NL East Organization Reports

ATLANTA—It was easy to deem the Braves' December deal that shipped catcher Johnny Estrada to the Diamondbacks as insignificant. After all, part of the strategy involved creating an opening for Brian McCann to handle the starting chores behind the plate. Yet with every appearance Oscar Villarreal has made this winter in Mexico, the Braves have grown more confident that the offseason trade will play a significant role in upgrading the Atlanta bullpen. The righthander, who the Braves acquired from Arizona along with righthander Lance Cormier, helped Hermosillo advance to the second round of the winter playoffs versus Guasave. In three postseason outings, Villarreal earned a save while allowing only one hit in three shutout innings.

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