MLB stars show up early to Braves spring training in Kissimmee

By Despina Barton, Spectrum Sports
Last Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2017, 5:15 PM EST

After three straight losing seasons for the Atlanta Braves, the team is more optimistic than ever heading into spring training.

In the offseason, the Braves gave the roster a facelift, replacing three-fifths of its rotation.

The team looking at the big picture and plan to build off its regular season finish with winning 20 of their last 30 games.

“It starts with the coaching staff. When you come in everybody’s happy, ready to go and excited. It just rubs off on us,” first baseman Freddie Freeman said.

“And you know we have such new guys — veteran guys — that want to get back to the playoffs. We want to get the Atlanta Braves back to how they were in the '90s and early 2000s.”

Position guys are not required to report to spring training until Friday, but Freddie Freeman and outfielders Matt Kemp and gold glove winner Ender Inciarte all showed up early.

“Yeah, everybody is getting ready,” Inciarte said of arriving Thursday.  “They want to get some work in before spring really starts so we are all really here already and want to get ready for what’s coming.”

And there was a clear common theme circulating the club house.

“Everybody is pulling for the same thing, and that is winning games,” Inciarte explained. “I feel like everybody here knows that we have a pretty good team now.”

“The way we finished last year showed how good we can be and the additions that we added for this year is going to make the team even better,” outfielder Matt Kemp said “I am so excited to see what is to come and if we stay healthy we are going to be a team that can beat a lot of teams.”

Now this is the 20th season the Braves have spent in Central Florida. They have one more year on the deal before they are expected to pick up and move to Sarasota.

The first team spring practice is on Saturday, and the first game is on Feb. 25 against Toronto.