G-BRAVES NOTES: Durango, Parraz making good early impressions

Luis Durango and Jordan Parraz, expected to be part of Gwinnett's new-look outfield this season, got off to hot starts in major league camp with Atlanta.

Durango was 4-for-7 with four walks in early Grapefruit League games and Parraz was 3-for-6.

Durango, 25, is a switch-hitter from Panama who has played briefly in the majors with San Diego and Houston. Parraz, 27, is a right-handed batter who went to spring training with Kansas City in 2010 and the Yankees last year.

Both were signed by the Braves as minor league free agents. Durango played most of last season in the Pacific Coast League with Tucson and Oklahoma City. Parraz spent last year with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the International League, batting .289.

In contrast to the hot starts of Durango and Parraz, fellow outfielders Jose Contanza and Stefan Gartrell got off to slow starts in exhibition games as they tried to impress the Braves. Contanza was 1-for-10 and Gartrell 1-for-8.

Contanza, on the Atlanta 40-man roster, hit .303 after being promoted from Gwinnett last season. Gartrell set the G-Braves home run record last year, going deep 26 times for the season and driving in 94 runs.

Atlanta utility job up for grabs

With veteran infielder Jack Wilson likely headed for the disabled list, Braves newcomer Drew Sutton is a strong candidate to start the season with Atlanta rather than Gwinnett.

Sutton, 28, hit .295 with Pawtucket in the International League last season and .315 in 54 at-bats with Boston, where he filled in at all four infield spots.

Signed as a minor league free agent, the right-handed hitter got off to a good start with Atlanta in Grapefruit League play. He was 4-for-10 with a triple and two walks.

Tyler Pastornicky, being counted on to be the Braves' shortstop as a rookie, was struggled in early exhibition games with just two hits in his first 19 at-bats. The 22-year-old hit .365 with the G-Braves last season after batting .299 with Class AA Mississippi.

Carter signs to play in Japan

Chris Carter, who had his 2011 season with Gwinnett cut short by a knee injury that required surgery, has signed to play in Japan with the Seibu Lions.

The left-handed hitting outfielder batted .334 with four homers and 17 RBIs in 23 games with the G-Braves before his season ended in mid-July. He had started the year by hitting .270 with 10 homers and 46 RBIs in 54 games for rival Durham in the International League.

Carter, 29, played with the New York Mets in 2010, batting .263 with four homers and 24 RBIs in 180 plate appearances. He joined the Mets as the player to be named later in the late-2009 deal for Billy Wagner.

Travel team gets new name

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees will be re-branded the Empire State Yankees this season as they play 60 of their "home" games in New York cities while their stadium is rebuilt in Pennsylvania.

Construction has not yet begun pending the sale of the International League team. The stands at PNC Field are scheduled to be redone, with the upper deck eliminated.

The Yankees will play 37 games in Rochester, 10 in Syracuse, six in Buffalo and seven in Batavia, N.Y., which has a team in the Class A New York-Penn League team. The G-Braves will face the Yankees in Rochester.