LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Count Braves left-hander Paul Maholm among the many Major Leaguers who would not object to the regular season starting this upcoming week. Maholm extended his recent success by allowing just two singles over six scoreless innings in Saturday's 4-0 win over the Yankees at Champion Stadium.
Since allowing five runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Phillies on Feb. 28, Maholm has worked 14 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Things are going so well that he ended Saturday's outing with a 59-mph eephus pitch that Ben Francisco looked at for strike three.
"That last pitch, I think he just made that one up at the end," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
After struggling through the start against the Phillies and issuing four walks in 3 2/3 innings against the Yankees on March 5, Maholm focused on finding comfort by slowing down his delivery. His efforts have proved beneficial as he tossed five scoreless innings against the Nationals' regular lineup on Monday and then extended his success through Saturday's outing against a split-squad Yankees lineup.
"You can feel great in the spring, and then all of a sudden, game time gets here and it all goes [away]," Maholm said. "I'm going to work in between and try and get the rhythm and feeling and carry it over as long as I possibly can."
Prospect Graham reassigned to Minors camp
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- J.R. Graham made one last solid impression by tossing two scoreless innings in Saturday night's 4-0 win over the Yankees at Champion Stadium. After the game, the Braves reassigned the highly regarded pitching prospect to Minor League camp.
Proving up to the challenge of performing in his first big league camp, Graham surrendered six hits and did not allow a run in nine Grapefruit League innings. The 23-year-old hard-throwing right-hander, who is ranked as the Braves' No. 4 overall prospect by MLB.com, issued two walks in his debut and just one more in his final eight innings.
"We saw him earlier pin his ear back and try to throw it 100 [mph]," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "The last couple of outings out, he has been able to mix his pitches a lot better. When he does that, he almost becomes unhittable."
Fueled by adrenaline, Graham looked much like a closer or late-inning reliever as he lit up the radar gun with a flurry of fastballs that registered above 97 mph. But as he got more comfortable, he looked more like he had while going 12-2 with a 2.80 ERA in 26 combined starts with Class A Advanced Lynchburg and Double-A Mississippi last year.
Graham will likely begin this season in Mississippi's rotation and have the chance to eventually make his way to Triple-A Gwinnett. He made just five starts during his collegiate career at Santa Clara University and has made just 34 more since the Braves selected him in the fourth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
This first experience in big league camp gave Graham a chance to rub elbows with his childhood idol, Tim Hudson. When Hudson was exiting the bullpen before a start with the A's in 1999, he tossed a ball to Graham, who was just 9 years old.
"He's been the pitcher that I've looked up to," Graham said last week. "I probably kind of aged him a little bit when I told him I was 9 when I used to go to Oakland games and that I wanted to be just like him. Now, 14 or 15 years later, being in the same locker room, I guess the stars were aligned. It couldn't have played out any better."
Terdoslavich showing Braves he can play outfield
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Joey Terdoslavich's days as the future third baseman in Atlanta ended during his ugly two-month stint with Triple-A Gwinnett at the start of last season. But while spending the past couple weeks showing his offensive potential and ability to play both corner-outfield positions, Terdoslavich has positioned himself to get a call to the Major League level this year.
"He's better than OK," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Terdoslavich as an outfielder. "He looks pretty good out there."
Terdoslavich, the Braves' No. 15 overall prospect, has gained attention while batting .400 (14-for-35) with three doubles and a home run since the start of the exhibition season. But the likelihood that he could get a call to Atlanta this year has come from the fact that he has given the Braves confidence that he could play either corner-outfield position or first base when necessary.
"Whatever happens, happens, I'm just excited for this season wherever I am," Terdoslavich said. "I'm just going to take advantage wherever I go. I just have to make sure I'm ready."
The Braves opted to have Terdoslavich skip Double-A and begin last season as Gwinnett's starting third baseman. After hitting .180 and committing 22 errors in 53 games, he was demoted to Mississippi, where he batted .315 in 78 games and was used almost exclusively at first base.
Terdoslavich believes his offensive struggles with Gwinnett were essentially a product of a hitch in his swing from both sides of the plate. He does not buy into the theory that he was rushed to the Triple-A level.
"They thought it was the right decision," Terdoslavich said. "Maybe it was and maybe it wasn't. I thought I was ready. If I didn't have that hitch, who knows what would have happened."
Recognizing the need to add to his versatility by playing the outfield, Terdoslavich spent this winter working out with his high school team. He said he told his former coach to "treat me like a sophomore trying to make varsity."
"Everything I did this offseason is showing up," Terdoslavich said.
Terdoslavich will likely begin this season as an outfielder with Gwinnett. But he has at least positioned himself for consideration to continue battling with Jordan Schafer and Jose Constanza to begin the year as Atlanta's fifth outfielder.
• The odds of Evan Gattis beginning the season as Atlanta's backup catcher have continued to improve over the past week. Gattis impressed Gonzalez again on Saturday with the way he handled himself with Maholm on the mound.
• Braves hitting coach Greg Walker was encouraged with what he saw from Justin Upton during Saturday's batting practice. Upton responded a couple hours later by notching his second two-hit game of the exhibition season and first since Feb. 25. The Braves left fielder entered Saturday with three hits in his previous 21 at-bats.
• Juan Francisco hit a home run over the tall yellow wall beyond the right-center-field fence in Friday's loss to the Mets and added another towering shot that hit the center-field video board in Saturday's win over the Yankees. Gonzalez said it is still too early to declare Francisco or Chris Johnson as a favorite to begin the season as Atlanta's starting third baseman.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.