Braves release Kendrick, Volstad, send 12 others to minors

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Braves trimmed 14 players from their spring-training roster Saturday, including pitching prospects Sean Newcomb and Tyrell Jenkins.

None of the moves was surprising, including the unconditional release of veteran pitchers Kyle Kendrick and Chris Volstad, non-roster invitees who came to Braves camp to compete for spots in the starting rotation. It quickly became apparent neither would be a factor.

Kendrick gave up seven runs in 1 2/3 innings Friday and had a 22.09 ERA in two starts, while Volstad allowed 10 hits and eight runs in 2 2/3 innings over two appearances.

The reductions left the Braves with 49 on the active spring-training roster.

“We’re trying to thin out the camp a little bit, try to stretch some of the pitchers,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “They’re getting more and more innings, and it was difficult to get (enough innings) for everybody.”

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Besides the two released pitchers, all other moves involved optioning players on the 40-man (major league) roster to the minor leagues or reassigning non-roster invitees to minor league camp.

Right-handed pitchers Jenkins, Danny Burawa and Casey Kelly and versatile infielder Daniel Castro were optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Right-handed relief prospect Mauricio Cabrera, he of the 102-mph fastball, was optioned to Double-A Mississippi.

Right-handers Chris Ellis and Madison Younginer, lefties David Holmberg and Newcomb, and infielders Chase d’Arnaud, Nate Frieman and third-base prospect Rio Ruiz were reassigned to minor league camp.

“Jenkins, Newcomb, Burawa, Casey Kelly — we’re going to see those guys (again this season),” Gonzalez said. “Sometime during the course of the year, just the way the pitching is at the big-league level, you’re going to see them. Somebody’s going to go down with a sore arm or something.

“That’s what I told those guys, just be ready. Be ready to come up and to help out.”

He also noted the Braves know they can count on Castro at a variety of positions if they need him at any point.

The Braves opened camp with a majors-leading 70 players on their spring-training roster. Two rounds of cuts have shrunk the roster to a manageable size to allow projected lineup regulars and pitchers to begin getting more at-bats and innings with the regular season beginning in just over three weeks.

“It’s not easy to (make cuts), but I think everybody handled it pretty well,” Gonzalez said.

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