Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he wasn’t concerned about his WBC players falling behind in hitting, fielding or pitching drills, since they’ll be doing the same or similar work with their respective national teams that they’d be doing if they were in Braves camp.
“The thing that scares all managers and coaches is not that they might not get the work in,” he said. “It’s competing at a high level (this early in the year), and there’s nothing you can do about that. The first time that Kimbrel faces Venezuela with 40,000 people in the stands, it’s not the same as facing the Detroit Tigers with three big-leaguers and guys trying to make the club, in Lakeland or here in Orlando. That’s the thing that scares us managers and coaches.
“And there’s nothing that you say to them or do to prepare for that, because they’re competitors. And no matter whether we say, ‘Hey, this is only your fifth outing,’ they’re going to pin their ears back and try to throw 110 (mph).”
When Simmons and Pena are both out of camp, Gonzalez said Braves shortstop duties will likely be handled by Tyler Pastornicky and prospect Elmer Reyes.