Glaus out to prove health, move to first
Veteran expected to bring power to heart of Braves lineup
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After experiencing a 20-minute unplanned detour, Troy Glaus righted himself and completed the 80-minute drive from his Ocala, Fla., home to the vicinity of Walt Disney World, where he'll spend the next six weeks with his new Braves teammates.
Now as he begins his attempt to prove he's healthy enough to be the power hitter the Braves envision, Glaus doesn't have any reason to believe that he'll encounter any more delays during Spring Training. Provided every indication that he's regained all the strength in his surgically-repaired right shoulder, the 33-year-old veteran is ready to make the transition from third base to first base.
"Everything is good there," Glaus said in reference to his shoulder, which limited him to 16 regular season appearances with the Cardinals last year. "I'm just excited to be here, get some work in and get moving forward."
Glaus, who will work with first-base coach Glenn Hubbard and Major League consultant Bobby Dews to acquaint himself with the first-base position, is targeted to serve as the right-handed power threat who will hit cleanup in between the switch-hitting Chipper Jones and left-handed hitting Brian McCann.
Jones likes this makeup, which could pose a problem to opposing managers, who are attempting to create the best matchups for their relievers during the late innings.
"I think in a perfect world, I think that's the way people would have it," Jones said. "I don't think there's any doubt that if Troy is healthy and playing every day and swinging the bat well, it's probably where everybody would have him."
Glaus, Jones, Jason Heyward and Eric Hinske were among the position players who arrived in Braves camp on Monday afternoon. Shortstop Yunel Escobar and second baseman Martin Prado are the only projected starters who haven't yet been seen in camp.
But both Escobar and Prado are both expected to be present on Tuesday morning, when Braves manager Bobby Cox delivers his annual preseason motivational speech and then watches the first full-squad workout of what is scheduled to be the final season of his legendary career.
"It's going to be sad when he leaves," Hall of Famer Hank Aaron said. "He's not only been great for Atlanta, but also the game of baseball. The game of baseball is going to miss him."
Aaron arrived at the Braves camp on Monday in time to be impressed with the live batting practice session produced by Billy Wagner, the club's new closer, who has spent the past couple of days proving that his surgically-repaired elbow is strong and healthy.
"He's throwing the ball very well," Aaron said. "I just hope his arm can hold up and he can do things I know he's capable of doing."
Aaron, who serves as one of the club's vice presidents, also seems to be among the many who have gained the belief that 23-year-old right-hander Tommy Hanson is destined to enjoy a stellar career.
"This kid has the world in front of him, really," Aaron said. "If everything stays on par and he pitches the way I think he can pitch, I think the Braves have a superstar."
If Prado and Escobar make their expected arrivals before Tuesday's workout, right-handed reliever Luis Valdez will remain the only player who hasn't yet reported to camp. Valdez is experiencing problems obtaining a visa that would allow him to leave his native Dominican Republic.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.