez and outfielder Eury Perez to Gwinnett to begin the season, which leaves the Braves with 40 active players in their Spring Training camp.
The Braves will travel to face the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:07 p.m. Saturday in Dunedin, Fla., before they return to their home complex to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at Champion Stadium. Atlanta lost to the Blue Jays 10-5 March 15 at Champion Stadium and beat the Pirates 7-5 Thursday in Bradenton, Fla.
Potential Gwinnett Braves right-handed pitcher Aaron Kurcz threw only one pitch Thursday but got his first win of Spring Training.
Kurcz (1-1) got Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli to ground out to end the eighth inning with runners on first and third base and the game tied 5-5. The Atlanta Braves struck for two runs, including a run-scoring groundout by possible G-Braves catcher Jesus Flores, in the ninth inning and held on for a 7-5 victory in Bradenton, Fla.
Possible G-Braves infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnson also drove in one of the Braves’ five first-inning runs with a groundout that drove in third baseman Alberto Callaspo.
Flores finished the game 1-for-2, while Johnson ended the game 1-for-4.
Other potential Gwinnett position players’ stats from Thursday against Pittsburgh:
Pedro Ciriaco (SS), 0-for-1, K.
Phil Gosselin (2B), 0-for-1.
Also, catcher John Buck, who could have played for Gwinnett if he did not make Atlanta’s Major League roster out of Spring Training, announced his retirement Thursday after an 11-year Major League career with seven different teams. He had signed with the Braves as a minor league free agent Jan. 26 and was a non-roster invitee to Atlanta’s Major League Spring Training camp.
The Braves will return to their home Spring Training complex to take on the Boston Red Sox at 1:05 p.m. Friday at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Atlanta beat the Red Sox 11-3 March 17 in their only other 2015 Grapefruit League meeting.
Possible Gwinnett Braves right-handed starter, and Atlanta Braves starting rotation candidate, Mike Foltynewicz took the mound Tuesday for the Braves against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Foltynewicz recorded four of his first six outs via strikeout, but the Phillies also tagged him for three runs on four hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings. Atlanta rallied to tie the game at three in the seventh inning but ultimately fell 5-3 at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Foltynewicz had been scheduled to start Monday against the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, Fla., but the Braves pushed him back a day because of the possibility of rain. He is 0-2 with a 7.06 ERA (6 ER in 7.2 IP) and is tied for second on the club with 10 strikeouts in four Spring Training starts.
Other possible G-Braves pitchers’ stats from Tuesday vs. Philadelphia:
LHP Manny Banuelos, 3.0 IP, 4 H, BB, 2 K.
RHP Arodys Vizcaino (L, 0-2), 1.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, K.
RHP Cody Martin, 1.0 IP, K.
Infielder Pedro Ciriaco continued his torrid pace offensively with singles in both of his at-bats against the Phillies while playing third base. He scored on a seventh-inning home run by shortstop Andrelton Simmons and stole his first base of Spring Training when he swiped second in the eighth. Ciriaco is 6-for-10 in his last four games, and his 13 hits, overall, are tied for the team lead.
Other potential G-Braves position players stats from Tuesday against the Phillies:
Kelly Johnson (1B), 1-for-2, R.
John Buck (C), 0-for-2.
Todd Cunningham (RF), 0-for-1, K.
Eury Perez (pinch hit), 0-for-1, K.
The Braves have their final off day of Spring Training on Wednesday. They will resume play with a contest against the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:05 p.m. Thursday in Bradenton, Fla.
Potential Gwinnett Braves infielder Pedro Ciriaco added to his recent hot streak Monday, as the Atlanta Braves outlasted the Houston Astros 14-10 in Kissimmee, Fla.
Ciriaco entered the game as a pinch runner in the fourth inning for shortstop Andrelton Simmons after Simmons was hit by a pitch. Ciriaco tripled in his first at-bat of the game in the fifth inning to drive in two runners and scored when left fielder Eury Perez hit a ground-rule double to right field.
Ciriaco grounded out in his only other at-bat and is now 4-for-8 in his last three games with five runs batted in. His 12 hits and seven RBI both rank second on the team.
Other possible G-Braves position players’ stats from Monday against Houston:
Perez (LF), 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, throwing error in the fourth inning.
John Buck (DH), 1-for-2, 2B, R, RBI, BB.
Jesus Flores (C), 0-for-5, K.
Phil Gosselin (3B), 1-for-2, fielding error in sixth inning.
Jose Constanza (CF), 0-for-1.
Jace Peterson (2B), 0-for-0, BB.
The Braves scratched scheduled right-handed starter Mike Foltynewicz, who could be part of the 2015 Gwinnett rotation, because of possible wet field conditions. Instead, seven relievers, including five who could fill the G-Braves’ bullpen, combined to cover the game.
Possible G-Braves pitchers’ stats Monday vs. the Astros:
RHP Michael Kohn (W, 1-0), 1.0 IP, 2 BB, K.
RHP Juan Jaime (H,3), 1.0 IP, H, BB, 2 K.
RHP Todd Coffey, 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER.
RHP John Cornely, 1.0 IP, BB.
RHP Aaron Kurcz, 1.0 IP, BB, K.
The Braves also reassigned right-handed pitcher Sugar Ray Marimon, left-handed pitcher Donnie Veal and catcher Braeden Schlehuber to Minor League camp Monday.
Atlanta returns to its home Spring Training complex to face the Philadelphia Phillies at 1:05 p.m. Tuesday at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
A parade of pitchers who could man the mound at Coolray Field in 2015 helped lead the Atlanta Braves to a weekend of four games in which they allowed an average of fewer than three runs per contest. The Braves split the weekend slate and are 8-12 in Grapefruit League play.
Six of seven potential Gwinnett Braves relievers who worked Saturday and Sunday did not allow a run. All seven combined for a 1.08 ERA (1 ER in 8.1 IP) with two saves and two holds. Right-hander Williams Perez (BS, 1; L, 0-1) was the only likely G-Brave pitcher to work Friday. He gave up the final four runs on seven hits, two walks and three strikeouts in a 5-1 loss to the Miami Marlins in Jupiter, Fla.
Atlanta played a pair of split-squad games Saturday. One Braves squad beat the Washington Nationals 5-2 in a home contest at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and the other portion of the team lost 1-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter.
Possible G-Braves pitchers’ stats vs. Washington:
RHP Michael Kohn (H, 2), 1.0 IP, H, BB.
RHP Juan Jaime (H, 2), 1.0 IP.
RHP Brandon Cunniff (S, 1), 2.0 IP, 2 BB, 2 K.
Potential G-Braves pitchers’ numbers against St. Louis:
RHP Arodys Vizcaino,1.1 IP, H, BB.
RHP Sugar Ray Marimon, 2.0 IP, 2 H, HBP.
RHP Aaron Kurcz (L, 0-1) 0.0 IP, 2 H, ER, BB.
Left-handed reliever Donnie Veal was the only potential G-Braves hurler to pitch Sunday in a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers at Champion Stadium. He got his first save of Spring Training with a scoreless ninth inning during which he walked a hitter and struck out two others.
Infielder Pedro Ciriaco led possible G-Braves hitters by going 3-for-6 in two starts, including 2-for-3 against Detroit with three runs batted in. He also picked up a single and a walk as the leadoff hitter and starting shortstop vs. the Nationals.
Potential G-Braves position players’ stats from Friday against Miami:
Eury Perez (CF), 1-for-4, K.
Jesus Flores (C), 1-for-4.
Phil Gosselin (3B), 1-for-2.
Jace Peterson (2B), 0-for-3, BB, K.
John Buck (1B), 0-for-1.
Joey Terdoslavich (pinch hit), 0-for-1, K.
Infielder Sean Kazmar took over at shortstop in the eighth inning but did not receive an at-bat.
Other possible G-Braves position players’ lines Saturday against the Nationals:
Todd Cunningham (CF), 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, K, outfield assist in the third inning on a play when Mike Carp was out trying to reach second base.
Jose Constanza (RF-LF), 1-for-3, R, SB.
Seth Loman (1B), 0-for-4, K.
Cedric Hunter (RF), 1-for-1, R, RBI.
Barrett Kleinknecht (3B), 0-for-1.
Corban Joseph (2B), 0-for-1.
Catcher Steve Rodriguez entered the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning but did not receive an at-bat.
Potential G-Braves position players’ stats vs. St. Louis:
Peterson (2B), 2-for-3, K.
Buck (C-1B), 2-for-3.
Gosselin (LF-3B-1B), 0-for-4, K.
Terdoslavich (RF-1B), 0-for-2, BB.
Joe Benson (LF-CF), 0-for-1, BB, threw out Rafael Ortega at home plate from center field in the sixth inning.
Braeden Schlehuber (C), 0-for-1.
Perez (pinch hit), 0-for-1, K.
Kazmar (SS), 0-for-1.
Other possible G-Braves position players’ stats against Detroit:
Perez (RF-CF), 1-for-5, K.
Cunningham (CF), 1-for-3, R, SB.
Constanza (LF), 1-for-1, R, SB.
Gosselin (2B), 0-for-1, RBI, BB, K.
Benson (LF-CF-RF), 0-for-1, BB, K.
Joseph (2B), 0-for-1.
Schlehuber (C), 0-for-1.
Loman (1B), 0-for-1.
Hunter (pinch hit), 0-for-1.
Flores entered the game at catcher as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning but did not receive an at-bat.
The Braves will face the Houston Astros at 1:05 p.m. Monday in Kissimmee, Fla.