Results tagged ‘ Joey Terdoslavich ’
A handful of pitchers that could see time with the Gwinnett Braves this season combined Monday to limit the Washington Nationals to a single tally in a 2-1 victory for the Atlanta Braves in Viera, Fla.
Starters competing for the final rotation spot, left-hander Wandy Rodriguez and righty Chien-Ming Wang, each threw three shutout innings, allowing two hits each. Rodriguez (1-0) struck out two batters and earned the victory, while Wang picked up his first hold of the spring after he walked two and struck out one.
Other potential G-Braves pitchers’ stats from Monday:
RHP Michael Kohn (H, 1) 1.0 IP, K.
RHP Jake Brigham (S, 1), 1.0 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 2 K.
Potential G-Braves position players’ stats from Monday:
Joey Terdoslavich (LF-1B), 1-for-1.
Jose Peraza (2B), 0-for-4.
John Buck (DH), 0-for-4, 3 K.
Jesus Flores (C), 0-for-1.
Infielder Sean Kazmar entered the game as a defensive replacement at third base, and outfielder Cedric Hunter entered in left field in the ninth inning. Neither player received an at-bat.
Before the game, the Braves optioned left-handed pitcher Ian Thomas and infielder Elmer Reyes to Gwinnett. They also re-assigned right-handed pitcher Matt Capps, infielder Johan Camargo, and catchers Yenier Bello and Tanner Murphy to Minor League camp. That leaves 60 active players in the Braves’ Major League camp.
The Braves will host the New York Mets for a game at 1:05 p.m. Tuesday at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Right-hander and Opening Day starter Julio Teheran will start on the mound for the Braves. The Mets will send righty Bartolo Colon to the mound.
The Atlanta Braves finished a weekend that included three games in two days with a unique outcome, even for Spring Training.
Nine Braves pitchers combined to no-hit the Houston Astros through 10 innings Sunday in Kissimmee, Fla., including three hurlers who could find themselves on the Gwinnett Braves’ roster in 2015. Houston still pushed across two runs in the seventh when right-hander Mauricio Cabrera walked two and hit a batter to begin the inning before consecutive groundouts gave the Astros a 2-1 lead.
A pair of potential G-Braves tied the game at 2-2 in the eighth. Outfielder Joey Terdoslavich led off the inning with a double and scored three batters later on a sacrifice fly by outfielder Todd Cunningham. The game ended after 10 innings with the scored tied at two.
Potential G-Braves pitchers’ Sunday stats:
RHP Cody Martin, 2.0 IP, 2 BB, 3 K.
RHP Brandon Cunniff (H, 1), 1.0 IP.
LHP Ian Thomas (H, 2), 1.0 IP, 3 BB, K.
Potential G-Braves position players’ Sunday stats:
Terdoslavich (1B), 1-for-2, 2B, R.
Cunningham (RF), 0-for-3, RBI.
Jace Peterson (SS), 2-for-4, R.
Phil Gosselin (2B), 0-for-4.
Cedric Hunter (LF), 0-for-3, BB.
Pedro Ciriaco (3B), 0-for-4, 2 K.
Eury Perez (CF), 2-for-3.
Jose Peraza (2B), 0-for-1.
Yenier Bello (DH, pinch hit), 0-for-0, BB.
Braeden Schlehuber (C), 0-for-0, BB.
The Braves lost a pair of split-squad games Saturday. The New York Mets defeated Atlanta 3-1 in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and the Detroit Tigers topped the Braves 12-6 at Atlanta’s Spring Training home, Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Despite the losses, the Braves got their first look at right-handed pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, who they acquired during the offseason in a trade with the Astros that sent Evan Gattis to Houston.
Foltynewicz gave up a leadoff double to Wilmer Flores in the second followed by a run-scoring single by Michael Conforto that put New York ahead 1-0. Otherwise, Foltynewicz gave up two other hits and walked two with one strikeout in 1 2/3 innings.
Other potential G-Braves pitchers vs. New York:
RHP Aaron Kurcz, 0.1 IP, K.
LHP Manny Banuelos (L, 0-1), 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (ER).
RHP Jose Veras, 1.0 IP, 2 BB, K.
RHP Matt Capps, 1.0 IP, 2 H.
RHP Sugar Ray Marimon, 2.0 IP, H, BB, K.
Possible G-Braves position players vs. New York:
Peraza (SS-2B), 0-for-4, 2 K.
Sean Kazmar (3B), 1-for-1.
Matt Kennelly (C), 0-for-1.
Perez (LF), 1-for-3, R.
Jesus Flores (DH, pinch hit), 0-for-1.
Six players who could suit up for Gwinnett started in the field against Detroit, and potential G-Braves accounted for eight of the team’s nine hits.
Peterson (2B), 0-for-3, BB, 2 K.
Gosselin (3B), 0-for-2, BB.
Terdoslavich (1B), 2-for-3, 2 2B, 2 R, K.
Mycal Jones (LF), 2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI.
Cunningham (CF), 2-for-3, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB.
Hunter (RF), 0-for-3, BB.
John Buck (C), 1-for-2, 2B, 2 RBI, BB.
Ciriaco (3B), 1-for-2, R.
Schlehuber (C), 0-for-1.
Corban Joseph (DH), 0-for-2, R, K.
Potential G-Braves pitchers vs. Detroit:
RHP Williams Perez, 1.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, K.
LHP Donnie Veal, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, K.
RHP Todd Coffey, 1.0 IP, H, 2 K.
The Braves will travel to Viera, Fla., for a 1:05 p.m. game Monday against the Washington Nationals. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez will start for Atlanta against fellow lefty Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals.
The Atlanta Braves tallied their first Grapefruit League victory of the exhibition season Thursday as they topped the Detroit Tigers 6-4 in Lakeland, Fla. Several players who could help make up the roster for the 2015 Gwinnett Braves made large contributions.
Infielder Phil Gosselin got the Braves on the scoreboard in the fifth inning with a two-out single up the middle to score 2014 G-Braves teammate Joey Terdoslavich along with John Buck, which put Atlanta ahead 2-1. Gosselin finished 1-for-4 with an RBI and a strikeout while spending time defensively at second base and third base.
Terdoslavich also scored in the sixth on a double by Buck, while potential 2015 G-Braves outfielder Eury Perez walked and stole home as part of a double steal in the ninth to give the Braves their final run of the game. Terdoslavich, who played left field and first base, was 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored. Perez spent the entire game in center field but did not reach base in any of his other four at-bats.
Potential G-Braves position players:
Pedro Ciriaco, 2B-3B, 0-for-2, K.
Todd Cunningham, RF, 1-for-2, K.
Jesus Flores, C, 0-for-1, K.
Elmer Reyes, 0-for-3, K.
Jose Peraza, pinch ran for Terdoslavich in the ninth.
The Braves also sent six pitchers to the mound, with right-handed starter Julio Teheran the only member of the group guaranteed a spot on Atlanta’s Opening Day roster.
Potential G-Braves pitchers (by order of appearance):
LHP Eric Stults, 2.0 IP, 2 H.
RHP Brandon Cunniff, 1.0 IP, BB, K.
LHP Ian Thomas (H, 1), 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, K.
RHP Jason Hursh (BS, 1; W, 1-0), 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, K.
RHP Sugar Ray Marimon (SV, 1), 1.0 IP, K.
The Braves will return to their home Spring Training complex to face the National League East rival Washington Nationals at 1:05 p.m. Friday at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Following a historic front office revamp in October, the Atlanta Braves are preparing for their most important Hot Stove season in recent franchise history. Here at the G-Blog, we’ll periodically take a look at some of the players that President of Baseball Operations John Hart and the new regime are bringing in, specifically those that will have an impact on the 2015 roster here in Gwinnett.
Yesterday marked Atlanta’s first foray into Major/Minor League free agency this offseason, as the club announced the signing of outfielder Zoilo Almonte to a one-year Major League deal and pitchers Chien-Ming Wang and Donnie Veal to Minor League deals. While these acquisitions aren’t the most notable the Braves will make this winter, they are proof that Hart and company are committed to building a deeper organization through the addition of established veterans.
Anyone who follows the Gwinnett Braves or the Triple-A International League closely will be familiar with all three players. Almonte, Wang and Veal all spent significant time in the IL last season, and each played against the G-Braves on more than one occasion.
Almonte, on Atlanta’s 40-man roster, will contend for a spot on the 25-man Major League roster this Spring. He’s the youngest of the three acquisitions at age 25, and he’s logged brief stints with the New York Yankees in each of the past two seasons. Almonte has never quite settled in at the plate in the big leagues, batting .211 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 47 career games, but he’s done plenty at the Triple-A level to make him an intriguing prospect. In 105 games with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders last year, he batted .261 with 18 doubles, 18 home runs and 69 RBIs. His banner performance of 2014 occurred against Gwinnett at Coolray Field from July 23-24, a game that took two days to complete due to rain. Almonte went 4-for-6 with three homers and seven RBIs in a 12-4 rout of the G-Braves, launching solo and three-run shots off Kanekoa Texeira and adding another three-run clout off Carlos Fisher.
Almonte is reportedly out of options and would have to clear waivers should the Braves ever want to send him to Gwinnett, so it’s unlikely that he’ll bring his homer show back to Coolray Field in 2015. That’s not to say his addition won’t have an effect on the G-Braves’ roster. IL veterans Todd Cunningham and Joey Terdoslavich, also competitors for the Atlanta bench, are now more likely to return to Gwinnett for their third and fourth seasons, respectively. Cunningham (.287, 8 HR, 58 RBI, 19 SB) and Terdoslavich (.256, 15 HR, 61 RBI) both had productive Triple-A seasons a year ago.
In contrast to Almonte, Wang appears to be specifically signed to help the Gwinnett roster. The Taiwanese right-hander posted back-to-back 19-win seasons with the New York Yankees in 2006 and 2007, but suffered a career-altering foot injury in 2008 and has since seen his profile transition to Triple-A workhorse. Since the start of 2011, the 34-year-old has made twice as many starts in the International League (50) as he has in the Major Leagues (22). Last year, Wang made an IL-best 28 starts with two organizations, going 13-8 with a 4.12 ERA with the Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds) and the Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox). He struck out just 73 batters over 172.2 innings, but kept the ball on the ground with a 1.78 groundout/flyout ratio and only six homers allowed.
Much like Almonte, Wang had success facing the G-Braves last year. He went 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA in two starts while with Louisville, then finished 3-0 with a 3.54 ERA in three starts with Charlotte. He worked at least 6.0 innings in four of his five meetings with Gwinnett, including 7.1 scoreless, nine-hit frames in a win with the Bats on June 14.
If he joins Gwinnett, Wang would be the elder statesman of a starting rotation that could include returnees Cody Martin (7-8, 3.52) and Aaron Northcraft (7-10, 4.70) and Double-A standouts Jason Hursh (11-7, 3.58) and Williams Perez (7-6, 2.91). Another season of 170-plus innings from Wang would also help keep the bullpen fresh in 2015.
Speaking of the Gwinnett bullpen, that’s where you might find the left-handed Veal come April. Veal, a second-round pick by the Chicago Cubs back in 2005, has had a taste of the Majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago White Sox. In 100 total games from 2009 through 2014, he went 3-3 with a 4.87 ERA and one save. His best year was 2011, when he went 0-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 24 relief outings with the White Sox. Far more of his time has been spent at the Triple-A level, where he logged 25 games with the Indianapolis Indians from 2009-2011 and 89 games with the Charlotte Knights from 2012-2014.
After going 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA in 17 relief outings for Charlotte in 2013, Veal took a step back in 2014, going 4-5 with a 5.94 ERA in 37 appearances. Against Gwinnett, he went 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA in three meetings. Though his recent numbers don’t impress, the 30-year-old southpaw will get a look in Major League camp this Spring. Should he fail to make the Atlanta roster, he’ll be an asset for a Gwinnett bullpen in flux. Of last year’s G-Braves relief staff, right-hander Pedro Beato and left-handers Ryan Buchter and Atahualpa Severino are all Minor League free agents. That trio combined to make 131 appearances for the club last season.
Yesterday’s moves don’t represent a “big splash” at the Major League level, but they are the Atlanta Braves’ first steps toward building better organizational depth — and a better Triple-A club — in 2015.
Mon: TBA vs. TBA
Tue: TBA vs. Liam Hendriks (4-0, 1.26)
Wed: Cody Martin (2-2, 3.64) vs. LHP Sean Nolin (2-0, 1.55)
Thu: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (3-3, 2.73) vs. LHP Ricky Romero (0-0, 4.86)
The Gwinnett Braves and the Buffalo Bisons open up a four-game set on Monday night. Gwinnett enters the game only four games back of the front-running Durham Bulls in the South Division standings despite losing four straight games. While, the Buffalo Bisons are leading the North Division and are currently on a six-game winning streak.
Pitching: Gwinnett will have their hands full, as they will face No.1 staff in the International League. Entering today, Buffalo leads the league with a 2.91 ERA. They have logged 244.0 innings, striking out 228 and walking 102. Hendriks, who is second in the league in wins and third in ERA, will take the ball in game two. The former Minnesota Twins’ farmhand has been dominant since moving to the rotation. In four turns, he is 3-0 with 1.46 ERA, striking out 23 batters in 24.1 innings.
Nolin, the game three starter, has been just as impressive. The southpaw is 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA in five turns this year. Last season, in 21 starts across three levels, he combined to go 9-5 with a 3.54 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 111.2 innings.
On the other side, Gwinnett enters the contest ranked 11th in ERA. They are the only team in the IL with an ERA over 4.00 and a winning mark.
Martin and Rodriguez have been solid for the G-Braves. Both lost in their last turn of the rotation, but have .500 records and sub-4.00 ERAs.
Despite owning a 3-3 record, Rodriguez has been special all season. The southpaw leads the team in wins, innings (33.0), ERA and is second in strikeouts (31).
Offense: The G-Braves are starting to miss Ernesto Mejia more and more. In the last eight games, the G-Braves have homered once and scored 36 runs, while dropping five of eight.
Joey Terdoslavich has been red hot in the absence of Mejia. He currently has a 14-game hitting streak and leads the team with a .333 (36-for-108) batting average. He has eight doubles, two homer and 10 RBIs on the season.
Despite snapping his 21-game on base streak on Saturday night, Tommy La Stella continues to rake. The lefty is batting .313 (31-for-99) with two doubles and 15 RBIs. He leads the team in RBI and is third in hits.
Buffalo will counter with the IL Batter of the Week, Kevin Pillar. Last week, he led the IL with a .444 batting average, 12 hits and nine RBI, leading Buffalo to a perfect 6-0 record. In 26 games, he is batting .275 (30-for-109) with nine doubles, two triples and 15 RBIs.
In addition to Pillar, the G-Braves will have to deal with Dan Johnson. The former IL MVP, is batting .309 (29-for-94) with a team-leading five homers and 20 RBIs. He has more homers than the whole team combined as he enters play on Monday.
Bison Tracks: Last season, the G-Braves took five of eight from the Bisons, but split the series at Coolray Field.
Quote of the Day: “Every dream you ever have can’t be reached without action.”
Thu: Zach Stewart (1-1, 4.98) vs. Sean O’Sullivan (0-2, 3.97)
Fri: Cody Martin (2-1, 2.66) vs. Jonathan Pettibone (1-0, 4.09)
Sat: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (3-2, 2.67) vs. David Buchanan (3-0, 3.45)
Sun: Mitch Atkins (1-3, 5.01) vs. LHP Greg Smith (2-0, 1.82)
The Gwinnett Braves return home after a solid 4-4 road trip, while the Lehigh Valley IronPigs begin their eight-game swing with a four-game set at Coolray Field. Gwinnett enters the game with a one game lead in the Wild Card lead and two games behind the Durham Bulls in the South division. Lehigh Valley is tied for fifth in the North division and is four games behind the front-running Pawtucket Red Sox.
Pitching: Lehigh Valley comes into the contest with a team ERA of 3.80 through 25 games. The duo of Buchanan and Smith has led the IronPigs rotation. Buchanan leads the league with six starts and his tied for second in wins. He has fanned 19 batters in 28.2 innings. He will get the ball in game three.
Smith has been even better. The southpaw is a perfect 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA. He has recorded three quality starts in four attempts. On April 17, he tossed a complete game shutout against the Syracuse Chiefs. He is one three pitchers in the IL to toss a complete game shutout. He has 18 punch outs in 24.2 innings.
Gwinnett will counter with Stewart, Martin, Rodriguez and Atkins.
Martin has been sensational in his last three starts. The righty has gone 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA over his last three. On April 26, he fanned a season-high ten batters at Toledo. In 23.2 innings, he has recorded 33 punch outs. He will get the ball in game two.
Rodriguez will pitch game three. Through five starts, Rodriguez has recorded three wins, tying his mark from 2013. He has been solid, striking out 28 batters in 27.0 innings. He is coming off of his strongest outing of the season on April 27, as he tossed 7.0 scoreless innings at Toledo.
Batting: The Braves have had to live life without Ernesto Mejia since being released on Saturday to pursue other opportunities. In his absence, Joey Terdoslavich has carried the load. The switch-hitting outfielder has been on a tear of late, recording a hit in his last ten games. On Monday morning, the IL named him the Batter of the Week after posting a .500 average with one homer and three RBIs from 4/21-4/27. On the season, he is batting .330 (30-for-91) with two homers and 10 RBIs.
Tommy La Stella continues to impress in his first season of Triple-A ball. The infielder is hitting .310 (27-for-87) with two doubles and 15 RBIs. He leads the team in RBIs. In 99 plate appearances, the lefty has fanned six times.
Lehigh Valley is off to a slow start at the plate, posting a team batting average of .235 through 25 games. Highly-touted prospect Maikel Franco is having a nightmarish start to the season. The third baseman is hitting .172 (15-for-87) with one homer and seven RBIs. The No.1 prospect in the Phillies organization according to Baseball America has fanned 18 times and has committed two errors on the field.
Bacon Bites: Former G-Braves manager Dave Brundage returns to Coolray Field for the second time in his career as an opposing manager. Last season he took three of four from Gwinnett.
LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – The International League office has awarded Gwinnett Braves outfielder Joey Terdoslavich with Batter of the Week honors for the period of April 21-27. Terdoslavich is the second G-Brave to win the award this season, joining former Gwinnett first baseman Ernesto Mejia (April 7).
Terdoslavich, 25, has been red hot in the past week. He recorded hits in all seven contests from April 21-27, batting .500 (13-for-26) with three doubles, one home run, four RBIs and nine runs scored. The G-Braves went 4-3 in that span.
After batting .235 (12-for-51) through his first 13 games of 2014, Terdoslavich has hit safely in his last eight games, raising his batting average to .317. He currently ranks among IL leaders in runs scored (T-7th, 16), hits (T-9th, 26), total bases (12th, 40) and batting average (15th). Last season, the switch-hitting outfielder was named an IL postseason All-Star after batting .318 with 18 home runs and 58 RBIs in 85 games with the G-Braves. His contract was purchased by the Atlanta Braves on July 4, 2013 and he spent the rest of the season with Atlanta.
Terdoslavich and the Gwinnett Braves continue their road trip on Monday night as they play game three of a four-game series against the Toledo Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field. First pitch is set for 6:30 PM. Right-hander Mitch Atkins (1-2, 4.86) will start for the G-Braves, while the Mud Hens will counter with left-hander Robbie Ray (2-2, 1.93). Tony Schiavone will have the play by play call beginning at 6:15 PM on wdun.com, GwinnettBraves.com, TuneIn Radio and the MiLB First Pitch app.
The G-Braves return to Coolray Field on Thursday, May 1 at 6:35 PM against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Tickets for all home games are available for purchase now by calling the Coolray Field Ticket Office at 678-277-0340 and by visiting GwinnettBraves.com.
The IL Preview concludes with the Gwinnett Braves. Last season, Gwinnett had a forgettable season, finishing last in the IL with a 60-84 mark. Injuries at the Major League level and constant turnover at the minor league level crippled the Gwinnett roster.
The Braves will be led by new skipper Brian Snitker. The former Atlanta Braves third base coach has managerial experience at the minor league level, coaching over 2,000 games (1140-1145 record). He will have a good group of players leading the charge in 2014.
Pitching: The Braves pitching staff took a big hit with the losses of Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy during Spring Training. The losses will trickle down to the minor league level, as two potential G-Braves in David Hale and Gus Schlosser will start in Atlanta.
The G-Braves will start the season with Zach Stewart, Mitch Atkins, Daniel Rodriguez, Cody Martin and Yunesky Maya. All five pitchers have pitched at the Triple-A level and come with experience. Atkins has won 33 games between the Pacific Coast League and International League. Last season, he went 5-2 with a 3.47 ERA in 17 games for Double-A Mississippi.
Martin enters the season with the least amount of experience on the staff, but will be leaned on to built upon his successful 2013 campaign. In 13 games (11 starts), he went 3-4 with a 3.49 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 69.2 IP with the G-Braves.
The bullpen will feature a slew of flamethrowers, as Wirfin Obispo, Mark Lamm, Juan Jaime and Luis Vasquez will be eager to close outs games. Obispo returns to Gwinnett after going 2-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 54 relief appearances. He recorded nine saves, striking out 70 batters in 63.2 innings.
Infield: Offensively, the diamond will be loaded with a deep-talented group. Ernesto Mejia, who hit a career-high 28 homers in 2013, returns for his third season with the G-Braves. He has led the IL in RBIs two straight seasons.
Tommy La Stella will join him on the right side. The former Coastal Carolina alum is a lifetime .327 minor league hitter. The second baseman made an impression with Atlanta during Spring Training, batting .255 with four doubles and five RBIs. He will get his first taste of Triple-A baseball in 2014.
The Atlanta Braves No.2 prospect according to Baseball America, Christian Bethancourt will get his first taste of Triple-A as well. He hit .277 (99-for-358) with 21 doubles, 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 90 games for the M-Braves. He set a club record by reaching base in 40-straight games from June 13 to August 14, batting .338 (54-for-160) with 12 doubles, 10 homers and 27 RBI during the streak.
Tyler Greene and Edward Salcedo will fill out the left side. Both players have the ability to drive in runs and steal bases. Salcedo has swiped 80 bags and drove in 211 runners in 471 minor league contests, while Greene has over 150 stolen bases and 373 RBIs in his ten year career.
Outfield: The Gwinnett Braves will be fortunate to feature a major-league like outfield, as Jose Constanza, Todd Cunningham and Joey Terdoslavich will be manning one of the three outfield positions. Terdoslavich returns after a banner season with Gwinnett. He was named an International League midseason and postseason All-Star after hitting .318 (102-for-321) with 24 doubles, 18 home runs and 58 RBI in 85 games. He was named Gwinnett’s Most Valuable player by Atlanta and Gwinnett. He was as selected to represent Team USA in the 15th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, but did not participate due to his MLB call-up on 7/4.
Constanza returns for his fourth season with Gwinnett. The longest tenured G-Brave returns for his fourth season with the ball club. Constanza enters the season as the G-Braves all-time hits (306), triples (11) and stolen bases (58) leader. In three seasons, he has tallied a .301 (306-for-1,118) batting average with 19 doubles and 69 RBIs.
Cunningham, the switch-hitting outfielder led the squad in hitting with a .265 (113-for-427) batting average. He tallied 13 doubles, five triples, two home runs, 38 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 116 games.
Projected Depth Chart:
Much like David Hale, outfielder Todd Cunningham has seen quite a shift in his expectations this spring. A year ago, he entered Major League camp as the reigning Atlanta Braves Minor League Player of the Year, an award that earned him a spot as a non-roster invitee. He played in 22 Grapefruit League games before ultimately opening the season with Triple-A Gwinnett, where he went on to hit .265 with 60 runs scored an 20 stolen bases. This spring, Cunningham is a member of the 40-man roster with a taste of the Majors under his belt (he hit .250 in eight games for Atlanta last year), vying for a return trip to Turner Field. Gwinnett Braves Media Relations Manager Dave Lezotte caught up with him today at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, FL.
DL: Last year, you were a non-roster invitee to Braves Spring Training. This year, you’re on the 40-man roster. How does this spring compare to last year?
TC: Every year, you’re just trying to get ready for Spring Training. Wherever you settle in the lineup or whatever team you end up on, it kind of works itself out. It’s all about getting ready for the season and being ready to go for game one.
DL: You’re competing for a roster spot with Atlanta, going up against some former Gwinnett teammates like Jose Constanza and Joey Terdoslavich. What’s that competition like?
TC: We all get along so well, there’s no bad blood among us. It’s all about the competition. We go out and we play hard, all of us enjoy the game of baseball. We have that connection, that bond, regardless of what happens. It’s all about going out there and playing hard.
DL: Obviously you still root for those guys when they’re at the plate.
TC: Yeah, they’re your teammates. You’ve come up with them and played with them, so you want everyone to do well.
DL: Last year with Gwinnett, you hit two home runs all year. In your third game this spring, you homered. What was it like showing some power in a Major League Spring Training game?
TC: It feels good. Hopefully that works itself into my swing; it’s something that I’ve tried to incorporate a little bit. Hopefully that shows up throughout the whole season.
DL: As a G-Brave in 2013, you were the everyday centerfielder. This spring, you’ve been playing a lot of left field. Are you still working towards being in center, or is it left field now?
TC: The whole goal is to be able to play as many (positions) as possible. You start looking at the levels above you, the big league level and who they have, and there’s a lot of contracts out there. For me and my position, trying to find a way to get in there, you have to be able to play more than one. The more positions I can play, the better, but obviously the longer I can stay in the middle of the field, the better, too.
DL: Is there different preparation involved for playing the corner outfield spots as opposed to center?
TC: Balls just don’t stay true on the corners, you get all the slices and hooks and top-spin. It’s a lot about first-step reads.
DL: Last season with Gwinnett, you hit .265 and stole 20 bases. Is there an area of your game that you’re working on improving for this year?
TC: Just being able to drive the ball consistently. I’d kind of go through stretches last year where I’d get behind some balls. To be able to do it throughout the whole year, would obviously improve (my) game.
DL: Last year, you got the opportunity to make your Major League debut with the Braves. It was a limited stint, but certainly an eye-opening experience for you. How important is that experience for you heading into this season?
TC: It’s great. It put me in position to come in as a roster invitee. It was just a really cool experience, to kind of get (my) feet wet. Especially when we were on that 14-game winning streak, it was a lot of fun to be in that atmosphere.
DL: Brian Snitker is the manager in Gwinnett this year. You got a chance to work with him at the Major League level last season, what are your thoughts on Snit?
TC: I’m excited to have his experience transferred down to the Triple-A level. He’s been around the game for a long time, so I’m sure there are things that everyone can pick up from him.
DL: The Gwinnett roster obviously will take shape once the Atlanta roster works itself out, but there should be a veteran presence on the club this year. I know you guys aren’t thinking about Triple-A just yet, but what’s your early feeling about the Gwinnett club?
TC: The whole goal, like I said, is to get to the big leagues, but also be ready for game one. I think everyone is going to be on the same page there and be ready in case the opportunity presents itself to be in Atlanta. As far as how the Triple-A team is going to shape up, I think it’s going to be a lot of guys all with the same goal in mind, which is really cool when you get that many guys on the same page. It should be an exciting year, wherever I end up.
DL: If you do end up back in Gwinnett at some point this season, how do you handle that?
TC: Just the same as I’ve always handled it. It’s baseball, I’m trying to get better, I have things that I’m working on. Keep the big picture in mind, trying to get back to Atlanta, and just keep working.
Chris Roughgarden of the Gwinnett Braves Photography Staff was at Champion Stadium on Thursday night to shoot the Atlanta Braves/Washington Nationals night game. She got some great shots of several 2013 G-Braves, which can be viewed in the slideshow below. The Braves won the contest, 3-2.