03/23/12 6:08 PM ET
Rest works wonders on Venters' left elbow
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
"They just wanted to give me a couple of days to let it rest and get it feeling good again, so that I can go into the year feeling strong and good," Venters said. "It feels great now. I'm actually excited about it."
Venters believes he will be ready to pitch in an exhibition game again by Tuesday.
The Braves are certainly going to take precautions with Venters, who has combined to make a Major League-high 164 appearances in the past two years. The 26-year-old setup man battled elbow injuries throughout his Minor League career. But other than needing a few extra days of rest a couple times last year, he has not had any problems with his left elbow.
Venters, who has combined for a 1.89 ERA in his first two Major League seasons, has allowed at least one run in three of his five exhibition appearances this year. He explained the discomfort he felt during Sunday's appearance against the Orioles as "regular soreness."
"I think it was just a mix of throwing hard again and not being able to recover," Venters said. "I was just sore. Regular stuff that needed to be taken care of now, rather than at the beginning of the season."
Future Braves stars among roster cuts
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez praised catcher Christian Bethancourt and third baseman Joey Terdoslavich before informing them that they had been reassigned to Minor League camp.
"We're going to see [Terdoslavich] at Turner Field, and the same thing with Bethancourt," Gonzalez said. "It's just a matter of them letting us know when they are ready. What I mean by that is that when they tear up the Minor Leagues and there is no other place to send them but the big leagues, we'll see them."
The Braves announced Friday that Terdoslavich, Bethancourt, first baseman Ernesto Mejia, left-handed pitcher Dusty Hughes and right-handed pitcher Adam Russell had been reassigned to Minor League camp.
Hughes, Russell and Mejia will all likely begin the year with Triple-A Gwinnett. Terdoslavich and Bethancourt are expected to start the season with Double-A Mississippi.
Terdoslavich batted .240 (6-for-25) with three doubles while experiencing Grapefruit League action for the first time. The switch-hitting infielder has played third base most of his life and will have the opportunity to move back to that position with Mississippi this year. If he proves he can play the position, there is a chance he could succeed Chipper Jones as Atlanta's starting third baseman in 2013.
Bethancourt had six hits, including a double and a home run, in 15 at-bats during the exhibition season. But the 20-year-old catcher made his greatest impression with his quick feet and strong arm. The Braves timed at least two of his throws to second base at a very impressive 1.84 seconds during Grapefruit League action.
"Defensively, right now, he can play in the big leagues," Gonzalez said. "But we've got [Brian McCann]. He'll let us know. He'll go to Double-A, tear up that league and then go to Triple-A and tear it up. Then he'll be up here."
Minor admirably handles first bout of stress
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Mike Minor was happy to encounter a few stress-filled innings before the start of the regular season. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was happy with the way Minor managed to minimize damage during the 4 2/3 innings he completed in Friday's 9-4 win over the Mets.
Minor entered the game having not allowed a run in 14 exhibition innings this year. This scoreless streak was snapped during Friday's first inning, when Martin Prado was unable to hold Lucas Duda's fly ball after crossing through foul territory and hitting the waist-high wall in front of the visitor's bullpen.
"It was just one of those days where I was glad I had it because it's just Spring Training," Minor said. "I feel like I need those kinds of games where you don't feel like you have everything and you need to get through it. It was good practice to get out there and struggle like that."
Struggling to get command of his fastball, Minor surrendered two hits to open the second inning and allowed the Mets to produce two more baserunners in the fourth inning. The Braves targeted him to throw 85 pitches but allowed him to extend the outing when he neared that total in the fourth inning. The southpaw was lifted after issuing a two-out walk in the fifth with his 93rd pitch.
Minor was charged with three runs -- two earned -- and three hits. One of the earned runs charged to him came while right-handed reliever Anthony Varvaro allowed three singles and issued a walk within a span of four plate appearances in the fifth inning.
"It was good to see because he has been cruising all of Spring Training," Gonzalez said. "It's nice to see him go in there and get out of trouble."
Jack Wilson might get his wish to begin the season on Atlanta's Opening Day roster. Wilson's previously strained right calf has not been a problem for more than two weeks, and he had no trouble while playing Minor League games on Thursday and Friday. As long as he continues to progress, he could play in a Major League exhibition game midway through next week.
Gonzalez said Tim Hudson is currently targeted to make his regular-season debut during the April 27-30 series against the Pirates in Atlanta. Hudson, who is recovering from back surgery, will throw a five-minute bullpen session and five-minute live batting practice session on Wednesday.
Freddie Freeman exited Friday's game after Jon Niese hit him in the left hand with a fourth-inning pitch. Gonzalez said Freeman could play again as soon as Saturday. The Braves defined the first baseman's injury as a soft hand contusion.
Kris Medlen allowed one hit and tossed five scoreless innings in a Minor League game on Friday afternoon. Medlen, who is targeted to begin the year in the bullpen, needed just 45 pitches to complete the outing.
Anthony Varvaro exited Friday's game in the fifth inning with a strained right pectoral muscle. The Braves did not reveal when he might be able to pitch again.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.