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'The weird in between': Braves ace Max Fried's career midpoint brings dominance, uncertainty

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BALTIMORE – On a recent afternoon, Max Fried ducked out of the heat and bounded purposefully into the Atlanta Braves clubhouse, his workout complete. He paused at his locker just long enough to kick off his spikes, swiveled and took a seat at a table in the center of the room.

And stared furtively at a chessboard.

The pregame routine allowed enough time to complete a match and feed the left-hander’s recent chess jones. He got into it this winter, studied instructional videos and plays with friendly adversaries when he gets the chance, befitting a guy who admits that “if you put a board game in front of me, I’m more than likely excited to play it.