When the Atlanta Braves and Braves Future Stars meet Saturday in an exhibition game at Trustmark Park in Pearl, there not only will be present and future stars, but there will also be one Braves Hall of Famer in the dugout — manager Bobby Cox.
Cox, who managed the Atlanta Braves for 25 years, leading them to five National League pennants and one World Series title, will manage the Future Stars — a group of 23 players considered to be Atlanta’s rising stars from its minor league system. He is a member of the Braves Hall of Fame, and is likely only a couple of years away from the Major League Hall of Fame. His career record, including four years with Toronto, is 2,504-2,001.
Saturday’s 2:05 p.m. game is sold out.
The Future Stars will face an Atlanta team that made the playoffs as a wild card team last season, and are led by Jason Heyward, Brian McCann, Justin and B.J. Upton and Craig Kimbrel.
The Future Stars includes 10 players who are expected to begin this season with the Mississippi Braves: Returning pitchers J.R. Graham, Mark Lamm, and Chasen Shreve, catchers Christian Bethancourt and Braeden Schlehuber, second-baseman Phil Gosselin, and newcomer pitchers Ryne Harper and Gus Schlosser and Alex Wood, and third baseman Edward Salcedo.
Graham, one of the Braves top prospects, went 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA in nine starts for the M-Braves last season. Lamm led the M-Braves staff with 10 saves.
Harper, Salcedo, Schlosser and Shreve were on the 2012 Carolina League championship-winning Lynchburg Hillcats. Wood was Braves second-round draft pick last season. Salcedo was selected as an Organization All-Star by MiLB.com.
Former M-Braves left-handed pitcher Sean Gilmartin is the lone Gwinnett representative on the Future Stars pitching staff.
The team also includes outfielders Todd Cunningham and Joe Terdoslavich, who posted .309 and .315 batting averages respectively with the M-Braves last year.
Rounding out the Future Stars pitching staff and representing Lynchburg is right-hander Nate Hyatt. First baseman William Beckwith, second baseman Ross Heffley, shortstop Elmer Reyes, third baseman Kyle Kubitza and outfielders Robby Hefflinger and Matt Lipka are expected to start the season with Lynchburg. Catcher Tyler Tewell, shortstop Jose Peraza and outfielder Josh Elander could begin the year in Rome.
Former M-Brave Mike Minor is scheduled to start for the A-Braves Saturday.
Gates open at 11 a.m. The Future Stars are scheduled to take the field at 11:35 a.m. and the Atlanta Braves take batting practice at 12:25 p.m.