LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Though Andrelton Simmons has shown steady improvement since reporting to Spring Training with a sore left oblique muscle, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he plans to take the precautionary route by not playing Simmons during the first few games of Spring Training.
Gonzalez is still not sure when Nick Markakis might be cleared to play in Grapefruit League games, but he said he is still hoping the right fielder will be in the Opening Day lineup. Markakis, who underwent neck surgery in December, has spent the past few days going through a variety of running exercises. However, he still has not participated in the regular workouts with his teammates.
Below are some of the interesting thoughts that have recently been expressed in Braves camp:
Gonzalez on Simmons, who has increased the effort level of the throws he has made during infield drills the past few days:
"He's just going by tolerance, and little by little. We've probably got him on a little bit of a restraint, because if you let him go a little bit, he's going to go crazy. So we've got him locked down a little bit."
Gonzalez's playful response when asked if he has told Simmons he will not be playing during the early days of Spring Training:
"I haven't told him yet, but he's not going to be playing the first few games. You can tell him, because he's probably going to get [angry] at me."
Former pitcher Steve Avery (a guest instructor this week) on the benefit of adding strong clubhouse veterans like Jonny Gomes and Jason Grilli:
"It doesn't take too many guys to make guys accountable and teach young guys what is acceptable. The Braves have always policed their clubhouse pretty tough. They want a certain kind of guy to play for them. If you don't fit that mold, they don't keep you around long."
Alex Wood, after recently seeing that Tom Glavine completed 200 innings in 14 different seasons:
"That's impossible. It would be one thing to play for 14 years, much less throw 200-plus innings that many times during your career. That's incredible."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.