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Drew Waters homers, Braves beat Twins 3-1 in spring opener

Drew Waters homers, Braves beat Twins 3-1 in spring opener

Friday, March 18, 2022

-Clint Manry

Real live MLB finally returned on Thursday, and today, the Braves started its spring camp with a non-televised exhibition game versus the Twins. No one could watch, but the posts on Twitter were definitely inspiring…

Following back-to-back clean innings by Braves starter Bryce Elder, the Braves offense entered the third with the game tied at zero apiece. However, prospect outfielder Drew Waters changed that when he belted a monster solo-homer to left.

Four batters later, the newly-acquired Matt Olson tacked on another Braves run when he singled up the middle, scoring Orlando Arcia. Just like that, Atlanta was up 2-0.

Elder wound up working only three innings today, but the young righty was effective, facing nine Twins batters and preventing any of them from getting a hit. Overall, Elder struck out two and walked one, while inducing three groundouts compared to one flyout.

Fellow prospect, Darius Vines relieved Elder for the fourth and was just as clean, totaling three hitless innings to go with a pair of strikeouts. During Vines’ effort, Atlanta’s lineup struck again, when prospect outfielder Michael Harris slapped an RBI single in the sixth to put the Bravos up 3-0. Harris followed that hit up by stealing second.

The deployment of prospect arms continued after Vines. In relief, righty Victor Vodnik came in for the seventh and eighth innings, perhaps outpitching everyone in this game. Of the six batters Vodnik faced, the undersized pitcher struck out all but one, working his first spring appearance in hitless fashion. The Braves added one more score in the ninth, thanks to a

Jasseel De La Cruz, a young arm in desperate need of a good season in 2022, worked the final frame of Friday’s matchup. Cruz was forced to face six batters, and the Twins Dennis Ortega wound up pushing across a run when he doubled to left. But all-in-all, the Braves righty worked his way out of the jam, inducing a popout and a flyout to end the game. Braves win, 3-1.

Along with Waters, Olson and Harris, catcher William Contreras also contributed with a hit in the win, as well as infielder Yariel Gonzalez. The Braves will play again on Saturday, going up against the Rays — this time on TV (Bally Sports). First pitch tomorrow is slated for 12:05 PM (CT). At the time of this writing, Tampa Bay will go with pitcher Phoenix Sanders for the start. Atlanta has yet to name a starter.

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