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Brave words: Tuesday, Feb. 24

Interesting quotes from Atlanta's Spring Training

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It was relatively quiet around Champion Stadium on Tuesday, though it's sure to be busier when the rest of the Braves' full squad reports on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, young left-hander Manny Banuelos was among the pitchers who threw side sessions in the bullpen. He's also one of several pitchers competing for the fifth spot in the Braves' rotation. And third baseman Chris Johnson pondered how a small-ball approach might benefit the Braves.

These primary stories are published on But below are some of the other interesting thoughts that were expressed during the fourth day of workouts for Atlanta's pitchers and catchers.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez on the first few days of camp

"I've been really impressed with the entire group of our pitchers. I think we've got, as a whole, a pitching staff [with] some pretty good arms. We really do -- young guys and a mixture of veteran guys. ... Overall, I'm really, really happy with the pitching situation. It's Feb. 24, but there's some good talent out there."

Johnson on how a small-ball approach might help this season

"It's definitely something you've got to work on. The last couple years, we've been going up there trying to hit home runs and trying to have that big inning that way. Now we'll try to take a run here, take a run there. If we can score a couple runs every couple innings, we'll be in good shape."

Banuelos on his initial return from Tommy John surgery last spring

"Early last year, I felt good. But I remember my first outing after Tommy John was in big league camp. I was like, 'What?' That was hard for me. Now, it feels much better because I pitched all year."

Gonzalez on making sure nobody competing for a job puts too much pressure on himself to perform this early in Spring Training

"That's why I like to not spend too much time [in one place]. I kind of move around. Then, the other way around: Make sure they see me watching them, because they're going to go back and say, 'The manager never saw me!' ... It's a balancing act."

Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.
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