Braves notes: Ruiz, Walker HRs; update on relievers Rivero, Minter

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Braves notes: Ruiz, Walker HRs; update on relievers Rivero, Minter

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Braves third-base prospect Rio Ruiz, pictured during a recent workout, hit his first home run of the spring in a split-squad game Saturday. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Third-base prospect Rio Ruiz and recent first-base acquisition Christian Walker each homered for the Braves in a 7-4 split-squad loss to the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla.

Ruiz is 4-for-14 this spring and has impressed Braves officials, showing that he could be ready if Adonis Garcia struggles or the Braves have an injury and need a third baseman at any time.

Rivero update: Right-handed reliever Armando Rivero has yet to pitch in a game this spring because of shoulder tightness. He was shut down for a period and examined this weekend by a Braves physician.

“He played catch today,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said Saturday. “Still kind of just day-to-day, getting him on a throwing program and getting him out there. He says he feels all right. We’re still trying to build him up to get him out there. He had shoulder tightness, so we backed him off, now he’s just playing catch.”

Minter update: The Braves had planned to start using highly regarded lefty relief prospect A.J. Minter in games early next week, but Snitker indicated that will be delayed at least slightly.

Minter had overwhelming statistics last year — 1.30 ERA, 47 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings — while pitching on a strict schedule in his first pro season and first season since Tommy John elbow surgery in college, and the Braves are being cautious again this spring before planning to ease constraints on him in the 2017 season.

Roster cuts: After initially saying the Braves might make roster cuts following Saturday’s split-squad games, Snitker said they would wait a bit longer because of some injuries, sickness and players leaving Sunday for the World Baseball Classic.

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