Seventh Inning Stretch
The Atlanta Braves go into the 2013 hoping their off season moves makes them as sizzling as this attractive young-lady slipping off Hammering Hank Aaron’s long-retired number 44.
Having lost future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones to retirement and All-star center-fielder Michael Borne to free agency, Braves management had a big gap to fill as they start their 17th season in Turner field and their 48th season in Atlanta.
But fill it they did. Acquiring B. J. and Justin Upton via free agency and a trade, the Braves hope the two brothers, together with homegrown slugger and rightfielder Jason Heyward will be a dynamic force in the field and at the plate for years to come.
Chris Johnson, a second generation major leaguer acquired in a trade with the Diamondbacks, will attempt to fill Jones’ very big cleats at third. Johnson’s questionable defensive skills though make it likely the career .276 hitter will share third-base duties with left-handed hitting Juan Francisco.
The outfield trio coupled with a solid rotation and one of the best bullpens in the major should be what 4th year manager Fredi Gonzales needs to guide the Braves not just to the post season for their second year in a row but, if everyone stays healthy, all the way to the World Series.