THOMASVILLE — Thomasville’s own Hurston Waldrep took the mound on Saturday afternoon for the Atlanta Braves in their spring training game against The Toronto Blue Jays. Under the sun in Dunedin, Florida, Waldrep and the Braves pitching staff had a solid outing.

Turning heads

TURNING HEADS: Hurston Waldrep and his nasty splitter are getting a lot of attention in Spring Training.

Combined, the seven Atlanta pitchers who appeared recorded 11 strikeouts and allowed six hits.

The Braves starter Reynaldo Lopez, who was with the Angels before signing a three year deal with Atlanta in November of 2023, picked up the win. He pitched three innings, recording three strikeouts and giving up just two hits.

Waldrep was the third Braves pitcher to take the mound after Ken Giles’ single inning outing. He pitched two full innings, the second most in the game behind Lopez, and had an impressive performance. Waldrep entered the game with a 3-0 lead and, depsite walking two batters, held the Blue Jays to zero hits and zero runs. The Thomasville native’s first victim was Blue Jays catcher Danny Janson, who is currently holding a .228 batting average. Waldrep struck him out looking.

Later, in the bottom of the sixth, Waldrep faced right fielder Garrett Spain and struck him out in three pitchers. He showed off his famous splitter, throwing the pitch back-to-back down and away to send Spain packing.

Waldrep’s two inning performance was short, but turned quite a few heads. He touched 98.9 on a four-seam fastball, the first pitch he threw in the game and his splitter was on full display. In just two innings Waldrep threw the splitter 16 times out of 34 pitches. He threw eight strikes, six balls and got three whiffs on the pitch. Only one of his 16 splitters was put into play, a pop out to right field by Toronto’s third baseman Eduardo Escobar.

It’s clear that the Braves love Waldrep, especially his splitter. Braves director of amateur scouting Ronit Shah spoke with after the draft and said, “The splitter might be the best secondary pitch in the whole draft for us.”

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