Braves release Kendrick, Volstad, option top prospects in latest moves
The race for the final spots in the Braves' rotation lost its first contender, as veteran right-hander Kyle Kendrick was released Saturday.
Along with Kendrick, reliever Chris Volstad was also given his unconditional release, and a number of the top-tier prospects were removed from the major league camp.
Pitchers Danny Burawa, Tyrell Jenkins and Casey Kelly and infielder Daniel Castro were all optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett, Mauricio Cabrera was sent to Double-A Mississippi. The Braves also sent seven players to minor league camp in pitchers Chris Ellis, Madison Younginer, David Holmberg and Sean Newcomb, infielders Chase d'Arnaud, Nate Frieman and Rio Ruiz.
The Braves now have 49 players in camp.
Kendrick, a nine-year veteran, who was coming off a dismal season with the Rockies -- 6.32 ERA and a MLB-high 33 home runs allowed -- gave up 14 hits and 10 runs (nine earned) in 3 2/3 spring starts with the Braves.
Volstad, who has seven seasons under his belt, had his own issues, getting tagged for eight hits and 10 runs in 2 2/3 innings.
Of those optioned, Newcomb is the second-rated player in FOXSportsSouth.com's composite rankings -- Ellis is 16th and Ruiz is 17th -- but Jenkins and Castro were those believed to be in competition for spots on the MLB roster.
The organization's reigning Minor League Pitcher of the Year after going 8-9 with a 3.19 ERA and 88 strikeouts with Mississippi and Gwinnett and 12th in the rankings, Jenkins had a 3.86 ERA this spring in 2 1/3 innings.
Castro, who in 33 games last season in Atlanta and hit .240/.263/.344 in 100 plate appearances, had a .333 average in 12 spring at-bats, striking out twice.