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SPEAK OUT: How Will 'New Look' Atlanta Braves Do in 2013?

The team begins spring training games Friday. Will they return to the playoffs this season?

Another sign of spring: Baseball is back.

And that means the Atlanta Braves, who begin their 2013 spring training game schedule Friday (February 22).

But the Braves definitely have a new look this season. Gone is Chipper Jones, the team icon who retired after 19 seasons.

The Braves have been contenders in their first two seasons under Manager Fredi Gonzalez. But the fact is that they have not been to the playoffs since 2010 -- Bobby Cox's last season at the helm.

There are many new faces. Outfielders B.J. Upton and his brother Justin Upton could help take up some of the offensive slack left by Jones' departure. Also, Chris Johnson, acquired from Arizona in the deal for Justin Upton, could replace Jones at third.

Also, the Braves will be looking for veterans such as catcher Brian McCann (Duluth High), second baseman Dan Uggla and pitcher Tim Hudson to improve on their 2012 numbers.

As Yahoo! Sports noted, McCann, who battled eye injuries last season, hit just .230, well below his career average. And pitcher Hudson, who missed the start of last season, is now 38 years old.

Bleacher Report notes also that the Braves had some significant losses from last year's team -- pitchers Tommy Hanson and Randall Delgado and OF Michael Bourn among them.

The Braves begin the regular season on April 1. The complete 2013 schedule is here.

-- Do you think the Braves will return to the playoffs in 2013? Share your predictions in the comments below.

 

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