3/6/2014 11:11 P.M. ET
With limited options, Mejia patiently waits
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Ernesto Mejia led the International League in RBIs the past two years, and he has hit at least 24 home runs in each of the three seasons he has played since rejoining the Braves organization, but as the 6-foot-5, 260-pound first baseman progresses through Spring Training, he is still patiently awaiting his first call to the Major League level.
Freddie Freeman's presence obviously lessens the odds Mejia will reach the Majors while a member of the Braves organization. But Mejia has maintained optimism and a good attitude as he prepares to play a third consecutive season with Triple-A Gwinnett.
Mejia's lack of mobility makes him a liability on the bases and limits his range in the field. But if he continues to show the power he has the past few years, there is a chance he will become attractive to another big league organization or, possibly, a Japanese club.
"Freddie is a great player, as everybody knows. I just try to do my best," Mejia said. "I understand there is not too much playing time for me here. I'm just trying to do the best I can and let them decide."
Mejia recorded five hits, including two doubles, in his first nine Grapefruit League at-bats this year, but he has gone hitless in his past six.
The big Venezuelan was named the International League's Rookie of the Year in 2012 after hitting .296 with 24 home runs and a .852 OPS. While spending a second straight season with Gwinnett in 2013, he batted .249 with a career-best 28 homers and an .820 OPS.
Although he was anticipating a September promotion last season, he understood the club's decision not to bring him to Atlanta after rosters expanded.
"It's tough when you have a good year at Triple-A and you're trying to make your dream come true," he said.
Braves teaming with Dreams of Recovery Foundation
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Before Thursday night's game against the Nationals, manager Fredi Gonzalez met with Cindy Donald and proudly announced that the Braves are once again working to give fans a chance to aid in their attempt to financially assist individuals recovering from spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.
The Braves will team with The Cindy Donald Dreams of Recovery Foundation to promote Cindy's Walks for Recovery, which debuted in May. Like last year, fans across the country can donate a dollar amount of their choice for each walk drawn by a Braves player this upcoming season.
"This is something special to my heart," Gonzalez said. "It's a great project. Hopefully, we get a great response."
Tax-deductible donations -- starting at 10 cents per walk for individuals and $10 per walk for corporations -- will help the foundation provide financial grants for people waiting to participate in approved therapy programs and purchase necessary equipment to improve their daily life.
"I just want to thank Fredi and the Braves for always being so helpful," Donald said.
Fans can participate by texting W-A-L-K-S to 51555, visiting www.walksforrecovery.org or calling 770-675-6565.
Donald was left paralyzed after an accident at her home in 2005. Three years later she started her foundation with the philosophy that "helping others is the best therapy."
Teheran escapes tough outing unscathed
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As right-hander Julio Teheran struggled to command his fastball during Thursday night's 3-2 win over the Nationals at Champion Stadium, he put a blemish on nearly every significant category in his pitching line except for the most important one.
Teheran, 23, was anything but dominant as he surrendered four hits, issued a walk, uncorked a wild pitch and a hit a batter over three scoreless innings, but he escaped unscathed after putting at least two runners on in each of his final two innings.
"Every time I get in trouble, I just try to make better pitches," said Teheran, who limited opponents to a .217 batting average with runners in scoring position last season.
Teheran pitched around a single in the first inning and put two on with one out in the second before striking out Brock Peterson and getting Steven Souza to ground out. Anthony Rendon and Nate McLouth sandwiched singles around Danny Espinosa getting hit by a pitch in the third inning, but a batter's interference on Rendon's stolen-base attempt quieted the threat, which ended with Tyler Moore grounding into a double play.
"I don't mind [the pitchers] having a little adversity and having some guys out there on the bases," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We're going to have to make pitches and get people out at certain times. If you can get all that stuff at one time, it's good."
• Craig Kimbrel pitched around a single while working a scoreless fifth inning on Thursday night. As he has worked three scoreless innings to open the Grapefruit League season, he has avoided the command issues that plagued him as he rushed to get ready for last year's World Baseball Classic.
• Top setup men Luis Avilan and Jordan Walden each worked a scoreless inning on Thursday. Walden has produced two consecutive scoreless outings since allowing two runs in an inning during his Feb. 28 spring debut.
• As Matt Lipka prepares to begin this season with Double-A Mississippi, he has taken advantage of the opportunity to show off his speed during his first big league camp. He displayed his great range when he robbed Will Rhymes of a hit with a diving catch in the sixth inning on Thursday.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.