Lake Buena Vista, Fla. - It’s starting to warm up here in Florida, I gotta say. It’s either the sunshine, highs expected in the 70s today, or the kiss on the cheek I just got from the Big Cat by the batting cage. What can I say? It’s a traditional Venezuelan greeting and Venezuela is in the house.
Our old friend Andres Galarraga, who’s coaching for Venezuela, saved my life once, actually. The Gold Glover reached out by the cage and caught a ball honing in on my head, unbeknownst to me.
OK, I know, whatever, I’ll get to what you really care about.
Tom Glavine threw a round of batting practice on the back field today. He threw about 25 warm-up pitches and 20 more to hitters at about 70 percent effort, mixing in fastballs, changeups and an occasional curve. The “crankiness” is still there, but he came away encouraged.
“There’s always that little bit of concern in the back of your mind when you’re not feeling as good as you want to,” Glavine said. “But I feel good about everything being structurally sound based on the way I was able to do what I did today. It’s just a matter of going through the process of getting my arm strength back to where I want it to be.”
He was happy with his location and his spin but said it felt a little laborsome.
“It’s just getting that last little bit to where it’s coming out nice and naturally and free and easy and I don’t feel like I’m restricted in any way,” Glavine said.
Matt Diaz, Jason Heyward and Brandon Hicks did the hitting off him. Here’s what Diaz had to say:
“Crafty as ever,” Diaz said. “Started off with a groundball to short, ended up with a groundball to short. He’s got movement. He looked free and easy. He’s obviously not overexerting. He’s not throwing his pitches with his usual velocity, but he can get outs with that.”
Diaz said he got a kick out of the young hitters being a little star struck hitting off Glavine. Diaz said he was too.
I walked back in from the backfield just in time to see (well, hear) a home run ball crash into the window of a van parked just behind the Braves bullpen. A bunch of the guys in the Braves bullpen were turned around, surveying the damage. I tried to find out who hit it, but all I got was a funny comment that I should just say it was Heyward.
SCHAFER UPDATE: Speaking of prospects, Jordan Schafer is still out of action with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder. He hurt it diving for a ball in Dunedin on Saturday.
“It hasn’t felt too good,” Schafer said, massaging his shoulder. “I tried to take bp a couple days ago and I wasn’t able to make it. But I should be OK in two or three days.”
Bobby Cox said it would be more like three, four or five. So I’d go with three, four or five.
SORIANO UPDATE: I caught a few words with the somewhat elusive set-up man Rafael Soriano this morning. He has yet to pitch in a game after dealing with a pretty serious upper respiratory infection the first week of camp. Soriano said he threw a bullpen yesterday, and it felt good. The next step is to throw batting practice on Saturday or Sunday.
I asked how his surgically-repaired elbow felt and he said, “It feels better every day. It’s not yet 100 percent, but almost.”
SCHUERHOLZ IN THE HOUSE: John Schuerholz was around the batting cage today, so I took the liberty of running Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal’s theory that Schuerholz might be a candidate for the Washington Nationals GM job, past him.
You can imagine what his reaction was – don’t think this is a man who took the president’s job with the Braves to turn around and leave for another GM job and one with an organization with all the work to do that the Nationals have. But I’ll give it to you anyway.
“Other than the fact that it had no element of fact to it, I don’t know where he came up with it,” Schuerholz said. “It was completely baseless as it relates to me. Obviously it was his judgment or guess that it might be so because I happen to have been born in Baltimore and I worked for Stan (Kasten). Those two things are true. Other than that, end of story.”
I asked if Stan had asked for his input on whom to hire (I just wrote ‘whom’ in a blog! Hey, I got a squiggly line in my word file for being grammatically incorrect. And who likes those.) John had a good line for that one.
“He never asked for my imput when I was working for him, why would he start now?” Schuerholz said.
Here we go with LINEUPS:
Josh Anderson CF
Omar Infante SS
Garret Anderson LF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Jeff Francoeur DH
Brandon Jones RF
Martin Prado 2B
David Ross C
Diory Hernandez 3B
Derek Lowe RHP
Endy Chavez CF
Melvin Mora 3B
Bobby Abreu RF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Maggio Ordonez DH
Carlos Guillen LF
Ramon Hernandez C
Marco Scutaro 2B
Cesar Izturis SS
Jan Granado LHP
There was some debate over who was starting for Venezuela. A couple of guys dropped out for Venezuela – like Johan Santana for one – and they’re apparently a little short on pitching and asked for some help from the Braves. The Braves offered a minor league kid Brad Nelson, a righty. At one point word was Venezuela was planning to start Nelson, which didn’t exactly fly. So it’s Granado. And now two Braves minor leaguers will pitch for Venezuela – Kevin Gunderson too, a lefty.
That’s all I got!