published Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Atlanta Braves split squads both fall

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Freddie Gonzalez is waiting for the Braves to break out for a big inning.

They got the hits Friday, not the results.

Martin Prado had two doubles among his three hits and Jason Heyward had two hits for an Atlanta split squad in a 5-3 loss to the New York Mets.

Dan Uggla and Brian McCann each had an RBI for the Braves. Combined with their other split squad losing to the New York Yankees, Atlanta is 1-7 this spring.

"We've been getting on base," the Braves manager said. "Now we just need to put a crooked number up. We keep putting those ones up and we need to put up a two- or a three-spot. That'll come. I'm not worried."

The Braves did get a boost from Chipper Jones, who returned to the Braves' lineup after missing the last five games with stiffness in his thighs. Jones called Gonzalez Thursday night at 8:30 -- after the manager had gone to bed -- to inform him that he felt he was ready to play.

Jones went 0-for-2 with a walk but looked good defensively and reported no problems physically.

Braves starter Randall Delgado, competing for Atlanta's last rotation spot, allowed two runs and three hits in three innings in his second start of the spring. In his first start, he gave up four runs in one inning.

"That's a good sign when you can see a kid respond through a little bit of adversity," Gonzalez said. "I thought he was good. Even though he got himself in some trouble there. He was missing down, and when you're missing down that's a good sign."

New York right-hander Dillon Gee, who entered spring training in the Mets' rotation after last year's impressive rookie campaign, allowed two runs and five hits in three innings.

He threw mostly cutters while focusing on getting inside of left-handers, which the Braves have five of, including switch-hitters.

"That was the main goal -- work the cutter inside of lefties and get that location down," said Gee, who allowed one run in two innings in his first spring start on March 5.

Gee felt like he wore down through 2011, so he's hoping a full spring in the Mets' rotation will be good for his body.

"I felt OK," he said. "I think I'm still getting adjusted to sitting down and going back out, sitting down and going back out. It would take m a few throws to feel like I was loose again. But other than that I felt alright."

Ronny Cedeno put the Mets up early with a two-run single, and Matt Den Dekker broke a 3-all tie with a two-run double in the eighth inning.

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