So far, so good on manager Fredi Gonzalez's new pre-batting practice routines. Meaning that third baseman Chipper Jones is on board with it, which is always key.
The Braves never stretched en masse before a game under retired manager Bobby Cox, much less took part in targeted defensive drills before they hit.
Gonzalez has changed things up, not because he doubts players will stretch on their own but because he uses the time to mingle with them and pick up vibes.
And the defensive drills are paying off.
"I see benefits," Jones says. "The defense has been, certainly, I think, solidified because of it.
"I don't know how I'm going to feel about it in July and August, but I can see some benefits to the early-season extra work. It gets awfully hot. You want to save your bullets for the game."
For now, the Braves are coming out for warm-ups and drills at 4 p.m. for a 7:10 p.m. game; batting practice commences at 4:30. Defense has been sparkling, with shortstop Alex Gonzalez leading the way.
The Braves have committed only five errors through 11 games, and no player has more than one error.
Defense was flawless again in Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Marlins, but that didn't really come into play since the Braves had only two hits and right-hander Tim Hudson's ground balls found holes.
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