Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 3/28/12
The perception is that not much has changed with the Braves' roster since they coughed up that 10-game lead last September. Especially since they've been offensively challenged in spring training games. General manager Frank Wren saw no need to blow up the team because the collapse could be traced to injuries to right-handers Jair Jurrjens (knee) and Tommy Hanson (shoulder), and to catcher Brian McCann (oblique), and to the heavy use of the bullpen's back-end pitchers, left-hander Jonny Venters and right-hander Craig Kimbrel. The assumption over the winter and into spring has been that everything the team needs to make the postseason this time around is already in-house. And yet ... The Braves are looking a little wobbly as the 2012 campaign approaches, particularly in the pitching department. The staff ace, right-hander Tim Hudson, was at first projected to be ready for the season, following late November back surgery. But he was cleared to throw full out only in mid-March, meaning he can't be expected to join the rotation until May. Right-hander Tommy Hanson is a week behind the rest of the rotation, thanks to sustaining a concussion when his car blew a tire as he was driving to camp the first day. He's also refining a new delivery, but seems to be happy with his progress. And right-hander Jair Jurrjens, whose pitching schedule has him lined up to be the opening day starter, has not had command of his fastball. That's three significant question marks beyond what were supposed to be the only two issues: would right fielder Jason Heyward regain his hitting stroke and would rookie Tyler Pastornicky pass muster at shortstop? Heyward is looking good so far. He's healthy and responding well to new hitting coaches Greg Walker and Scott Fletcher. Pastornicky, however, is looking tentative on defense, which was supposed to be his strong suit. Manager Fredi Gonzalez told him not to be concerned with his offense, but shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who was at Class A last season, has been hitting as well as being sharper in the field. There is a precedent for a young shortstop to jump to the Braves directly from A-ball: Rafael Furcal. It seems likely that the Braves will give Pastornicky the first shot at the job. At least in April. The Braves will also have a lineup shift caused by Chipper Jones' latest knee surgery. With Jones due to miss at least a week or two at the start of the season, Martin Prado will take over at third base, and Eric Hinske and Matt Diaz figure to split time in left field.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

DeMar DeRozan: It will be ‘pretty tough’ for me to leave Raptors

Super Bowl referee says Cotchery play could have been a catch

The NBA is one step closer to putting ads on jerseys

Archie Manning defends Cam Newton over press conference

Dwight Howard: ‘I have not asked the Rockets to trade me’

Nazem Kadri fined $5,000 for throat-slashing gesture

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Hassan Whiteside suspended one game for elbowing Boban Marjanovic

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has torn labrum

Report: Antonio Tarver suspended six months, fined $50,000 for positive test

Texans owner wants team to draft a top quarterback

Subban undergoes larynx surgery, out at least eight weeks

Report: Raiders staying in Oakland for 2016 season

Chris Harris: Von Miller should get paid more than JJ Watt

4 likeliest Dwight Howard trade scenarios

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Penn State the latest to offer generic football jerseys for sale

Gary Bettman praises the NHL’s new website and app (which are currently awful)

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

NBA to weigh adding advertisements to jerseys

ESPN, Stephen A. Smith and Little League International sued by parents of Jackie Robinson West

Kobe Bryant shoots down notion he wants All-Star MVP record

Justin Tuck will sign one-day contract to retire with Giants

Ronda Rousey returns to training

Von Miller likely to get franchise tag from Broncos

Barry J. Sanders transferring to Oklahoma State

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker