Braves look to improve bench, but willing to go with what they have


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — If you’re of the opinion that the Braves’ current bench is rather bereft of power, the front office doesn’t disagree. Two weeks before opening day, general manager John Coppolella is still trying to add a hitter.

If the season started now, the Braves would have a four-man bench of catcher Kurt Suzuki and infielder-outfielders Chase d’Arnaud, Jace Peterson and Emilio Bonifacio.

“We’re trying to upgrade the bench,” said Coppolella, who wouldn’t discuss specific possibilities. “It may be that we are unable to. If that’s the case, we’ll just go with what we have. But we are always trying to find ways to get better. We don’t rest, we don’t sleep, we’re trying to get better every day whether it’s up here or down on the farm. We’re always trying to look for ways to make the Braves stronger.”

It’s unclear who remains on the radar among potential bench bats, but the Braves aren’t among teams in discussions with free-agent outfielder Angel Pagan, despite some reports. The Braves had interest in him before spring training, but the asking price was too high at the time — reportedly $5 million — and Emilio Bonifacio’s improved conditioning and performance since camp began played into the decision to pull back from the Pagan pursuit.

The Braves also were known to have varying degrees of interest in former Braves Kelly Johnson and Jeff Francoeur, but weren’t willing to offer the major league contract that each sought. As of Monday, both remained unsigned free agents.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Braves

Braves pitchers impressive until sloppy eighth inning of loss to Mets
Braves pitchers impressive until sloppy eighth inning of loss to Mets

Six Braves pitchers threw a two-hit shutout and had a 2-0 lead in their Grapefruit League opener Friday against the Mets ... until the eighth inning. That’s when, as manager Brian Snitker aptly put it, “Spring training broke out.” Miguel Socolovich’s bid for a bullpen job got off to a rocky start when he was charged with all...
Some say Pache is best defensive outfielder in Braves system
Some say Pache is best defensive outfielder in Braves system

Would you believe center fielder Ender Inciarte might not be the best defensive outfielder in the Braves organization? And would you believe the kid who some say is better than Inciarte defensively isn’t Ronald Acuna? The Braves have a two-time Gold Glove winner in Inciarte and a consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball in Acuna, who’ll likely...
Gohara slowed early by groin tightness
Gohara slowed early by groin tightness

Braves starting pitcher Luiz Gohara has been slowed by groin tightness in the first week of spring training. The rookie left-hander is competing for one of two openings in the starting rotation and had been widely considered the favorite for one of those spots entering spring training, after totaling 25 strikeouts with four walks in 25 1/3 innings...
Acuna to make eagerly awaited spring debut Saturday
Acuna to make eagerly awaited spring debut Saturday

Ronald Acuna played in 13 Grapefruit League games last year, but his 2018 spring debut and every other game he plays will be much more highly anticipated and dissected by Braves fans and media than a year ago. That’s because now he’s pretty much viewed as the savior, or at least the Next Great Brave. Acuna, who turned only 20 on Dec. 18...
Everything you need to know about Friday’s Braves game
Everything you need to know about Friday’s Braves game

Baseball is back. The Braves play their game Friday, albeit a spring training game. Here’s everything you need to know:  Opponent: New York Mets Game time: 1:10 p.m. Site: Port St. Lucie, Fla. TV: None Radio: 1340 AM and 103.7 FM  Pitching for the Braves: Matt Wisler, Chase Whitley, Sam Freeman, Rex Brothers and others. Braves prospects...
More Stories