E.A. Sports Today

Door open for Cunningham?

Braves’ moves could be boon to Cunningham

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

With all the moves the Atlanta Braves have been making this offseason to revamp their ball club, this could be a very interesting spring training for Todd Cunningham.

Since they were last on the field, the Braves have traded both their corner outfielders and are on the verge of trading one of the pieces that was in the mix to replace them.

They moved Jason Heyward to the Cardinals, Justin Upton to the Padres and now, according to reports, have agreed to trade Evan Gattis to Houston for prospects.

Gattis was believed headed to left field with the Braves’ acquisition of A.J. Pierzynski. The trade with the Astros, the paper said, was contingent on completing physicals and Gattis reportedly was in Texas for that purpose Wednesday.

With all that movement and available spots, this could be the best chance of his career for Jacksonville’s Cunningham to land a permanent spot on the roster.

“Obviously they have been building the farm system and seems to be pitching heavy,” Cunningham told East Alabama Sports Today Wednesday. “Trading big-name guys who have been in the outfield is definitely exciting for me because any open spot to compete for a job is another opportunity. And in this game an opportunity is all one can ask for.

“I’ll train just as hard as I have every year because playing in the big leagues has always been the goal. Nothing changes for me but it will be exciting to be in the mix of guys competing for open spots.”

Cunningham, a second-round draft pick in 2010, has been up with the big club before. He appeared in eight games in 2013 with two hits in eight at-bats. He played 120 games at Triple-A Gwinett last season.

He recently returned from the Dominican winter league where he was said to have had a strong second half of the trip.



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