TAMPA, Fla. -- Spring Training games don't count.
Sometimes, that can be difficult for fans to remember. And, sure, after being knocked out of contention in the final game last regular season, the Braves would love to be tearing up the Grapefruit League.
Instead, they're 1-7 after dropping both of their split-squad games on Friday, 3-0 to the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field and 5-3 to the Mets in the home game at Champion Stadium.
That's when it's helpful to remember that Spring Training games don't count -- especially the first week, when the regulars don't play every day, and then usually just a few innings.
"We don't like to lose, either," said catcher David Ross. "I'm not hitting the panic button. We're competitive people. We like to win. But it's about keeping guys healthy and getting everybody ready. The last thing you want to do is run a bunch of people out there and get them hurt. We're competing. We've lost a couple, but as long as we're playing good, close games, that's fine."
The Braves are also hitting .213 as a team. Bench coach Carlos Tosca, who managed the game against the Yankees, pointed out that Chipper Jones has barely played and that Freddie Freeman's timing is off after he was sidelined with a sore right knee.
"It's Spring Training," Tosca said. "Yeah, we'd like to win some games, absolutely. We're a little sideways right now offensively. But they're grinding out at-bats and we're just not getting results. We hit some balls hard. They're just not falling right now."
Back in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Jones agreed.
"I don't care how we're swinging it the first week -- I care how we're swinging it the last five or six games," Jones said. "That's what is important to me. If these guys take three or four weeks to get going, that's OK, as long as they get going before April gets here."
Chipper talks his way back to hot corner
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Fredi Gonzalez was pleased when Chipper Jones sent him a text message around 8:30 p.m. ET on Thursday night to inform the Braves manager he was ready to return to the starting lineup on Friday. But Gonzalez playfully said that in the future, he would like Jones to provide this information a little earlier.
"He said, 'I'm good,' Gonzalez said, in reference to the text. "I said, 'Good; you're in there. Thanks for waking me up.'"
Gonzalez had Jones slotted as a designated hitter for Friday's split-squad game against the Mets. But after arriving at the park, the 39-year-old veteran told his manager he was ready to play third base and shake off some of the rust that had developed as he had missed the previous five games because of soreness in the upper portion of his right leg.
"I want to get some reps on defense," Jones said. "I don't want to lose touch with the speed of the game. I hate [being a DH], too. There's no better way to get me to go 0-for-3 than to put me at DH."
Jones went hitless in two at-bats and exited after drawing a walk against former Braves teammate Chuck James in the seventh inning. His legs did not appear to be a problem, as he was forced to dive to his left for a hot grounder in the second inning.
"We'll see [on Saturday], because he went four or five days without playing," Gonzalez said. "So he'll be a little sore. He played seven innings defensively. So I'll check with it and see how he feels. I'm sure it will be just normal baseball soreness."
Hanson already familiar with adjustment
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- There will be plenty of eyes on Tommy Hanson when the right-hander displays his altered delivery during his Grapefruit League debut against the Blue Jays at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon.
Hanson tweaked his delivery in January to lessen the strain on his right shoulder and to address his weakness against potential basestealers. He was unable to throw for a little more than a week after suffering a mild concussion in a Feb. 20 auto accident, but after throwing two batting-practice sessions this week, Hanson does not seem concerned about the delivery.
"It's not the 'new' delivery anymore," Hanson said. "I've been doing it for a while. So it doesn't feel new anymore. It feels like I've been doing it. So I wouldn't say I'm anxious to try out the new delivery. I'm just anxious to get out there and pitch again."
Sunday will mark the first time Hanson has pitched in a competitive setting since his shoulder discomfort sidelined him after his Aug. 6 start against the Mets. The 25-year-old pitcher did not experience any problems with his shoulder as he completed six bullpen sessions before coming to Spring Training.
Venters' dominance reaches new heights
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Brandon Beachy approached the Braves' clubhouse shaking his head in disbelief after watching Jonny Venters record three strikeouts in a perfect sixth inning during Friday's 5-3 loss to the Mets, who did not make contact with any of the pitches thrown by the Braves left-handed reliever.
"That one might be the best [inning] ever," Venters said with a laugh. "I'm not really worried about results right now. I'm trying to feel out my mechanics and get to feeling comfortable again. Fortunately, today was a good day."
Each of Atlanta's top three relievers was successful on Friday while making his second appearance of the spring. Eric O'Flaherty recorded two strikeouts and pitched around two singles in a scoreless fifth inning. After Venters worked his magic in the sixth, closer Craig Kimbrel pitched around a walk in a scoreless seventh inning.
Fans planning to attend Saturday afternoon's 1:05 ET game against the Yankees are encouraged to allow at least an additional 30 minutes for traffic. ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex will be hosting many other events, including a cheerleading competition that will draw large crowds.
Martin Prado recorded a pair of ground-rule doubles and capped a three-hit game with an eighth-inning single against the Mets. Prado entered Friday hitless in his previous seven at-bats.
Robert Fish, acquired in December's Rule 5 Draft, allowed two earned runs and three hits while facing six batters in the eighth inning of Friday's game against the Mets. If Fish does not make the Opening Day roster, the Braves must offer him back to the Angels at a price of $25,000.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.