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ATLANTA (AP) — Ronald Acuna Jr. helped the Atlanta Braves accelerate their rebuilding schedule in 2018 Tyler Clippard Jersey , when they were the surprise NL East champions.As the Braves enter their last spring training at their Disney complex in Kissimmee, Florida, the next challenge is to move closer to their first World Series since 1999.Acuna won the NL rookie of the year and placed 12th in the MVP voting despite playing in only 111 games as a 20-year-old left fielder. The native of Venezuela showed all the tools — power, speed and defense — that make him the next face of the franchise.Freddie Freeman, the current franchise player who was fourth in that MVP vote, said he can’t wait to see what Acuna can do in a full season.“I don’t know what that guy’s ceiling is,” Freeman said last month. “He is special. … It’s going to be fun to watch him play every single day. If he can stay healthy, it’s going to be huge.”The Braves bolstered their lineup by signing third baseman Josh Donaldson, the 2015 AL MVP, to a one-year, $23 million deal. They also added veteran catcher Brian McCann Marwin Gonzalez Jersey , bringing him back to where he launched his career, and re-signed right fielder Nick Markakis.Here are some areas to watch for during spring training:NEW LOOKA left calf strain spoiled Donaldson’s 2018 season with Toronto and Cleveland. The Braves are gambling Donaldson, 33, returns to his peak three-year level of 2015-17, when he averaged 37 homers. “We weren’t looking at third base,” said general manager Alex Anthopoulos. “We just wanted a big bat with power.” McCann replaces Kurt Suzuki in sharing time with catcher Tyler Flowers. Donaldson pushes Johan Camargo out of third base and into a super utility role. Camargo and Charlie Culberson provide excellent versatility to the bench, a weak spot in 2018. Replacement starters must be found for Anibal Sanchez and Brandon McCarthy, who combined for 39 starts last season.ROOKIESTO WATCHRight-hander Touki Toussaint could win a rotation spot this spring. His teammates rave about his potential, which is built around a curveball which promises to be his signature pitch. Left-handers Kolby Allard and Luiz Gohara and right-handers Mike Soroka, Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson also will compete for starting jobs. Third baseman Austin Riley may be the reason the Braves were interested in only a one-year deal with Donaldson. Outfielder Cristian Pache, an outstanding defensive player http://www.angelsfanproshop.com/authentic-mike-trout-jersey , is the organization’s other top position prospect.THEY’RE SETDefense remains a strong point. The outfield includes 2018 Gold Glove winners Markakis and Inciarte. Acuna, who might eventually move to right field or center field, also is a strong defensive player. Freeman also won a Gold Glove while finishing fourth in the MVP voting. Ozzie Albies, a possible future Gold Glove winner, showed surprising power with 24 homers and is a lock at second base.THEY’RE NOTMike Foltynewicz emerged as an All-Star and No. 1 starter last season, and midseason addition Kevin Gausman helped solidify the middle of the rotation. Otherwise, many questions remain in the rotation, especially after Julio Teheran was sent to the bullpen for the playoffs. Young starters unable to go deep into games could put a heavy drain on a bullpen which has its own questions. Arodys Vizcaino’s sore shoulder kept him from handling the full-time closer’s job, while A.J. Minter battled control issues at times.ON DECKBraves pitchers and catchers have their first workout on Feb. 16, and the team’s first full-squad workout is Feb. 21. They plan to move into a new spring training facility in North Port, Florida Kole Calhoun Jersey , near Sarasota, in 2020 and have scheduled their final exhibition game this spring at the new facility on March 24. The Braves open the season on March 28 at Philadelphia. Atlanta’s home opener is April 1 against the Cubs. NEW YORK — The end of the final week of the season will be nostalgic and bittersweet for the New York Mets. The beginning will serve to remind the Mets of a past they’d thought was buried, and how far they have to go to catch a familiar foe.David Wright’s final homestand as a major leaguer is scheduled to begin Tuesday night, when the Mets activate their former All-Star third baseman prior to the opener of a three-game series against the National League East champion Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.The Mets’ Noah Syndergaard (12-4, 3.36 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Braves rookie Touki Toussaint (2-1, 4.30 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.Article continues below ...Both teams were off Monday after earning wins Sunday, when the Braves completed a four-game sweep of the visiting Philadelphia Phillies with a 2-1 victory and the Mets beat the host Washington Nationals, 8-6.The Mets (73-83) took three of four from the Nationals and have gone 41-35 since July 1 to ensure a respectable finish to a season that spiraled out of control during a 5-21 June. But New York will be looking much further back over the final six-game homestand, when Wright will be on the active roster for the first time since May 2016.Wright, who was on a Hall of Fame track before his career was derailed by back, neck and shoulder injuries Garrett Richards Jersey , is expected to be available as a pinch-hitter before making a final start against the Miami Marlins on Saturday night.“I wouldn’t mind getting him in there and getting him a pinch-hit at-bat when it makes sense in the Braves series,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway told reporters Sunday.While Wright, whose contract runs through 2020, is not expected to officially retire, the 35-year-old said during an emotional press conference Sept. 13 that it’s too painful for him to continue playing baseball.If this is it for Wright, he will end his career with the Mets in the same position they were when he made his debut in 2004 — chasing the Braves (88-68), who clinched their first NL East title since 2013 with a 5-3 win over the Phillies on Saturday.The Braves, of course, set an American professional sports record by winning 14 straight division titles from 1991 through 2005. The Mets finished second or third in the NL East seven times from 1995, Atlanta’s first full season in the NL East, through 2005.The Braves Andrew Heaney Jersey
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