Youthful Braves bring optimism to spring training

Feb. 13, 2014 (AP)-- Fredi Gonzalez is bringing optimism and a roster packed with talented, young players to Florida for spring training.

The Braves' manager has good reason to be excited about his team's foundation of young stars. The list of key players no older than 26 includes Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Craig Kimbrel, Andrelton Simmons, Justin Upton, Julio Teheran and Mike Minor.

The Braves, who won the NL East in 2013, took big steps toward keeping the team together by signing Freeman and Heyward to contract extensions this month. Gonzalez was so happy he sounded like he was ready to make a big prediction before he simply said his 2014 team will be competitive.

The Braves open spring training on Friday when pitchers and catchers have their first workout in Kissimmee, Fla.

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