Kendrick, Chacin make Braves starting bids

The Braves are getting to the point where they’ll settle on the pitchers they expect to be in the starting rotation and begin building up their pitch counts. Two non-roster veterans got their first chance to make their case in a Grapefruit League game on Sunday.

Kyle Kendrick needed 27 pitches to get out of the first inning, though some of that was because of some bad luck. Jhoulys Chacin pitched two perfect innings with two strikeouts.

The Braves signed Kendrick to a minor-league contract in December. With eight seasons in the big leagues, Kendrick said he doesn’t put too much stock in results from his first outing of the spring

“I just want to get my work in,” he said. “Obviously towards the end of spring you want to have some good results. Early on you want to feel good, get stretched out, work on your pitches. Command of my cutter today wasn’t great so I’m going to work on that in my side (throwing session).”

Alejandro De Aza led off the Met’s first with a hard double to right field and then went to third on Asdrubal Cabrera’s fly out to right. The Braves had a shift on for Yoenis Cespedes, who beat it by sneaking a slow ground ball past Kendrick to the first-base side.

De Aza hit an RBI single off Kendrick with one out in the second. Cespedes hit into the shift with two outs but second baseman Emilio Bonifacio booted the ground ball behind second base, allowing another run to score.

Kendrick was charged with three runs (two earned) in two innings while allowing five hits with one walk and one strikeout. He threw 44 pitches with 26 strikes.

“I felt good, which was a plus,” Kendrick said.

Chacin had little trouble retiring all six Mets he faced. He has a chance to make the rotation after earning his way back to the big leagues with the Diamondbacks via the minors last season after shoulder ailments in 2014 led to the end of his six-year stay with the Rockies.