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FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2012, file photo, Detroit Tigers catcher Gerald Laird throws to first base against the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Detroit. The additions of B.J. and Justin Upton have commanded the Braves' offseason headlines, but Laird could be just as important to Atlanta in the season's opening weeks. Laird, who played with Detroit last season, likely will open the season at catcher while Brian McCann recovers from shoulder surgery. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

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Braves' Laird preparing to start

ATLANTA -- Gerald Laird is not letting anything interfere with his time getting to know the Braves' pitchers.. Laird said he turned down an invitation to represent Mexico in the World Baseball Classic because he needs to work with Atlanta's pitchers the full spring training. He even reported for informal

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