You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Snitker: Pitcher Blair ‘getting better’


Right-hander Aaron Blair was touted as being close to major-league ready when the Braves acquired him in a December 2015 trade. He didn’t show that during a rough rookie season in 2016, but this spring offers Blair another chance to prove he belongs.

Blair’s results Tuesday at the Phillies weren’t great: three runs allowed over four innings with three strikeouts and a walk. But manager Brian Snitker said Blair, 24, has made strides since last season.

“He’s consciously worked on things, and I think it’s getting better,” Snitker said. “Velocity was a little tick up today. He’s just got to keep pitching, keep working and adjusting. The more experience he gets, the better he’s going to be. We are going to need him again when it boils right down to it.”

Blair most likely will begin the season at Triple-A Gwinnett. But if projected No. 5 starter Mike Foltynewicz falters during the season or an injury leaves a hole in the rotation, then Blair could be first in line for another call-up.

The rough moments for Blair against the Phillies included a hit batter and two triples. But Tyler Goeddel’s two-run triple in the second inning rolled to the wall when right fielder Emilio Bonifacio couldn’t cut it off. The other triple, by Brock Stassi in the third, was a high fly ball that got caught in the strong wind blowing to right and carried all the way to the wall.

Blair’s highlights included retiring the Phillies in order in the fourth inning. Consecutive strikeouts of Goeddel and Cesar Hernandez ended his outing after 67 pitches with 41 strikes.

In 15 starts for the Braves last season Blair posted a 7.59 ERA over 70 innings with 82 hits allowed, including 14 home runs. Blair said he’s made progress since altering his delivery near the end of last season and getting a “different perspective” from new pitching coach Chuck Hernandez.

“I’m a lot more comfortable on the mound,” Blair said. “The slider has become a good weapon for me today. The fastball command is still not quite there but it’s getting there. Every time I go out I feel more comfortable with my delivery and the way things are going.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Braves

Brandon Phillips is happy, Braves happy to have him
Brandon Phillips is happy, Braves happy to have him

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – He was traded to the Braves just a couple of days before players began reporting to spring training, yet right away it seemed as if Brandon Phillips had always been part of the team, so seamless was the veteran second baseman’s transition to a new clubhouse. “Well, when you’ve got a personality like...
LEADOFF: How the Braves rank position by position
LEADOFF: How the Braves rank position by position

Baseball statistics/analytics website FanGraphs has posted its annual position-by-position power rankings for all 30 MLB teams – an interesting exercise because it measures each team’s personnel against the competition, rather than assessing it in a vacuum. The Braves’ lineup doesn’t score highly in the analysis. FanGraphs ranks...
Swanson focused on ‘process’ during spring training
Swanson focused on ‘process’ during spring training

By his own admission, Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson came into his second big league camp differently than last year, though his approach remains the same. “I don’t think the approach is different, just the circumstances are different,” said Swanson before the Braves faced the Mets on Sunday. “I try to always be the best version...
Braves sign reliever Hernandez; Chapman impresses
Braves sign reliever Hernandez; Chapman impresses

Just because spring camp closes down this week doesn’t mean the Braves are winnowing down their bullpen options. They appear, in fact, doing the opposite. The team signed right-handed reliever David Hernandez to a non-roster contract Sunday after San Francisco released him two days ago. Hernandez, 31, was 3-4 with a 3.84 ERA in 70 games for Philadelphia...
Braves’ Dickey has best spring outing, says he’s ready
Braves’ Dickey has best spring outing, says he’s ready

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – R.A. Dickey said all spring that he wasn’t concerned with results in Grapefruit League games, that it was only about how he felt in preparing for the season. The Braves knuckleballer said that when he got knocked around in several starts and said it again Saturday when he had his best spring performance. Dickey...
More Stories