Greetings from AZ

Hi, my name is Jeff Lyman and I am a minor leaguer in the Atlanta Braves system.  I’m out here in Peoria Arizona playing for the Peoria Saguaros in the AZ fall league.  Games started this past week and we are currently 0-5, but we’ve played some good games and are starting to shake off some of the rust after taking a month off.
   All the players came into town about two weeks ago for a couple days of workouts to try and get prepared for the league and set up housing for the two months that we will be here.  I’m living in Phoenix with another player from the A’s, Sam Demel.   Since we play mostly day games, we have had a lot of opportunities to go out to dinner and there are plenty of cool places to eat.  Two of my teammates, Lee Hyde and Craig Kimbrel, went to In-N-Out Burger the other day for the first time and they both liked it, but all the CA guys (mostly me) may have hyped it up a bit too much.  I guess they are going to stick to Chick-fil-A.  
    We have a very talented team, but most of all it is a bunch of cool guys who get along really well.  That always makes going to the ball park more enjoyable. Jason Heyward is continuing to rake out here for the first week.  Brandon Hicks was really swinging the bat well at the end of the season in Mississippi and has carried it over to the AZFL.  Freddie Freeman has also swung the bat great, but has lined out hard several times.   This is definitely a hitter’s league and the pitchers are trying to make some adjustments early this fall season.  Mike Minor started the first game and looked good.  The starters are only going 2 or 3 innings at this point to build their arm strength back.  It’s tough to take a month off and then jump right back in.  We had thrown bullpens and live BP’s in Florida, but it’s difficult to simulate the adrenaline of a game.  I had to spot start our second game of the season last week because Zack Putnam had a stiff neck and couldn’t throw.  I threw fine and gave up one run in two innings.  I also threw last night and really struggled.  I just had no command of anything and was missing up in the zone, not a good combination.  But that’s why we are out here – to work on things and make adjustments.  Lee Hyde has looked lights out and is really gaining some confidence back in his arm after some setbacks from Tommy John surgery. Craig Kimbrel is still throwing a million miles per hour and is looking really good.
    For all the luck on the field that the Braves players have been having, it has been equally unlucky off the field.  Kimbrel, Minor and Hyde have had some minor housing issues and had to stay in a hotel for a couple extra nights.  Fortunately, they finally got it all figured out yesterday.  On top of that, Kimbrel got his car side swiped at an intersection while they were out looking for places to stay.  Everyone is fine, but now they are driving around in a rental.  If that’s not enough, Freddie was rear-ended yesterday at a stoplight (he is fine), but has to now go get his car fixed.  The drivers out here are crazy!
    All the guys have been playing a lot of golf and there are some awesome courses in the area.  Lee Hyde has been using my clubs and blames me for why he isn’t scoring like he usually does, but I don’t think the clubs are the problem.   
    Overall, things have been going great for everyone and we are all looking forward to the next month of baseball in Arizona.   I will try and do these about once a week so if anyone has any questions I will do my best to answer them



    Sounds like Fl. out there ,Drivers I mean. Hey it’s great to have someone like you keep us posted .Thank you . When you guys are out there are there stipulations in your contracts on what you can and cannot do ? Rock climbing or Motorcycle riding etc…


    Great blog! I’m adding a link to mine so my folks can keep up with you out there. Best of luck to you and the Braves!!

  3. millbelieve

    Are you guys always worried about mechanics or is that something you only worry about taking time off? Good luck to all the Braves players!

  4. norcalbravesfan

    Jeff I live in Danville and have watched your career since MVHS. I am a huge Braves fan so we are all wishing you the best. Have a great fall season and enjoy AZ. Go Braves! By the way, I am also an alumni of Vanderbilt so will be watching Mike’s career as well.

  5. laytonya

    So do they always try to put players from the same teams together or is it just a coincidence this year? Also, what do you think about the guys outside of our team that you’ve seen so far? Any players Braves fans should know about, like minor league players that could be playing for our divisional rivals soon?

  6. braves39

    Hey, Jeff thanks for doing this blog. Since the reg. season is over for us Braves fans, this gives us something to do and makes the offseason go by a little faster. Want to wish you all the best of luck out there and tell Jason to keep hitting like he has been, so that he can no doubt start the year with the big club next year. I think you all have great careers ahead of you, just keep up the good work and stay off the roads out there. Or take the back roads and keep away from the crazy drivers out there, lol.

    Bruce from Mobile, Al.

  7. jcs21689

    Jeff what are your feelings about playing with other prospects from organizations? Do they teach you some secrets to pitching against live hitters?

    You said you room with Sam Demel. I have seen him in the Cape Cod Baseball League

    Who is your favorite Braves player, and MLB Player growing up in California?

  8. The Braves' AFL Bloggers

    To answer some of the questions. Im pretty sure there is something in our contracts about doing stuff like that. But for the most part I dont think you will catch any of the playersriding motorcycles or skydiving.

    We are always working on mechanics. No one has perfect mechanics so we are constantly making adjustments.

    Its not set up where players from the same organizations live together but thats usually how it works out bc those are the ppl that we know best.

    Its been great playing with guys from other organizations bc you get to hear about different teams and how other organizations work. We all usually share insights on facing hitters and the hitters do the same with pitchers they face.


    Hey Jeff, Lee’s grandpaw bill here. don’t listen to him about the faulty golf clubs. Every time we play he complains about something, wind in his hair, thick fog, slick tee-box, birds chirping while he’s swinging. can’t wait for him to get home for this 70 year old to wax him again. His nickname is shank-a-potimus, inside secret! you guys have fun.


    Hi jeff, What was your favorite thing to do this year in mississippi, was it getting sent back and fourth to and from Gwinnett, or when they put you on the danville roster. How about when you went that one stretch where you didnt pitch for about 9 days. I kept up on your stats. Im glad your finally getting a chance to pitch now. And one more question, who is your favorite little rascal, is it alfalfa or is it spanky

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