As the Braves prepare for their NLDS matchup with the Phillies, they’ve been hosting open scrimmages at Truist Park over the last two days and continued to do so on Thursday. Most of what has transpired should be taken with a grain of salt, but there have been a few intriguing developments.
Max Fried pitched five innings on Tuesday, and the concerns about the blister that currently has him on the IL have been reduced. It looks like he’ll be good to go for Game 2 at Truist Park, and the Braves might have found their starter for Game 3.
AJ Smith-Shawver also pitched on Tuesday opposite Max Fried and was brilliant, tossing five innings of scoreless ball while allowing just one hit with no runs. We’ll see if the Braves trust a 20-year-old with the ball in his hands in October, but he’s made a solid case and might be the team’s best option because of his pure stuff.
The final noteworthy development was Marcell Ozuna playing some first base. Despite being strictly a DH this season, he’s been working constantly before games with Ron Washington, and the Braves wanted to give him an opportunity during the scrimmage.
When asked about Ozuna playing first base, Brian Snitker said he looked “pretty good” and that he’ll likely get some more work there in Spring Training.
I asked Brian Snitker about Marcell Ozuna getting a little time in at first base during the practices. He said Marcell looked pretty good — which he has. They were going to give him a look next spring, but this allows Ozuna to get in the game more as #Braves prep for the NLDS.
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) October 4, 2023
Of course, with Matt Olson in the fold, Marcell Ozuna won’t be playing first base very often, but it’s nice to have him as an option if Olson were to spend some time on the IL. It also would allow the Braves to rest Olson’s legs during the season by using him as a DH.
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