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Adams, Kazmir among Braves on roster bubble

Makeup of early-season squad will depend on how many starters club carries
MLB.com @mlbbowman

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- One month into camp and a little more than two weeks from the start of the regular season, the Braves' projected Opening Day roster has been altered by Luiz Gohara's health and the possibility the club will go through the season's first couple of weeks carrying just four starting pitchers.

Rule 5 Draft pick Anyelo Gomez's candidacy for a spot in Atlanta's bullpen took a hit when he surrendered four runs over two innings of Tuesday's 13-6 loss to the Blue Jays. But he stands with outfielder Lane Adams and veteran starter Scott Kazmir as just a few of the candidates who have time to make a strong push toward earning a roster spot.

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- One month into camp and a little more than two weeks from the start of the regular season, the Braves' projected Opening Day roster has been altered by Luiz Gohara's health and the possibility the club will go through the season's first couple of weeks carrying just four starting pitchers.

Rule 5 Draft pick Anyelo Gomez's candidacy for a spot in Atlanta's bullpen took a hit when he surrendered four runs over two innings of Tuesday's 13-6 loss to the Blue Jays. But he stands with outfielder Lane Adams and veteran starter Scott Kazmir as just a few of the candidates who have time to make a strong push toward earning a roster spot.

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With two scheduled off-days within the first eight days of the regular season, the Braves may not need to carry five starting pitchers before April 10. I use the word "may" because the first road trip begins with a three-game series at Coors Field, which has been the site of a few April snowouts.

If the Braves choose to go through the first 10 games of the season carrying four starters, they will have the option to carry an additional position player or reliever within this span. I'm projecting they'll open the season with an extra position player, but manager Brian Snitker could opt to flip to an extra pitcher when his club heads to Denver for that early three-game set.

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The ultimate decision could be influenced by a number of different variables, including the acquisition of a player who could become available once other teams start paring their own rosters. But for now, here is my latest projected roster and how it compares to what I projected before camp opened.

Infielders (5): Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Johan Camargo, Charlie Culberson

Pre-camp Projection: Same

Camargo has proven he is more than capable to handle third base. Culberson, who is out of Minor League options, provides versatility that will prove even more valuable once the Braves get through the first couple of weeks and then go through most of the rest of the season with a 13-man pitching staff and a four-man bench.

Video: TOR@ATL: Freeman hits first homer of the spring

Christian Colon will factor into the roster conversation, and using full disclosure, I actually originally wrote this graph with him being placed on the Opening Day roster. But once I got down to the outfielders, I couldn't justify carrying him instead of Dustin Peterson. Both Peterson and Colon are non-roster invitees, which means their addition would necessitate a 40-man roster move. But there will be some maneuverability with a guy like left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren, who might be placed on the 60-day disabled list.

Catchers (2): Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki

Pre-camp projection: Same

Chris Stewart was signed to a non-guaranteed Major League deal at the start of camp. There is a chance the Braves could carry Stewart as an extra position player until there is a need to fill the rotation with five starters. But there seem to be better options than going with a guy whose primary purpose would be to make it easier to give Suzuki or Flowers some pinch-hit at-bats during that early 10-game stretch.

Outfielders (6): Ender Inciarte, Nick Markakis, Ezequiel Carrera, Danny Santana, Preston Tucker and Peterson

Pre-camp projection: Inciarte, Markakis, Santana, Tucker and Adams

Check back on April 13 or later to find Ronald Acuna Jr.'s name on Atlanta's roster. Until the top prospect makes his much-anticipated debut, some combination of Peterson, Carrera, Santana and Tucker will fill the left-field spot. Carrera, who signed a Minor League deal on Tuesday, and Tucker are left-handed hitters who can be described as potential defensive liabilities. If the Braves carry Santana, Tucker and Peterson, they'll need to create three 40-man spots immediately and then be prepared to open another when Acuna arrives. But there are seemingly a couple of pitchers who could be removed and thus far, Ryan Schimpf hasn't done enough to maintain his roster spot.

Video: TOR@ATL: Acuna mashes home run to right center field

Adams came to camp projected to platoon in left field with Tucker. But his strikeout rate during the Grapefruit League season has put him in danger of being another option to be removed from the 40-man roster.

Rotation (4): Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz, Brandon McCarthy and Kazmir

Pre-camp projection: Teheran, Foltynewicz, McCarthy, Sean Newcomb and Gohara

Newcomb has solidified a spot within the rotation, but because he has Minor League options remaining, he may need to make a couple of starts for Triple-A Gwinnett while Kazmir fills the fourth spot in the rotation.

Bullpen (8): Arodys Vizcaino, A.J. Minter, Jose Ramirez, Sam Freeman, Dan Winkler, Peter Moylan, Anyelo Gomez, Aaron Blair

Pre-camp prediction: Vizcaino, Minter, Ramirez, Freeman, Winkler, Lucas Sims, Rex Brothers, Blair

Moylan has earned his place since signing a non-guaranteed deal after camp opened and Gomez has shown enough potential to at least give him a mulligan after Tuesday's outing. Blair maintains a spot as the projected long reliever. But he will likely share this role throughout the season with Sims and Matt Wisler, who also can be switched back and forth between the Atlanta and Gwinnett rosters.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves