Spring struggles land Gartrell back with G-Braves

KISSIMMEE, Fla. Ron Gartrell's look as a minor league invitee to Braves major league spring training didn't last all that long. Going 1-for-8 in the Grapefruit League with three strikeouts quickly determined his fate.

The outfielder was one of five players sent to minor league camp on Wednesday as Atlanta trimmed its spring training roster to 50.

Gartrell, 28, led the International League in RBIs last season and was second in homers, setting a Gwinnett record in the process.

The right-handed hitter was claimed by the Braves on waivers from the Chicago White Sox early last season and combined for 26 homers and 93 RBIs with Charlotte and the G-Braves. He also had 32 doubles and batted .260 with 118 strikeouts and 44 walks.

Gartrell was selected for the International League team in the AAA All-Star Game and won the home run derby at Salt Lake City.

Gartrell's only hit in Grapefruit League action and it was a single. But he did draw two walks and was hit by pitches twice, giving him a .416 on-base percentage.

In the Braves' other roster moves, right-hander Erik Cordier was optioned to Gwinnett and fellow pitcher Jason Rice, catcher Matt Kennelly and outfielder Todd Cunningham sent to minor league camp for assignment.

Cordier, a starter with the G-Braves last year, is being converted to a reliever. He pitched in four Grapefruit League games and had a 2.08 ERA in 4 innings, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out three.

Rice, a right-handed reliever signed as a minor league free agent, pitched 4 innings in four Grapefruit League games and had a 10.38 ERA. He struck out four, but walked three and hit two batters.

Kennelly was 0-for-4 and Cunningham was 0-for-9. Both are expected to start the season with Class AA Mississippi.

On Tuesday, infielder Brandon Hicks was claimed off waivers by Oakland. Hicks hit 18 homers for the G-Braves last season, but was 1-for-10 with the Braves in Grapefruit League play this spring.