LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As Dale Murphy watched the Braves take batting practice before Friday's Spring Training opener at Champion Stadium, he was reminded that he will be pretty close to the plate when he serves as Team USA's first base coach in this year's World Baseball Classic.
"I was looking down at that first base coaching box and thinking that isn't that far away for an old man," the 56-year-old Murphy said with a laugh.
Still one of the most beloved players in Atlanta history, Murphy will handle double duties through the first four games of the Braves' Grapefruit League schedule. He will don the uniform to serve as a guest instructor during batting practice. Once the game begins, he will be in the press box providing analysis on the radio broadcast.
Murphy's baseball tour will take him back to his Utah home early next week and then to Phoenix a few days later for the start of Team USA's training camp. He is hoping to remain on the road until the Classic finals are played in San Francisco on March 19.
The U.S. team will be managed by Joe Torre, who served as Atlanta's manager when Murphy won his consecutive National League Most Valuable Player Awards in 1982 and '83. Other former Braves on the staff include pitching coach Greg Maddux and hitting coach Gerald Perry.
"It's going to be a really neat experience," Murphy said of being on the U.S. coaching staff. "I haven't been in that capacity for years. When Joe asked me to do it, I couldn't be more excited. The guys are excited and the players are excited. We want to do better. We want to compete. It's going to be fun. I'm really looking forward to it."
Kimbrel, Hudson escape tough jams in opener
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Craig Kimbrel and Tim Hudson might have shown a hint of rust during the 2-1 loss the Braves suffered to the Tigers in Friday's Grapefruit League opener at Champion Stadium. Or maybe they wanted to be reminded of what it felt like to pitch out of a jam.
Hudson cruised through a perfect seven-pitch first inning, and then began the second inning by walking Prince Fielder and hitting Victor Martinez with a two-strike fastball that simply did not cut enough. But the Braves veteran responded by inducing consecutive groundballs, including one that resulted in a double play.
"I felt all right," Hudson said. "It's always good to get the first one out of the way. I didn't blow anything out and I didn't limp off the mound. So that's always a good day."
Once Hudson completed his two-inning debut, Kimbrel experienced the oddity of entering the game in third inning. The Braves' dominant closer opened his one-inning appearance by missing the strike zone with eight of the first 12 pitches he threw. But after issuing consecutive walks, he went through the top of Detroit's lineup unscathed.
"It takes a while," Kimbrel said. "It's a long year. That's what Spring Training is for, to get down here and get in the swing of things. After you take a couple months off, it's pretty hard to pick it up right where you were."
Kimbrel was able to get his competitive juices flowing when reigning American League Most Valuable Player Miguel Cabrera came to the plate with two outs and two runners on base. He fell behind with a 3-1 count and then got Cabrera to ground a 96-mph fastball directly toward Andrelton Simmons, who threw to first to end the inning.
Kimbrel said the matchup might have been a preview of a matchup he could encounter if the United States and Venezuela meet during the World Baseball Classic.
"You always want to be in a good competitive situation," Kimbrel said. "I might be seeing him in a couple of weeks. It might be a different situation than it is now. But I was just happy to get through the inning and get my work in."
Terdoslavich looking for a home in Atlanta
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When Joey Terdoslavich reported to his first big league camp last year, he was being touted as a candidate to replace Chipper Jones as Atlanta's starting third baseman. Now, he is a former third baseman attempting to learn how to play the outfield and prove his bat can carry him to the Majors.
Terdoslavich garnered some attention on Friday when his ninth-inning home run accounted for the only run the Braves scored in a 2-1 loss to the Tigers at Champion Stadium. The homer was one of just six hits totaled by the hosts in their Grapefruit League opener.
The Braves were held hitless until Freddie Freeman opened the fifth inning with a single. It appeared they might be destined for a shutout loss before Terdoslavich took Jose Alvarez deep over the left field wall.
Terdoslavich hit 20 home runs while playing for Class A Advanced Lynchburg in 2011, but he struggled after the Braves opted to allow him to make the jump to Triple-A Gwinnett at the start of last year. After two months of frustration defensively and offensively, he was sent to Double-A Mississippi, where he hit .315 with five home runs and a .852 OPS.
While at Mississippi, Terdoslavich played just six games at third base. The decision to move him across the diamond to first base seemed to reduce some stress and focus on his offensive approach. Now, he will increase his defensive options by learning to play the outfield.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.