Gordon, Barger back in Champaign after spring training with Atlanta Braves ends early

Local Sports

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Tanner Gordon sure didn’t expect to be playing catch in Champaign this time of year.  It’s quite the change of scenery after returning home from Florida. 

“I had packed for 6-7 months, and I came back within a month,” says Gordon. “I think the worst thing you can do is just treat this as a true off season, and just lie around and watch TV, so I think the biggest thing for me is to keep myself moving.”  

The Central-grad and former Indiana pitcher was just getting started with his first spring training when the season was suspended. Gordon was drafted in the 6th round of the 2019 MLB draft to the Atlanta Braves. Last summer he played with the Danville Braves—the rookie-level affiliate in Virginia—he was hoping to move up a level or two heading into this season. 

“I was just kind of taking it day by day just feeling things out just it being my first spring,” says Gordon. “So at the end of the day we’re all in the same boat, so wherever I go, wherever I end up after this you just got to roll with the punches, and do what you can wherever you’re at. Right now I’m really not too worried.” 

Gordon ended last season with a 2.22 ERA, only giving up one earned run in his last five games. He spent the season playing alongside former Central teammate Alec Barger. Barger was drafted to the Braves in the 17th round out of North Carolina State. 

“We put in a lot of work this off season, and I was ready to show that during this Spring training,” says Barger. “But I’m pretty confident with what the coaches have seen in me last year, and from the little bit of spring training that I would be able to move up and make some kind of progress this year.” 

While the season and their assignments are up in the air, Barger and Gordon feel lucky to have each other during these uncertain times. 

“It was already a bonus that we had each other going to the Braves together,” says Barger. “Now to be in a situation like this and to have each other, it’s really a positive.” 

“We kind of held each other accountable throughout the whole season,” says Gordon, “and we’re still doing that now.”

The two pitchers have been getting out every day to throw, so they’ll be ready if and when the season does resume. 

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