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Atlanta Braves News: Camp opens, Minor League schedules released, Mike Soroka update and more

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The Atlanta Braves held their first official workout for pitchers and catchers Thursday, but there was another significant event that took place as well. Major League Baseball released the schedules for Minor League Baseball with some notable changes. Each league will shift to a regionalized six-game series with the intent of cutting travel and expenses. Triple-A teams are scheduled for 142 games each with the season slated to begin on April 6. ESPN reports that Opening Day for Triple-A teams could be pushed back to May 4 due to the pandemic. May 4 is also slated to be Opening Day for Double-A and Class-A teams.

Here are links to each of the Braves’ affiliates schedules for 2021:

Braves Spring Training

Brian Snitker met with the media following the Braves’ workout Thursday and discussed several topics including Mike Soroka’s health, the bullpen and how he will fill out his batting order. Soroka also discussed his rehab with the media and said that right now running is the key to his return, there are no questions about where his arm is at.

“It’s all going to be kind of a progression,” Soroka said. “I can run a little bit. It’s not exactly where it needs to be. I think anybody watching can tell you that. I need to be able to sprint and come out of the gate hot without having to think about it. It’s getting close. But it’s just a matter of repetitions.”

MLB.com’s Mark Bowman put together a FAQ that includes important dates fans might need to know for Spring Training.

Atlanta Braves 2021 Season Preview

We began rolling out our 2021 season preview Thursday morning. New stories and podcasts will continue to roll out through the end of the month. You can keep track of everything here.

Up first was a look at eight big storylines to follow for the Braves as they begin Spring Training. Next was a look at the coaching staff which includes a couple of new faces along with Chipper Jones who will serve as a part time hitting coach.

More Braves News

Cory McCartney has a burning question for each position as the Braves get ready to open the 2021 season.

If you read just one thing today make it this great look back at how Bob Horner’s tenure in Atlanta ended under a cloud of collusion. It is well worth your time.

FanGraphs’ David Laurila with a great Q&A session with Braves infield prospect Braden Shewmake.

Also at FanGraphs, Shea Langeliers and Bryce Ball made Eric Longenhagen and Kevin Goldstein’s list of players that they expect to make the 2022 Top 100.

MLB News

The biggest news of the week was the big 14-year, $340 million mega extension for Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand took a look at which players might be the next to sign a big extension.

Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber had his arrival to camp delayed due to a positive Covid-19 test.

Former Cy Young award winner Chris Sale told reporters that he “feels great now” and is on track in his return from Tommy John Surgery.

The Oakland Athletics signed free agent reliever Trevor Rosenthal to a one-year, $11 million deal.

The Seattle Mariners signed reliever Ken Giles to a two-year deal that will guarantee him $7 million. The deal also includes a $9.5 million option for the 2023 season.

Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto sustained a fracture in his right thumb while catching a bullpen before camp opened. Realmuto will have his thumb immobilized for the next two weeks and will then be reevaluated. The Phillies are hopeful that he will be ready for Opening Day.

Former All-Star second baseman Brian Dozier announced his retirement Thursday ending his nine-year career.

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