The Atlanta Braves trimmed nine players off their spring roster today, optioning six players and re-assigning three other players to their minor league camp.
Right-handed reliever Brad Baker was optioned to AAA Richmond. After being a sleeper in the race for Atlanta's closer, Baker has been one of the biggest disappointments in camp. He pitched in four games and had an ERA of 14.21. Baker allowed 10 earned runs on 15 hits in 6.1 innigs of work. He'll join Richmond's bullpen.
Scott Thorman was also sent to Richmond. The left-handed hitting first baseman had only ten at bats in spring training. He spent ten days with Canada's team in the WBC before coming back to camp last weekend. Thorman, who split last season between Mississippi and Richmond, will be Richmond's starting first baseman.
Shortstop Luis Hernandez was optioned to AA Mississippi. Hernandez was hitting .167 in six spring training at bats. He got most of his playing time as a late-inning defensive replacement. Hernandez, who played in Mississippi last year, will return there this season as the starting shortstop.
Martin Prado was also sent to Mississippi, where he finished last season. Prado hit .125 in 11 games this month with the big club. He made a positive impression on Bobby Cox, as the Braves' skipper mentioned Prado as a potential utility guy for the future.
And Josh Burrus was sent to AA Mississippi. Burrus has missed the entire spring after having shoulder surgery late last year. Burrus will continue to rehab and hopes to be back in action sometime in May.
Jose Ascanio was optioned to Myrtle Beach. The hard-throwing right-hander pitched in four games this spring, posting an ERA of 4.00 in six innings of work. Ascanio, who had back trouble and missed most of last season, showed a great fastball this spring. He'll likely be moved up to Mississippi to start the season, but it's unclear if the Braves will put him in the bullpen or give him more innings as a starter this season.
Three non-roster invitees were re-assigned to minor league camp, including Kevin Barry. The right-handed reliever was effective this spring, posting a 1.80 ERA in four games. He was also second on the team with seven strikeouts. Barry will head to AAA Richmond. It's unclear, however, if he'll be a reliever or a starting pitcher.
Catcher Clint Sammons was also sent down. The former University of Georgia catcher had only four at bats this spring. He'll likely head to Myrtle Beach as the Pelicans' starting catcher.
And finally Jonathan Schuerholz will head back to the minor league fields on Friday. Schuerholz had a good spring in his first big league camp, knocking two home runs in his 17 at bats. Schuerholz will compete for the starting second base job in AAA Richmond.
The Braves now have 45 players remaining in big league camp.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional front office philosophies. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.