LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Pitchers and catchers reported to spring training Monday, but they weren’t the only Braves in camp. Newcomers Justin Upton and Chris Johnson are among six other position players already in camp, along with Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla and Ramiro Pena.
Upton and Johnson came from Arizona in last month’s seven-player trade that sent Martin Prado, pitcher Randall Delgado and three minor leaguers to the Diamondbacks. Upton is a two-time All-Star who’ll play left field, and Johnson will compete with Juan Francisco for the third-base job.
Upton, who flew in from his home in Arizona on Sunday, said he expected his older brother B.J. to be in camp shortly. The new Braves center fielder after signing the largest free-agent contract in franchise history (five years, $75.25 million), B.J. Upton plans to commute to camp each day from his home in Tampa.
“It’s time for some baseball, which is the fun part,” said Justin Upton, who had played his whole career with the Diamondbacks, but dealt with trade rumors off and on for two years. “Done with all the talking about it. That’s the good part, when you come here and get around the guys in the clubhouse and on the field.
“It’s exciting. Just being with a new group of guys, different clubhouse, meeting people. I look at it as exciting. It’s a new start, new opportunity.”
Visa problems: Braves pitchers Juan Jaime, Yohan Flande and Wirfin Obispo will be late arriving to spring training after being delayed by visa issues in the Dominican Republic. A Braves official said it could be a few days or longer before they report.