Braves: Ron Washington had a strong message for Vaughn Grissom after not winning the starting job

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The Braves caught many people by surprise when they chose to option both Braden Shewmake and Vaughn Grissom to Gwinnett on the same day. Shewmake impressed during Spring Training, showing a lot of improvement offensively, but he was always a Hail Mary to make the Opening Day roster. Grissom, on the other hand, was thought to be the favorite, and after hitting .371 in Spring Training, most thought he did enough to win the job.

The Braves went with the “safer” choice in Orlando Arcia, however. Despite his low ceiling, he’s far better than Grissom defensively, which is why they chose to roll with him as their starting shortstop to begin the season.

Infield coach Ron Washington worked with Vaughn Grissom on his defense throughout the offseason. He was adamant that Grissom would be ready to play the position if need be. But the Braves have a veteran option in Arcia, and apparently, they don’t believe Grissom is quite ready to take the reins yet.

At Gwinnett Stripers media day today, Vaughn Grissom shared what Ron Washington’s message was to him after learning he didn’t win the job — “If you don’t like it, play better.”

Some players might not react well to the kind of hard-nosed coaching that Washington is known for, but those guys usually flame out well before the major leagues. Grissom is taking it on the fly, letting Atlanta fans know he’ll be back soon.

I’m not sure Grissom could have done much more this Spring Training to win the job. His defense has always been a concern, and the Braves still decided against adding a shortstop this offseason. Something tells me the decision to start him in Gwinnett is more about building his confidence than anything else. It would be a difficult pill to swallow for all parties if Grissom won the job out of camp, struggled with the major-league club and eventually had to be sent down. Hopefully, we see him back in Atlanta very soon.

Photo: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire

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