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Atlanta Braves looking forward to a bright future, including new stadium, replenished farm system
0402Braves
Atlanta Braves infielder Erick Aybar, left, forces out Tampa Bay Rays' Logan Forsythe but is unable to complete the double play in the first inning of Friday's game in Kissimmee, Fla. - photo by John Raoux

2016 BRAVES SCHEDULE:

April 4 Washington, 4:10 p.m.
April 6 Washington, 7:10 p.m.
April 8 St. Louis, 7:35 p.m.
April 9 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.
April 10 St. Louis, 1:35 p.m.
April 11 at Washington, 7:05 p.m.
April 12 at Washington, 7:05 p.m.
April 13 at Washington, 7:05 p.m.
April 14 at Washington, 4:05 p.m.
April 15 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.
April 16 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.
April 17 at Miami, 1:10 p.m.
April 19 L.A. Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
April 20 L.A. Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
April 21 L.A. Dodgers, 2:10 p.m.
April 22 N.Y. Mets, 7:05 p.m.
April 23 N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.
April 24 N.Y. Mets, 1:35 p.m.
April 25 Boston, 7:10 p.m.
April 26 Boston, 7:10 p.m.
April 27 at Boston, 7:10 p.m.
April 28 at Boston, 7:10 p.m.
April 29 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.
April 30 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.
May 1 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.
May 2 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.
May 3 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.
May 4 at N.Y. Mets, 1:10 p.m.
May 6 Arizona, 7:35 p.m.
May 7 Arizona, 7:10 p.m.
May 8 Arizona, 1:35 p.m.
May 10 Philadelphia, 7:10 p.m.
May 11 Philadelphia, 7:10 p.m.
May 12 Philadelphia, 7:10 p.m.
May 13 at Kansas City, 8:15 p.m.
May 14 at Kansas City, 7:15 p.m.
May 15 at Kansas City, 2:15 p.m.
May 16 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.
May 17 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.
May 18 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.
May 19 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.
May 20 at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.
May 21 at Philadelphia, 3:05 p.m.
May 22 at Philadelphia, 1:35 p.m.
May 24 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.
May 25 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.
May 26 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.
May 27 Miami, 7:35 p.m.
May 28 Miami, 4:10 p.m.
May 29 Miami, 5:05 p.m.
May 30 San Francisco, 1:10 p.m.
May 31 San Francisco, 7:10 p.m.
June 1 San Francisco, 7:10 p.m.
June 2 San Francisco, 12:10 p.m.
June 3 at L.A. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
June 4 at L.A. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
June 5 at L.A. Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
June 6 at San Diego, 10:10 p.m.
June 7 at San Diego, 10:10 p.m.
June 8 at San Diego, 3:40 p.m.
June 10 Chicago Cubs, 7:35 p.m.
June 11 Chicago Cubs, 4:10 p.m.
June 12 Chicago Cubs, 1:35 p.m.
June 13 Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.
June 14 Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.
June 15 Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.
June 16 Cincinnati, 12:10 p.m.
June 17 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.
June 18 at N.Y. Mets, 8:15 p.m.
June 19 at N.Y. Mets, 1:10 p.m.
June 21 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.
June 22 at Miami, 12:10 p.m.
June 23 N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.
June 24 N.Y. Mets, 7:35 p.m.
June 25 N.Y. Mets, 7:15 p.m.
June 26 N.Y. Mets, 1:35 p.m.
June 27 Cleveland, 7:10 p.m.
June 28 Cleveland, 7:10 p.m.
June 29 Cleveland, 7:10 p.m.
June 30 Miami, 7:10 p.m.
July 1 Miami, 7:35 p.m.
July 2 Miami, 4:10 p.m.
July 3 Miami at Fort Bragg, N.C., 8:05 p.m.
July 4 at Philadelphia, 4:05 p.m.
July 5 at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.
July 6 at Philadelphia, 1:05 p.m.
July 8 at Chicago White Sox, 8:10 p.m.
July 9 at Chicago White Sox, 2:10 p.m.
July 10 at Chicago White Sox, 2:10 p.m.
July 15 Colorado, 7:35 p.m.
July 16 Colorado, 7:10 p.m.
July 17 Colorado, 1:35 p.m.
July 18 at Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.
July 19 at Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.
July 20 at Cincinnati, 12:35 p.m.
July 21 at Colorado, 8:40 p.m.
July 22 at Colorado, 8:40 p.m.
July 23 at Colorado, 8:10 p.m.
July 24 at Colorado, 4:10 p.m.
July 26 at Minnesota, 8:10 p.m.
July 27 at Minnesota, 8:10 p.m.
July 28 Philadelphia, 7:10 p.m.
July 29 Philadelphia, 7:35 p.m.
July 30 Philadelphia, 7:10 p.m.
July 31 Philadelphia, 1:35 p.m.
Aug. 2 Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m.
Aug. 3 Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m.
Aug. 4 Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m.
Aug. 5 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.
Aug. 6 at St. Louis, 7:15 p.m.
Aug. 7 at St. Louis, 2:15 p.m.
Aug. 8 at Milwaukee, 7:20 p.m.
Aug. 9 at Milwaukee, 8:10 p.m.
Aug. 10 at Milwaukee, 8:10 p.m.
Aug. 11 at Milwaukee, 2:10 p.m.
Aug. 12 at Washington, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 13 at Washington, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 14 at Washington, 1:35 p.m.
Aug. 16 Minnesota, 7:10 p.m.
Aug. 17 Minnesota, 7:10 p.m.
Aug. 18 Washington, 7:10 p.m.
Aug. 19 Washington, 7:35 p.m.
Aug. 20 Washington, 7:10 p.m.
Aug. 21 Washington, 1:35 p.m.
Aug. 22 at Arizona, 9:40 p.m.
Aug. 23 at Arizona, 9:40 p.m.
Aug. 24 at Arizona, 9:40 p.m.
Aug. 25 at Arizona, 9:40 p.m.
Aug. 26 at San Francisco, 10:15 p.m.
Aug. 27 at San Francisco, 9:05 p.m.
Aug. 28 at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.
Aug. 30 San Diego, 7:10 p.m.
Aug. 31 San Diego, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 1 San Diego, 12:10 p.m.
Sept. 2 at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 3 at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 4 at Philadelphia, 1:35 p.m.
Sept. 5 at Washington, 4:05 p.m.
Sept. 6 at Washington, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 7 at Washington, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 9 N.Y. Mets, 7:35 p.m.
Sept. 10 N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 11 N.Y. Mets, 1:35 p.m.
Sept. 12 Miami, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 13 Miami, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 14 Miami, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 16 Washington, 7:35 p.m.
Sept. 17 Washington, 1:05 p.m.
Sept. 18 Washington, 1:35 p.m.
Sept. 19 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 20 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 21 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 23 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 24 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Miami, 1:10 p.m.
Sept. 27 Philadelphia, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 28 Philadelphia, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 29 Philadelphia, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 30 Detroit, 7:35 p.m.
Oct. 1 Detroit, 7:10 p.m.
Oct. 2 Detroit, 3:10 p.m.

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves are looking forward to a shiny new stadium and the bounty of a replenished farm system.

First, they must get through 2016.

Coming off a 95-loss season, their worst in a quarter-century, the Braves are likely to endure another difficult year while slogging through a major rebuilding job.

New general manager John Coppolella has largely accomplished the goal of hoarding top young talent, including an impressive trade with Arizona that brought in 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson. A farm system that ranked among the worst in baseball just a year ago is now considered one of the best.

The big league roster is filled with holes, however, from a woefully thin rotation to a glaring lack of power hitters.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez tried to sound optimistic.

“My expectation is for us to always be a playoff team, to get in there somehow,” he said. “A lot of stuff’s got to go right for us to do that, obviously.”

Back to reality.

The once-powerhouse franchise is clearly aiming toward a return to contention in 2017, when the Braves move into their new suburban home, SunTrust Park.

“I just know that last year what we went through was the start of a process, and this year we’re in the second year of that process,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “I’m sure there are people around who don’t believe we’re any good.”

Some things to watch for during what figures to be another long season in Atlanta:

FAR CRY FROM MADDUX, GLAVINE & SMOLTZ: During their heyday, the Braves were known for a starting rotation that included three Hall of Famers. Not anymore. Opening-day starter Julio Teheran is the only one to make more than 20 big league starts last season, and even he’s coming off a disappointing performance (11-8 with a 4.04 ERA). Bud Norris had a miserable showing with Baltimore and San Diego, going a combined 3-11 with a 6.72 ERA. The Braves are hoping he can regain a semblance of the form that made him a 15-game winner just two years ago, and that Matt Wisler can build on a promising rookie season (8-8, 4.71). After those three? Who knows? Expect a revolving-door rotation as Gonzalez looks for the hot hand.

CLOSER BY COMMITTEE: Arodys Vizcaino has the stuff to be a dominant closer, which he showed after taking over the job late last season. Jason Grilli is also in the mix after recovering from a torn Achilles’ tendon. He had 24 saves along with 45 strikeouts in 33 2-3 innings before going down just before the All-Star break. If the 38-year-old Grilli is healthy, he figures to get some save chances as well — if for no other reason than to enhance his trade value.

LOOKING FOR POP: The Braves will start the season with only two players who hit more than 10 homers last season, and one of those is backup outfielder Jeff Francoeur, who returns to the team where he began his career as a heralded prospect more than a decade ago. While Francoeur is a reminder of better times in Atlanta, Freddie Freeman (18 homers, 66 RBIs) is the only established power threat the Braves will send out every day this season. Atlanta is counting on a couple of Cuban defectors, third baseman Adonis Garcia and left fielder Hector Olivera, to add some pop to the lineup.

DOWN ON THE FARM: In keeping with the rebuilding theme, some of the most intriguing players in the organization will start the season in the minors. Swanson and slick-fielding Ozzie Albies look like the double-play combination of the not-too-distant future, while outfielder Mallex Smith was so impressive during spring training it’s going to be hard to keep him out of the majors much longer. The Braves also have plenty of young arms waiting in the wings, including Aaron Blair, Tyrell Jenkins, Sean Newcomb and Lucas Sims.

TURNER FIELD FINALE: The Braves will play their final season at the Ted, which didn’t even last through three presidential administrations. The 20-year-old stadium was the site of the 1999 World Series and numerous playoff games during the first half of its existence, but it will likely go out with a whimper. Except at the concession stands, where the team is planning to sell some truly outlandish fare in this farewell year — including the $26 “Burgerizza,” a 20-ounce hamburger topped with cheese and bacon, and served between two pepperoni pizzas!

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