The Braves made the first cuts of the spring Friday, optioning three players and re-assigning 15.
Right-handed pitchers Aaron Northcraft and Wirfin Obispo and lefty Carlos Perez optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett, making them the only members of the 40-man roster affected so far.
Hard-throwing pitching prospects J.R. Graham and Jason Hursh and speedy center fielder Matt Lipka among those reassigned to minor league camp, along with left-handed pitcher Daniel Rodriguez, righties Lay Batista, Mark Lamm, Cody Martin and Yunesky Maya, catchers Matt Kennelly, Braeden Schlehuber Shae Simmons and Jose Yepes and infielders Mark Hamilton and Edward Salcedo.
Northcraft, who has yet to advance past Double-A, didn’t see any action in the Braves’ first 16 spring games.
Graham, who had earned his second invitation to the major league camp, appeared in four innings over five games with a 4.50 ERA, two strikeouts and two walks.
After leading the entire farm system in ERA in 2012, the right-hander suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last May. He was a dark horse candidate to make the 25-man roster this year, but with no experience above Double-A, he is likely headed to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Hursh, the team’s first-round draft pick last season out of Oklahoma State, saw action in three Grapefruit League games, fanning four withe three walks and a 3.60 ERA in five innings. After being selected the righty joined Class-A Rome, appearing in nine games.
Lipka impressed in this, the fourth spring he had been a non-roster invitee for, hitting .320/.414/.320 in 25 at-bats with four RBI and three steals. The 21 year old was with Class-A Advanced Lynchburg the last two seasons.