04/08/10 6:03 PM ET
Heyward excited for first trip to San Fran
By Guy Curtright / Special to MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Other than in St. Louis, every ballpark that the Braves travel to this season will be new for rookie sensation Jason Heyward. San Francisco, though, will be a little more special than most places.
Heyward has wanted to play at AT&T Park since in 2000, when the Braves right fielder was just 10 years old.
"I liked it the first time I saw it on TV," Heyward said. "How could you not with the water behind the right-field fence in McCovey Cove, plus the big glove and the big Coke bottle in left field? It just looked like a fun place to play."
Heyward downplayed the idea that he dreamed about hitting homers into the water like Barry Bonds.
"Not really," he said. "I wanted to hit a homer in every ballpark, not just San Francisco. That's what I still want to do."
The only Major League ballpark that Heyward played in before this season was St. Louis' Busch Stadium, the site of last year's All-Star Futures Game.
Wagner impressive early for Braves
ATLANTA -- Billy Wagner faced seven batters in his first two appearances for the Braves and struck out five of them. That's an impressive start for anyone but especially for someone coming off reconstructive elbow surgery.
"He's been dominant," third baseman Chipper Jones said of the Braves' new closer. "With that fastball and that slider, he's unhittable. I'm just glad I don't have to face him anymore."
Wagner, who signed with Atlanta as a free agent, struck out two in a perfect ninth inning to finish the Braves' 16-5 rout of the Cubs on Opening Day, then allowed one hit while striking out the side on Wednesday night to get the save in a 3-2 Atlanta victory.
The save was the 386th of Wagner's career but the first since he blew out his elbow with the Mets in 2008. He made it back last season, but didn't have a save opportunity with either the Mets or Red Sox.
"He looks great," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.
The revamped Atlanta bullpen didn't allow a run in either of the first two games against the Cubs, with Peter Moylan also working twice. In seven innings, Braves relievers allowed just four hits and one walk while striking out 10.
Braves claim pitcher Martinez from Florida
ATLANTA -- The Braves claimed Cristhian Martinez off waivers from the Marlins on Thursday and optioned the right-handed pitcher to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Martinez, 28, appeared in 15 games out of the bullpen for Florida last season and was 1-1 with a 5.13 ERA in 26 1/3 innings. He had a 3.86 ERA and a .224 opponents' batting average in his last 10 games.
Martinez pitched more than half of the season for Double-A Jacksonville, posting a 9-3 record and a 2.94 ERA in 16 starts and one relief appearance.
With Martinez, the Braves now have 38 players on their 40-man roster. They will need one of the two open spots for veteran relief pitcher Scott Proctor when he is ready to join the team. Coming off two reconstructive elbow surgeries, the right-hander is starting the season with Triple-A Gwinnett.
Schedule turnaround daunting for Braves
ATLANTA -- A trip to the West Coast in April is usually a hit with players, but not so much this year with the Braves.
"Our biological clocks are going to be messed up for quite a while," third baseman Chipper Jones said.
After playing at home against the Cubs on Thursday night, the Braves have a day game in San Francisco on Friday, the Giants' home opener. That's a very short turnaround after an overnight flight.
"I don't have any trouble sleeping on the plane, so I'm a lot better off than most guys," said Braves outfielder Matt Diaz.
"I usually can't sleep at all," Jones said.
Braves players would have preferred either a day game in Atlanta or a night game in San Francisco if they couldn't have had Thursday as an off day for travel.
Instead, the Braves were off Tuesday, to protect the season opener in case of rain on Monday, and are off next Tuesday in San Diego after playing in the Padres' home opener the day before.
"Having a day off in San Diego is nice, but we're paying for it," Jones said. "It's going to be a rough trip home, too."
"By the time we get to the hotel in San Francisco, it will almost be time to go to the ballpark," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.
At least Tim Hudson, the Braves' starter against the Giants on Friday, will have a full night's sleep. He took a flight to San Francisco early in the day on Thursday.
Braves' reserves could start over weekend
ATLANTA -- After going with the same lineup for all three games against the Cubs, the Braves may have several changes on Friday when they open a weekend series in San Francisco.
With the Giants starting left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, right-handed-hitting Matt Diaz is sure to get a start in the outfield. It also might be a perfect time to give Brian McCann a rest behind the plate in favor of David Ross and maybe even give Omar Infante a start somewhere.
"Probably," manager Bobby Cox said of giving a few players time off. "We'll see."
Going on the road to San Francisco and then San Diego might be a nice change of pace for first baseman Troy Glaus, who heard more boos than cheers during his first two games with the Braves. Signed as a free agent, Glaus struck out twice on Opening Day and had four strikeouts plus an error in the second game against the Cubs.
The Braves could get Infante into the lineup at second base by moving Martin Prado to first.
Guy Curtright is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.