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.”
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.