WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) - Braves general manager Frank Wren says he expects to make at least one trade before Sunday's season-opening game at Washington.
The Braves have four relief pitchers who are out of options. Wren said there is "quite a lot of interest" in Atlanta players.
Perhaps the most heated competition is in the bullpen. Closer Rafael Soriano, Manny Acosta, Will Ohman and Pete Moylan are believed to be assured of spots. Jeff Bennett, who can work in long relief or as a spot starter, also seems likely to make the team.
That could leave only two spots in the bullpen. Among the relievers trying to make the team are four who are out of options: Blaine Boyer, Tyler Yates, Chris Resop and Royce Ring. Wren hopes to make a trade before facing the possibility of having a player claimed on waivers.
Jeff Ridgway gave up six runs, four earned, in one inning in today's 8-0 loss to Cleveland, hurting his chances to make the team. Ridgway was acquired in a January 17th trade that sent infielder Willy Aybar to Tampa Bay.
Wren may attempt to acquire a bench player to give manager Bobby Cox another pinch-hitter. Among the most likely players to make the team in backup roles are infielder Martin Prado, at least one backup outfielder -- possibly Josh Anderson or Gregor Blanco -- and a backup catcher.
The Braves could choose to go without a pure first baseman behind starter Mark Teixeira on the bench, possibly making Scott Thorman, who is also out of options, another candidate to be traded.
Catcher Javy Lopez retired Saturday instead of accepting a minor league assignment, leaving Brayan Pena, Clint Sammons and Corky Miller competing for possibly only one spot behind starter Brian McCann.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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