01 Mar

play ball

Nice start for Austin Riley in Atlanta’s spring training opener against Tampa Bay. The former DeSoto Central High standout, playing third base and batting third, went 2-for-3 with an RBI. The Braves are counting on Riley to produce at third base with more consistency in his third MLB season. He hit .239 with eight homers last year and had a big bomb in the postseason. His career numbers are .232 and 26. “The thing that is encouraging about Austin is all the way through, since he’s been a pro, he’s made adjustments and figured things out,” Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters last week. “He’s gotten better every year.” … Ole Miss product Chris Ellis, in camp as a non-roster invitee, started that game for Tampa Bay and pitched a scoreless frame. Other spring debuts of note by Mississippians in the majors: Mitch Moreland got a hit in his first at-bat in an Oakland uniform. Hunter Renfroe went 0-for-2 in his first Boston appearance. Billy Hamilton, in the Cleveland lineup as the DH, went 0-for-1 with a walk and a run. Tim Anderson went 1-for-3 for the Chicago White Sox, and JaCoby Jones put up a 1-for-3 for Detroit. Jacob Lindgren registered two strikeouts in an inning of work for the White Sox. Ethan Small worked a clean inning and got a hold for Milwaukee. Grae Kessinger went 1-for-1 for Houston. Jacob Waguespack had a tough day for Toronto, yielding two home runs against the New York Yankees.