Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – Guess who’s up and running again? FedEx package with a “new” laptop arrived a little early, actually, so I’m back in business. It’s a little bit like driving someone else’s car at the moment, but hey, at least I got wheels!
A little background for those whom I didn’t leave hanging yesterday afternoon: my laptop crashed yesterday mid-game, mid-blog, probably mid-Jason Heyward bomb. I tried to revive it with everything but the shocking paddles, and it was a no go. So the powers that be got me a laptop down from AJC headquarters, so that I could bring you important Braves action today!
We got Tom Glavine on the mound for the first time this spring (in a “real” game) and against his old Mets, no less. But it’ll be a chance for us to see how effect Glavine is, keeping in mind that he’s about two weeks behind everybody else in camp. He’ll be going about two innings.
I know there has been some speculation on the blog that this might be the beginning of the end for Glavine. That the shoulder/elbow won’t be strong enough and in a couple weeks, he’ll decide to hang ‘em up. (And no, I don’t see him failing in a comeback with the Braves and deciding to go somewhere else. I don’t see the logic in that. If he can physically comeback, he’s got a place with the Braves. Why would he go somewhere else?)
He’s got an uphill climb, there’s no doubt. This won’t be easy. But counting him out is something I’m not prepared to do yet either. The guy has got a competitive fire like, well, someone you’d expect who’s won 305 games. He won’t go down without a serious push. It’ll be interesting to see. (And who’s been to Carowinds in North Carolina? Remember the old White Lightnin’ Roller coaster, that opens with a guy on the PA going “Lightning….Strikes…..Now” and off you go! It came to mind for some reason….I think I woke up too early this morning and I’m a little punchy.)
I had some time to spend around the batting cage this morning, which has basically become the Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman show, watching them pound balls over the right field fence. And then Greg Norton got in on the act. They finished a round with one pitch each to swing for the fences, and Norton got a hold of one hitting left-handed that was heading toward the right field fence.
While it was in the air, John Schuerholz, who was among the onlookers, noticed the semi-truck moving along behind the fence in right field and got in on the act of encouraging the ball to hit the truck.
Which it promptly did. So hey, money goes to Norton today.
Frank Wren was by the cage as well, and I had a chance to pose him the question of what to do with some of this “surplus” talent as camp begins to wind down. You look at guys like Buddy Carlyle or Jorge Campillo, since both fill similar roles of long relief/spot starter, Josh Anderson, if he gets beat out for the center field job by Jordan Schafer, Martin Prado, who could be an every day second baseman for some other teams.
I asked Frank if the Braves were getting some interest, or expected to.
“I think there will be interest,” Wren said. “But at the same time, we’ve worked hard to build a surplus and to maintain it is just as important. Unless there’s a deal out there that really works well for us in terms of adding depth at another position, we’re not going to just be looking to make deals because guys have interest in our players. If we do make deals, we’re really focused on guys that can give us depth in another area.”
What do you guys think some of those areas are? Shortstop? Third base for the future?
So either that, or a really special prospect.
“And frankly, those deals are hard to make,” Wren said.
Chipper is feeling better by the way. He’s had back-to-back days of good batting practice. He’s hoping to back in there on Tuesday night, when the Braves play the Pirates. Bobby Cox might choose to give him a couple of days after that, but we’ll see. (We go to Port St. Lucie tomorrow; there’s an off day Monday.)
“I was able to extend it out to the point where I felt like I could be aggressive,” Jones said of his bp. “Being able to swing 90-100 percent.”
Kris Medlen is supposed to pitch today for the first time since March 12. He caught the bug that’s going around camp now, and lost six pounds. He’s back healthy though and will make a push at making this pen.
He’s a real pleasant guy and somebody I get a kick out of talking to and watching bop around. He’s got a ton of energy. I’m starting to see why the Braves brass wanted to see if by moving him to a starter’s role last year in Mississippi it would help slow him down a little bit. He seems to do everything fast, including answer reporter’s questions!
“My main problem is rushing,” Medlen said. “That’s in life, I guess. I’m constantly moving.”
And yes, he confirmed, he was a major fidget-er in the classroom.
“I was the worst student,” Medlen said. “I really was.”
He played shortstop in junior college and his manager now is starting to see that he probably needed to do that just to give himself something to do when he wasn’t pitching (he closed in college).
“He’s full of energy, watching him sprint around,” Cox said. “He’s the type of kid who wants to play shortstop when he’s not pitching.”
When he is pitching, he’s a quick worker, which his infielders have to love. That’s the upside. The downside, of rushing his delivery, he worked on last year in Mississippi, moving from the bullpen to the rotation.
“It helped me out, slowing down,” Medlen said. “It helped me learn how to pitch a little bit more. Instead of throwing two pitches in an inning, you try to use all your pitches, try to make adjustments.”
He threw mainly fastball, curveball as a reliever, but said he developed his changeup more as a starter.
Following Glavine to the mound today is Campillo for three innings and Peter Moylan. Lots to keep an eye on, so let’s get it going. Oh hey, not to forget, we got Dale Murphy on the radio broadcast today. Check him out.
Jordan Schafer CF
Yunel Escobar SS
Kelly Johnson 2B
Brandon Jones LF
Jeff Francoeur RF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Omar Infante 3B
David Ross C
Tom Glavine P
Alex Cora SS
Jose Valentin 2B
Daniel Murphy LF
Nick Evans 1B
Bobby Kielty CF
Ryan Church RF
Eric Campbell 3B
Josh Thole C
John Maine P