- After a rough previous outing, Drew Smyly pitched excellently in his third start. Smyly held the Rays scoreless over five innings, allowing one hit. He struck out six and walked one. The effort previewed why the Braves gave him $11 million for the coming season. When he’s on, the southpaw can dazzle hitters and pile up strikeouts.
“I thought the stuff was really good,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He was efficient and looks ready to go. ... He was hitting with everything today. That was a good outing.”
The Braves haven’t announced their rotation’s alignment yet, aside from declaring Max Fried their opening-day starter, but Smyly will probably will make his regular-season debut against the Nationals in the Braves’ second series of the season.
- Marcell Ozuna had a two-run homer and double in the Braves’ 5-2 win. Despite an unspectacular spring, the Braves like where their newly re-signed slugger is.
“He’s swinging well,” Snitker said. “He’s having some good extended-pitch at-bats, too. He’s laying off some balls and having some really good at-bats.”
- Young catcher William Contreras laced a two-run double in the eighth that put the Braves ahead. In the battle for the backup catcher job, Contreras has outplayed Alex Jackson for the majority of spring. The Braves will make their decision in the coming days, obviously.
“The kid is maturing and he’s come a long way,” Snitker said. “He has skills. He did a good job for us last year when we pressed him and Alex into action during that first road trip. He’s maturing and getting better.”
- Starter Mike Soroka pitched another simulated game Wednesday. The hope remains he can make a late-April return. Soroka has been working his way back from a torn Achilles that ended his 2020 season after three starts.
- Bryse Wilson will start Friday for the fourth time this spring. Barring an unexpected shift, he’ll be the Braves’ fifth starter to open the season while Soroka works his way back. The Braves have five exhibition contests remaining.