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Grant Dayton of the Atlanta Braves pitching during Game 2 of the series against the San Diego Padres at SunTrust Park on Monday, April 29, 2019. The Padres won, 4-3. Photo by Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves

Madison’s Grant Dayton Looking To Join Atlanta Braves In Upcoming Shortened Season

ATLANTA, Ga.- The career highlights for Atlanta Braves pitcher Grant Dayton can almost be tracked by certain dates on his personal calendar.

The former All-State pitcher for the Patriots of Bob Jones and staff ace for the Auburn Tigers was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 11th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft on June 9. After he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 15, 2015, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound left-hander made his Major League debut on June 22, 2016 versus the St. Louis Cardinals, when he threw two scoreless extra innings, thus becoming the 47th player in Auburn history to play in Major League Baseball.

On Aug. 29, 2017, the ulnar collateral ligament of his left elbow underwent the invasive and complex Tommy John surgery stemming from an injury two weeks prior. After missing the entire 2018 season during rehabilitation from his surgery, Dayton made it back to the majors via a waivers move to the Atlanta Braves.

He pitched in 14 games last season for Atlanta and had this season postponed by COVID-19. Now on the verge of seeing the first-pitch of 2020 season, Dayton hopes to include July 24 on his personal diary as the date he looks to be among the Braves’ roster on opening day game versus the Mets in New York at Citi Field.

“My goal is to make the team and stay in the game as long as I can,” stated Dayton, just prior to the season among the pre-season workouts in Atlanta.

Now among the professional sports attempting to host play while battling the coronavirus with mandated protocols, Major League Baseball is on the verge of playing a 60-game schedule in the abbreviated 2020 season. Dayton said of his chances to make the team, “I’ve been working out at home and increased my arm strength.”

“If all the players and staff abide by the plan of virus protocol, we’ll be ok,” added Dayton.

Some players opted to remain away from the game during the current pandemic, but during lengthy negotiations between team owners and the Players Association, Dayton was aware of what was going on as in reality both organizations wanted to get back to action as soon as possible. “It wasn’t about greed, as it was going back to be among the public and hope the pandemic and our actions doesn’t ruin the game,” said Dayton. “We all want normalcy again. We somehow have to come to the realization we can unite the country with our sport.”

There has been speculation the controversy of honoring the National Anthem may be an issue on both sides of the current crisis over the anthem and flag are in play. Dayton’s personal thoughts on the subject is the chance to protest shouldn’t be political.

“I personally see it as an issue that is beyond the flag,” said Dayton. “I personally will stand for the National Anthem, but won’t criticize others in what they do. During the National Anthem I reflect on our country and those who fought for our right to protest shall we choose to do so. I respect our flag and our country, and I’m glad baseball is back.”

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