Jurrjens progressing, Schafer “a process”

Dark Star, Fla. – Just watched an impressive batting-practice session pitched by what I believe will be the Braves’ opening-day starter, Tim Hudson, and now watching what appears to be the younger, slimmer brother of Braves left-hander Eric O’Flaherty.

Doesn't it look like Saito and K.K. are lining up a putt?

Doesn't it look like Saito and K.K. are lining up a putt? (Phil Skinner/AJC)

Actually it’s O’Flaherty. Dropped a lot of weight in the offseason, and he really does look several years younger because of it. The face, you know? How some guys (or girls) lose 5-10 pounds and a disproportionate amount of it seems to have come off their cheeks and neck? No? I should get more sleep? OK, noted.

Anyway …

Hey, take this as a good early omen for the Braves if you want to: Two days in a row, I woke to rain and completely socked-in, nasty conditions here. Only to see the rain cease in plenty of time for the field to dry and the Braves to have batting practice on the main ‘yard here at ESPN Wide World of Family Fun Sports Entertainment Youth Athletic Leagues Cost Parents A Fortune Exposition/Recreation Center. Or something like that.

But seriously, a few things of interest on this second day of full-squad workouts:

Jurrjens, here running in a workout this week, has made steady progress in return from shoulder inflammation.

Jurrjens, here running in a workout this week, has made steady progress in return from shoulder inflammation. (Phil Skinner/AJC)

♣ J.J. is getting better: Jair Jurrjens told me this morning his pitching shoulder feels better and he’s expected to do some long-toss today. That’s obviously good news for him and the Braves, who’d like to have the 15-game winner be able to make his first Grapefruit League start only a week late, perhaps even sooner than that.

Jurrjens gave everyone a scare when he had soreness and tightness after reporting early to camp about 10 days ago, after feeling a twinge or pop in his shoulder when he made a submarine-style, across-the-body throw during a loosely run game in Curacao before he left for Florida.

He said he’s learned from that and will be more careful in the future. Fortunately, he learned without paying a big price, or at least it seems that way now.

After a week of rest and rehab, he played catch two times in the past three days. The shoulder has improved significantly each day, and if the long-toss goes well, it’s safe to say Jurrjens might be only a week or so behind the other pitchers.

He’s been throwing off a mound since December, a little longer than most of the starters other than Hudson, and that might end up helping him if he’s able to quickly bump his program back up and get in the rotation without missing more than one turn when Grapefruit League play starts Tuesday against the Mets in Port St. Lousy, Fla.

♣ Jordan Schafer update: Tattoos now cover each arm from elbow to shoulder, and it’s intricate work with faces of angels and all kinds of … no, wait. This isn’t a tatt update. It’s a serious update on the kid’s progress after surgery for a broken left hand, an injury that ruined his 2009 season.

braves.0221 g

Schafer is listening to advice in his comeback. (Phil Skinner/AJC)

Schafer got the cast off before Christmas and has been hitting and doing everything else. But he’s still got quite a ways to before the hand is back to full strength, and it seems obvious he’ll spend at least the first part of the season shaking off the rust and regaining his stroke at Triple-A Gwinnett.

“Truthfully, I’m not worried about it at all,” he said. “Whatever they want to do. I just want to be healthy. If I’m healthy, I know my talent and my skills. I know I’m good enough to play when I’m healthy. I just need to make sure I’m healthy.”

And that’s why he didn’t hit today. The hand’s a bit sore, tired. Trainers suggested he chill for a day. He agreed, without a fight this time.

“It’s good,” he said of the overall status of his surgically repaired hand. “But I still need to get some strength back in there. Like where I had surgery, all that feels really good. There’s no pain in it at all. It’s just my hand’s still weak. I was in the cast so long, I have to do the rehab stuff every day, all kinds of stuff.

“It’s all in my joint, and my hand, you can tell this part [points to inside edge of palm] isn’t like thick like this is here [points to other hand]. It’s just going to take time.

“I have to watch it. I’ll hit off the tee to try to warm up, then I’ll take, like, 20 swings and I’ll stop. I’m trying not to push it too much. We’ve got six weeks, so….”

The atrophy that set in while he was in a cast is something that takes some time to get past, and his hand gets fatigued when he’s done a fraction of the workload he could always handle before.

“His hand … it’s weak,” manager Bobby Cox said. “He’s having — not a setback – he’s just sore from starting out again. He’s just kind of taking it easier. Today he’s not hitting at all. It’s gonna be a process for him just about all spring.

“We want him to be ready for the season, whatever it takes.”

The Braves would like to have Schafer ready for the majors by midseason. Overdoing things now, trying to rush to get back by opening day wouldn’t be wise, especially since they already have Nate McLouth in center field and could be set in left (Matt Diaz, Melky Cabrera) and right if Jason Heyward is ready to take over in right.

“Schafe last year unfortunately broke his hand, and played with it,” Cox said. “It really wasn’t fair to him. I was kind of selfish, I left him in there because of his defense. I thought we’d hit enough to get by. But at any rate, we’ve got a little more depth in the outfield with Melky Cabrera.”

Schafer is one who always followed the work-harder take-more-batting-practice philosophy, fix things by working until they’re ironed out. But he’s learned, after trying to play with that hand injury last season, that there are some things you can’t ignore.

And Schafer knows it would be a mistake to ignore what his body’s telling him and try to get his hand strength back by just swinging and swinging in the batting cages.

♣ J.R. House signed: If you’re interested, there’s a short blog separate that I filed earlier. Yes, he’s the former stud high school quarterback. No, he’s not going to make this team, barring a series of injuries. He’s a 30-year-old journeyman catcher/corner infielder who provides minor-league depth.

Alright, got to get down to the field for end of batting practice and then to the clubhouse.

♣ Diversions: I’m going to try to find the new Johnny Cash CD this afternoon, if there’s a decent retail place that sells it within 10 miles of Dark Star. They closed the Virgin Records store that used to be over at Disney (thanks all you download-only customers for ruining the record industry; OK, only kidding. Sort of). Anyway, let’s go out with some blues on a cloudy day.

The legendary Albert King had a hit with this:

images

“THAT’S WHAT THE BLUES IS ALL ABOUT” by R. Patterson,  J. Strickland

Oh you come home one evenin’

To nothin’ but the four walls

And then ya find your phone been disconnected

You can’t even make no call

Ya hung out for your baby, oh, an’ she’s not there

You look in the closet, buddy, an’ you find it’s all bare

Oh, that’s what the blues is people

That’s what the blues is all about

Well that’s a hard pill to have to swallow, um!

When you find what the blues is all about

Now listen to this:

I went out to my backyard

Ya know I whistled for my dog [3 whistle sounds]

He ran up under the house, people

Like he didn’t even know me at all

Now I hadn’t fed him in two or three days

An’ he was lookin’ kinda thin

Oh, when your dog turn his back on ya, buddy

You know ya haven’t even got a friend

That’s the blues, people

That’s what the blues is all about

Oh it’s a hard pill to swallow, um!

When ya find out what the blues is all about

Oh, look out!

Uh!

Oh no!

I think I got ‘em!

I went out to my mailbox

I got a bunch o’ bills that I can’t pay

I guess my wife been out shoppin’ again

While I been at work all day

I see the man comin’ with his tools

Now is he gonna cut off my water?

You know they got my gas yesterday

An’ they comin’ right back for the lines tomorrow

Ah, that’s what the blues is people

That’s what the blues is all about

Well that’s a hard pill to swallow, buddy

Oh, when you find out what the blues is all about

696 comments Add your comment

Jared

February 24th, 2010
12:45 pm

Braves win the world series this year over the yankees in 6!

Heath

February 24th, 2010
12:47 pm

Bernanke = One smart dude.

atlwolf

February 24th, 2010
12:49 pm

Why in the world is Chris Resop back on the Braves? I don’t care how hard he throws, the last time he was here, he couldn’t locate to save his own life. Remember that game where Bobby put him in left field for one out, then put him back on the mound (even though he had already struggled that inning), where he promptly gave up a go-ahead RBI single to Xavier Nady? I was at that game, and that is still the most mind-boggling move I’ve ever witnessed at a baseball game. Urgh…

bigchiefrg

February 24th, 2010
12:49 pm

First? By the way, I am pretty sure that is schafer getting some advice.

Ignatius J. Reilly

February 24th, 2010
12:53 pm

good to hear JJ is going to be ok

bigchiefrg

February 24th, 2010
12:54 pm

Didnt mean that as a nitpick, just trying to help out…

Great quotes from 6 on Schafer. Explains a lot. Also highlighting once again why Bobby is so revered by the players. Does everything he can to take the blame when someone doesnt succeed.

TnBrian

February 24th, 2010
12:54 pm

“I was kind of selfish” Bobby Cox

Well, he is a good CF and what were the other alternatives at the time … Blanco? But, yeah, that wasn’t really right.

Prime Time

February 24th, 2010
12:55 pm

maybe it’s Melky

sidslidkid

February 24th, 2010
1:00 pm

Nice song choice DOB!

Nelson S.

February 24th, 2010
1:00 pm

Smitty

February 24th, 2010
1:01 pm

I really think that the Schafer we all saw in the first series of the season was the real Schafer. Doing that against the Phils isn’t a fluke he was fine the first 3 games of the season and then the pop happened and after that he was missing everything. He wil be back roaming center midseason w/ Nate either being traded or pushed to left; if Nate is pushed to left then one of Diaz/Melky is headed elsewhere…as much as I love Diaz I think it’d be smarter to keep Melky because for one he’s got a gun for an arm is above average in the field has good speed he’s younger then Diaz and he’s a switch hitter. Just my opinion though

Jeff R

February 24th, 2010
1:01 pm

I don’t think we need to worry about Resop maknig the big club. Just a little extra depth in the minors and, who knows, maybe he’s matured a little since he last wore a Braves’ uniform.

thinbreakness

February 24th, 2010
1:01 pm

Love that photo of Saito and Kawakami. These two are going to make their countrymen proud.

Mr. Rogers

February 24th, 2010
1:05 pm

Is it just me or is there no spark this year for the Braves, Im not excited at all which stinks…I guess cause we didnt get any big bats this year and gave up Javier.

DOB TRUTHFULLY isnt this team just another 3rd place team? I mean what have they done to honestly make themselves better this year? Its seems they actually took a step back.

Benjamin

February 24th, 2010
1:05 pm

Might want to correct the caption under Jordan’s picture with TP, DOB. Unless Jair’s skin color has really lightened that much… ;)

Great read, as per the usual.

Smitty

February 24th, 2010
1:08 pm

I have 4 more slots open for my fantasy league leave me a message on the blog I’ll send you an invite I need an e-mail address too

bvillebaron

February 24th, 2010
1:08 pm

David:

Nice to see your comments about Hudson. I didn’t necessarily want to see Vazquez get traded but since it ultimately came down to an either/or situation, keeping Hudson over Vazquez was a “no brainer”.

O.J.

February 24th, 2010
1:09 pm

Mr. Rogers, nope, thats just you feeling that way. I for one am super excited.

reason

February 24th, 2010
1:10 pm

Mr. Rogers,

You have no excitement about having the #1 prospect in baseball in camp with the likelihood of him being the starting right fielder?

thinbreakness

February 24th, 2010
1:11 pm

Smitty-
If Schafer is the real deal, and I think he is, it’s a tough call. I think Diaz and Cabrera are under control this year and next. McLouth is under control this year, next year and 10.65 option for third. If you don’t intend to pick up McLouth’s option, then all is equal. Having Schafer and Heyward in the OF, seems you’d want the righty and the switch hitter for balance. If Schafer has the highest OBP, IMO, this is the guy you start especially with the superior defense.

Chopper

February 24th, 2010
1:11 pm

I’m starting to become a believer in Frank Wren. Two years ago the level of starting pitching had dropped significantly. So Wren set out to make starting pitching the strength of the team. He signed Lowe and Kawakami, traded for Javier Vasquez and the farm system brought along Tommy Hanson and Kris Medlen. The rotation was deep and very good.

Now this offseason he’s dually improved the depth of the OF and the bullpen. Signing Wagner, Saito and Proctor, trading for Chavez and Dunn, and the farm system is bringing along Craig Krimbell to go along with holdovers, Moylan, O’Flaherty (with Medlen as the long man and backup starter). Plus you’ve got guys like Lee Hyde and Jose Ortegano (highly spoken of by Eddie Perez) on the fringe ready to take a spot in the event of injury or ineffectiveness. Much different from years past when the last bullpen spots went to guys just because they were without options.

He spun off Vasquez to save money, build organizational depth in Arodys Vizcaino and also add a versatile switch hitting OF who plays all three spots. He started last year with adding McLouth in a trade, and now Jason Heyward is set to join Diaz and the others in Atlanta. Plus you have Jordan Schafer poised to get his career back on track by mid season. That’s depth and that’s options.

And I feel this week they made a move to add depth to the IF of the organization, by signing the 18 year old SS from the D.R. If he’s starting out in Rome or Myrtle Beach as DOB reported, then he is very advanced for 18. (Heyward, McCann and Schafer for example didn’t even start in Rome.) So he could be in the mix to replace Chipper at 3B or at SS if Escobar slides over.

So I think Wren has the Braves tracking in the right direction, even if the payroll is not tracking upwards.

Dylan Kight

February 24th, 2010
1:12 pm

I really like the new Johnny Cash. It clocks in at about 32 minutes. It’s a pretty easy listen. It’s not going to rival his first 3 American recording records, but it is a humble solid set. I think you will appreciate it. The 4th one was really good especially The Man Comes Around and Hurt. In my opinion it wasn’t as solid all the way through as the first 3.

Ed

February 24th, 2010
1:13 pm

i wonder how bobby will post the lineup for their first spring training game its only 6 days away against the mets

DAP

February 24th, 2010
1:15 pm

atlwolf Remember that game where Bobby put him [resop] in left field for one out, then put him back on the mound

i dont remember it being resop but i remember the game and the move. very shrewd managing by a guy with a short bullpen. i loved it.

mr. rogers I mean what have they done to honestly make themselves better this year?

*sigh*….does that really need to be rehashed? go back and read some old blogs.

joerochester

February 24th, 2010
1:18 pm

Man, I can’t keep up with all these updates. It’s awesome!

thinbreakness

February 24th, 2010
1:19 pm

Copper-
The guy has rebuilt the organization that was destroyed by the injuries of Hampton, Smoltz and Glavine as well as the trades for Drew and Texeria. You cannot underestimate the toll these transactions took on the organizational strength as a whole. Never again under Frank. He values his prospects.

Fischerking04

February 24th, 2010
1:19 pm

Dylan Kight—The only problem I had with Cash covering “Hurt” was that my philosophy has always been that if you can’t remake a song at least as good as the original then you shouldn’t do it at all. His version was entertaining enough, but not close to the NiN original.

Great read DOB, as usual. I love this time of year when there is actaul baseball stuff to talk about instead of everyone just shooting out names of people we should trade for.

DAP

February 24th, 2010
1:24 pm

fischerking His [cash's] version was entertaining enough, but not close to the NiN original.

youre right, Cash’s version wasnt close tot he NiN version….he left it in the dust.

Dylan Kight

February 24th, 2010
1:26 pm

Fischerking04 – I respectfully disagree. I thought the NiN version was very good. I thought the Cash version stole the show. But I think it says a lot about the song that both versions can be appreciated by music fans.

thinbreakness

February 24th, 2010
1:27 pm

Dylan-
great point – not every thing is so absolute.

TnBrian

February 24th, 2010
1:27 pm

Escobar- 14th on these people’s list of fantasy SS—

http://www.rotoauthority.com/2010/02/shortstop-rankings.html

Mark Biles

February 24th, 2010
1:28 pm

Let’s hope KK and Saito have a better year than Toyota is having so far.

Chopper

February 24th, 2010
1:28 pm

Oh and did I forget to mention that Frank Wren’s first trade was to send Edgar Renteria to Detroit for Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez (who was spun out for Nate McLouth).

civilized white trash

February 24th, 2010
1:28 pm

fisherking04

i completely disagree i think cash knocked it out of the ball park where NIN struggled with their own song. but to each is ther own.

thinbreakness

February 24th, 2010
1:30 pm

Dylan-
I could argue that i much prefer your version of “Watchtower” to Hendrix. After all, you wrote the song, but Hendrix really beefed it up.

Dylan Kight

February 24th, 2010
1:31 pm

Hendrix owns that – I thought the verdict was already out?!

thinbreakness

February 24th, 2010
1:31 pm

Chopper-
No argument here, the guy has done his job extremely well.

thinbreakness

February 24th, 2010
1:33 pm

Dylan-
Well yes according to Robert Zimmerman, but I still like his version with the harmonica instead of the guitar. Like I said, Hendrix really pumped some “roids” into his version.

Fischerking04

February 24th, 2010
1:33 pm

Cash strummed 3 chords and didn’t do anything to enhance it IMO. NiN used so much depth and twisting notes that coincided with the “hurt” that the song talks about. I’m not bashing Cash because I really enjoy most of his music. But his version of that song was closer to something an ametuer would play next to a campfire. Not only did he not add, but he left out a lot of the most impactful notes/sounds in the song. However, the video that Cash made for it was extremely compelling.

Reid in EAV

February 24th, 2010
1:34 pm

Resop may be a lot better than the last stint, but I confess I can’t escape the backwards name I always tagged him with when he jogged in from the ‘pen: “poseR.”

Venice Jim

February 24th, 2010
1:35 pm

Tommy Hanson on 680 right now…

Glen W

February 24th, 2010
1:36 pm

Mr. Rogers,

Thirs place team, really? Let’s compare. OK, anyone can make the argument that the Phillies and Cardinals are better teams right now. But apart from them is there another team that is clearly better? I think you have to put the Braves right there with the Marlins, Dodgers, Giants and Rockies as team that could pan out to be at least the third best team in the NL.

And when you consider that the Braves were one of the better teams in the second half last year (after Frency and Kelly were worked out of the line-up) and when you consider that Hanson and Heyward are clearly two of the elite young players in the league… how can a Braves fan not be excited?

That’s just me…

thinbreakness

February 24th, 2010
1:37 pm

Fischer-
I didn’t mind your opinion until you equated Cash to an ametuer. Lets see NIN – Cash, Is Trent Renzor still making music?

joerochester

February 24th, 2010
1:38 pm

Fischer-
I didn’t mind your opinion until you equated Cash to an ametuer. Lets see NIN – Cash, Is Trent Renzor still making music?

I think he just came out with a new album not long ago.

sportsmandh

February 24th, 2010
1:40 pm

Glen W,
Agree on the Phillies, and the Dodgers, Giants, and Rockies as strong contenders. Not as much on the Cards and Marlins.

Outside of Pujols and Holliday, where do you think the Cards are better than the Braves. Compare pitching staffs. Overall the Braves are significantly stronger imo, especially bullpen wise. Other than the Cards being in a weaker division, I don’t think they’re as strong a contender for the pennant.

I’m not sold on the Marlins. I think they are good, but for some reason I think they’re going to have some drop off. I’m not sold on the pitching staff outside of Johnson at all. They are very solid offensively, but if you look at the whole team I say the Braves are stronger.

McDT

February 24th, 2010
1:40 pm

TnBrian: Re your nickname suggestion on the other blog….good one, ‘cept it is pronounced Mc”Donna” not Mc”Dunna”.

As an aside, my daughter played FP Softball for a rival Henry County school when Heyward was at Henry High and all the girls called him the “Henry Hunk” — which he may not want to hear in the locker room…

Fischerking04

February 24th, 2010
1:41 pm

I didn’t in fact equate Cash to an ametuer. I said that version of that remake of that song had no intracacy to it. I also stated that I liked Cash and enjoy most of his music. Take from it what you will but you are mistaken. You took one word out of context and gave it new meaning. Maybe you should run for office.

Dylan Kight

February 24th, 2010
1:41 pm

What made the recording compelling for me was the honesty. You can reduce any singer songwriter down to a campfire strum along. But it is the conviction that he gave it that brought me in. Reznor agrees. Not to take away from what you’re saying or anything.But when a songwriter or musician says that someone else now owns it because of a superior version(in there opinion). That speaks volumes. Especially a guy as respected as Reznor.

TnBrian

February 24th, 2010
1:43 pm

McDT, well damn. Nevermind then. You sure it’s not pronouced “Mc’Dunna”?

Ozzie

February 24th, 2010
1:43 pm

I think like all fans we should be optimistic about this club at this time of the year. More so because we have strong pitching and what could be a nasty pen.

That said the wild cards was and still is the offense.

We need all the question marks (more or less) to fall our way for this dog to hunt.

The real test will be our first two series against the Phillies. You will truly know what you have when you play the best team in the division and one that is pencilled in by many to go to the WS again.

ST is all about getting in shape, refining technique and wild fan optimism – which is a past time in and of itself.

Glen W

February 24th, 2010
1:45 pm

sportsmandh (1:40 PM)

For me Pujols make the Cardinals better, especially if Chipper is not able to perform at a higher level than last year. Compare the other 24 players on each team, and I think they are evenly matched, but Pujols is that much of a differentiator, in my view.

As for the Marlins, I have no idea what to expect… but I thought they deserved to at least be in the conversation because of what they accomplished last year. I also don’t know what to expect from the Giants, but with that pitching staff…

Fischerking04

February 24th, 2010
1:46 pm

Dylan- I understand and as I think we’ve both said, it’s just differing opinion. And in this case it sounds like I even disagree with the songwriter himself. As they say “to each his own” , I suppose.

Boog Sciambi

February 24th, 2010
1:47 pm

Attention Braves Fans. Booger, here, letting you know that nobody is calling the front office for season tickets!!! Where you at?

Stone

February 24th, 2010
1:47 pm

DOB I couldn’t agree w/ you more about the “download only” jack balls that ruined the record industry.

thinbreakness

February 24th, 2010
1:47 pm

Fischer-
You’re right – IMO, the song needed less intracacy. Very raw emotions, ripping holes in flesh, I mean the words alone don’t lend itself to any overpowering instrumantation, just the incredible depth of a voice that conveys the emotions.

dpelfrey

February 24th, 2010
1:48 pm

The chances of Resop making the club are slim unless a few people get hurt. He’s a non-roster invite, so they would have to make room for him, which could get a little tricky. He would need to provide significantly more value than the next guy who’s already on the 40-man.

Thrillhouse44

February 24th, 2010
1:48 pm

J.R. House signed…No, he’s not going to make this team DOB

So, there’s no chance I’m getting a House jersey? Way to crush my dream, man.

DAP

February 24th, 2010
1:49 pm

fischerking Cash strummed 3 chords and didn’t do anything to enhance it IMO

my jaw just dropped when i read that. what the crap!?! to each his own and all that, but what the heck!?! your post does not compute, buddy.

Mitchell

February 24th, 2010
1:50 pm

So is anybody buying opening day tickets or what? We’re playing the Cubs. I mean, we’ll probably beat them but we do we want their fans to outnumber us? It’ll probably happen anyway.

McDT

February 24th, 2010
1:50 pm

TnBrian: Yup, live here and only hear it that way in some really bad TV commercials….but, if he makes the bigs this year, the city officials would probably change it to make it match a cool NN!!!!

thinbreakness

February 24th, 2010
1:51 pm

Boog S-
If that’s really you Dude, You will be sorely missed this year. I enjoyed your broadcast very much. Thanx a ton and great luck!

Fischerking04

February 24th, 2010
1:51 pm

thinbreakness—I agree with the power of the lyrics. And possbly that’s why I enjoyed the video from Cash so much (if you didn’t see it, it is a video of people close to him that he’s lost over the years).

Side Note: NiN released an album a couple of months ago and let people download it for free from thier site. Reznor seems like a really generous dude.

thinbreakness

February 24th, 2010
1:52 pm

McDT-
Are you originally from McDonough?

DawgDad

February 24th, 2010
1:53 pm

I’m of the opinion the Braves have backstepped this offseason, and are probably 2-3 years away from seriously competing for the Division crown.

They are relying on too many old heads to stay healthy and contribute, and the crop of kids aside from Heyward isn’t quite ready yet. They have some players that could improve; specifically McLouth, McCann, and Escobar, and Prado defensively, but that collection alone can’t carry the team.

Chipper, Glaus, Hudson, Lowe, Saito, Kawakami, and Wagner may have some life left, but they are all on the downhill side with a realistic expectation of significant physical and performance issues.

Last year was the year they could and should have stolen a title, but Chipper collapsed down the stretch and took the team down with him. This is a third or fourth place team on paper, though I don’t expect them to be significantly sub-.500 unless Chipper and Glaus both tank simultaneously. If that happens they’ll be competing with the Nat’s.

Brinson

February 24th, 2010
1:53 pm

Mr. Rogers..did you watch the team that we ended the season with last year? That offense was one of the best in baseball, if not the best, when it came to scoring runs, coupled with our excellent pitching staff. Now, moving on to this year, we will have a full season of Prado at 2nd, and a replacement for Francoeur in RF. I am going to call Glaus/LaRoche a wash at this point because I feel like either one would give us the same production. As for the pitching staff, we are going to have an improved Derek Lowe, a full year of Huddy, along with a full year of Hanson and an improving Kawakami. Our bullpen is leaps and bounds better than last year having a ton of depth from everywhere in the franchise. Also, this is probably one of the deepest teams, benchwise, in the league. We replaced Greg Norton with Eric Hinske who is a very nice piece as our primary pinch-hitter, along with Melky Cabrera being able to play any of the OF positions in a pinch (better than having Gregor Blanco or Reid Gorecki filling in), with a healthy Infante to boot. So to say our team isn’t better, or in fact worse than last year is just..stupid.

Fischerking04

February 24th, 2010
1:54 pm

DAP—I am a guitarist. I knew how to play Cash’s version before ever picking up a guitar. Dylan said it best that it’s more about his voice singing the words. His guitar didn’t lend much to the song as far as adding his own element to it.

Larry

February 24th, 2010
1:55 pm

Thanks for the update, Dave. I cant wait for the game blogs.

/Mets suck

thinbreakness

February 24th, 2010
1:55 pm

DawgDad-
The Braves don’t play in the SEC. They’ll probably stay reasonably healthy and with the depth, they may suprise you and actually beat the Gators or I mean the Fillies.

dpelfrey

February 24th, 2010
1:56 pm

That’s a great breakdown DawgDad…did you also know that the end of the world is coming in 2012, so your 2-3 year away projection doesn’t mean a whole lot.

atlwolf

February 24th, 2010
1:57 pm

DAP:

The game was on April 3rd, 2008 against the Pirates. Resop started the inning and allowed two walks, putting a runner in scoring position. Bobby switched him to left field to allow Royce Ring to pitch to Adam LaRoche. After Ring struck out LaRoche, Resop retook the mound and allowed the go-ahead single to Nady. The Braves lost the game 4-3. Shrewd, yes, but it doesn’t make sense to keep a struggling pitcher in the game in that kind of situation, especially after he had walked two consecutive batters and with a known Braves-killer (Nady) coming up to hit.

TennesseePaul

February 24th, 2010
1:57 pm

ruth be told, the overwhelming majority of veteran NRIs make for better stories than ballplayers. Most eventually will wash out of the game with little or no impact in the majors. But the reason clubs keep handing out these golden tickets is the chance that one of them turns out like the NRI who came to Pirates camp last year. The guy was 27 years old, a 14th round pick 10 years earlier, and already had been released by the Atlanta Braves and cut loose by the Minnesota Twins. He had just 77 at-bats in the majors, none since 2007, and a .208 batting average. He had logged almost 1,000 games in the minors. He had played first base and the outfield without distinction. He didn’t make the Opening Day roster. But the Pirates called him up July 1. Former NRI Garrett Jones went on to hit more home runs (21) than any rookie in baseball while slugging .522.
Jimmy Gobble, SI

TennesseePaul

February 24th, 2010
1:57 pm

Oops. That’s Heyman, not Jimmy Gobble…

TennesseePaul

February 24th, 2010
1:58 pm

Damnit all. Verducci. Not Heyman or Gobble, Fudd, or Rham.

D.K.

February 24th, 2010
1:58 pm

Long time reader of this blog ( great work DOB ), first time poster. Chopper, wanted you to know I think you are right on with your 1:11 post. Plus, I think Bobby Cox has been an outstanding manager but since I am a couple years older than he is, I can say there comes a time to retire. His time is now and I wish him well and plan to be there to see his last games. Bought my tickets this morning and it was too easy on line. Good luck Braves in 2010 as I feel it will be a good year. Congrats for the great day yesterday Lew with your time with the Braves.

smitty

February 24th, 2010
1:58 pm

More complicated does not make a better song.

DAP

February 24th, 2010
1:59 pm

sportsmandh Other than the Cards being in a weaker division, I don’t think they’re as strong a contender for the pennant.

i sure do. if they can get to the postseason (hard to imagine that not happening) they have a good chance to win it all.

Daslied

February 24th, 2010
2:00 pm

Not a Nine Inch Nails fan at all, but I have no problem with them/him. I do, however, love the Cash version of “Hurt”. The marriage of the lyrics and weary voice are just startling – in Cash’s hands it simply became a dying man’s confessional. The subtleties are what makes it so great – the piano, alternately booming and pulsing…the ethereal noise buildup at the end…the slight vocal distortion on the “If I could start again” line…the ending release on the one positive lyric in the song.

It’s just a great piece of interpretation, if you ask me.

David O'Brien

February 24th, 2010
2:00 pm

Cox after watching 6-5, 235-pound OF Cody Johnson hit Thursday: “He is a beast.”

But he’s also a whiff machine. Still, he made some progress last season and, as Frank Wren says, you can’t teach what he has. Immense power.

He hit .239 with 32 HRs, 180 strikeouts, 69 BB, .342 OBP and whopping .500 slugging in high-A and Double-A in 2009.

McDT

February 24th, 2010
2:02 pm

thinbreak:
Nope, but been here for 20+ years, grew up in a little NC town — hubby is originally from here though.

David O'Brien

February 24th, 2010
2:02 pm

Daslied, have you heard what Trent Reznor (NIN) said after hearing Cash’s cover of hurt? Reznor had supposedly been a little concerned or uneasy about Cash doing the song. But when Reznor heard Cash’s cover, he was so awed that he said that wasn’t his song anymore. It was Johnny’s.

EAK

February 24th, 2010
2:06 pm

What’s the deal with the dateline being from Dark Star, Fla? Isn’t the Braves spring training camp in Kissimee? No city I know of around there called Dark Star? Perhaps a stupid question, but it has been bugging me all day.

cabravesfan

February 24th, 2010
2:07 pm

Daslied-

Have you heard Trent Reznor’s stripped down version that they play on the radio? It’s really good (as good as the Cash version, which I absolutely love)

(I apologize if this has already been addressed- too busy to do more then a quick scroll back through the blog – yes, even one page of it ;) )

DAP

February 24th, 2010
2:07 pm

fischerking I am a guitarist. I knew how to play Cash’s version before ever picking up a guitar

what cash song cant you know how to play before picking up a guitar? what does that have to do with anything? nothing, thats what.

Dylan said it best that it’s more about his voice singing the words.

yeah, which is why cash’s version is superior. thats what its all about with cash. the music is good, but its not mind blowing. its basic, blue collar, everyday and real. cash’s delivery is what its all about in all of his music. thats why cash is who he is.

His guitar didn’t lend much to the song as far as adding his own element to it.

huh? if it didnt help add his own element, why doesnt the song sound just like NiN except with cash’s voice? why didnt he just sing over the NiN track? it aint karaoke dude. the song is uniquely johnny cash. the above statement is false.

cabravesfan

February 24th, 2010
2:08 pm

DOB-

Didn’t see those comments from Reznor, but I have heard him praise Cash’s version :)

tiger297

February 24th, 2010
2:09 pm

I believe Dark Star = Epcot Center looks like the Death Star from Star Wars…

ugaaccountant

February 24th, 2010
2:10 pm

Cash’s Hurt was genius. It’s what made me appreciate him as an artist.

TnBrian

February 24th, 2010
2:10 pm

What do they feed these kids? It’s like if a guy’s 6′0, 200 lbs than he’s small. So many of baseball’s rising stars are huge. Heyward,Freeman,Hanson,Bruce,Gordon,etc.

DOB, is Heyward in any way arrogant or is it more confidence in your opinion? Thanks.

bigchiefrg

February 24th, 2010
2:10 pm

Something that I would like explained if anyone can take a stab…If Saito was not in the game (and assuming he doesnt need a translator), could he go to the mound with Roger to talk to KK and translate if needed. Now I understand that he needs to be in the bull pen and all that jazz but I dont think it would be a problem to get from the dugout to the pen in most parts right? What are the rules side of that?

Daslied

February 24th, 2010
2:12 pm

DOB, I did hear that. Nice of Trent to say – it’s got to be hard to admit such a thing. I’m fascinated by this sort of debate – cover vs. original. I’ve had years-long argument with a friend over “Song To The Siren” by Tim Buckley. He prefers the This Mortal Coil version; I think he’s nuts.

Ah, important topics…

Smitty

February 24th, 2010
2:12 pm

EAK: I’m pretty sure it isn’t in Kissimee, the Braves spring training camp is held on the ESPN wide world of sports complex which is a part of Disney World…I’m not sure if Dark Star is the city or what not but that is the location DOB has been

thinbreakness

February 24th, 2010
2:13 pm

bigchief-
I’m guessing only McDowell can go otherwise the GT student may have made trips to the mound last year which is something I’d love to see.

Smitty

February 24th, 2010
2:15 pm

TnBrian: Its been said the Heyward is a very respectable kid he knows that he has an amazing talent but he isn’t the type to go and tell you he does he just lets what he does on the field do the talking

Steve McP

February 24th, 2010
2:15 pm

My recollection is that is was Boyer who had one at bat in left field because Bobby wanted to get match-ups with left and right handed hitters and was about out of pitching in the pen.

Ross

February 24th, 2010
2:15 pm

Damn DOB, you show a little too much interest in male “presentation”. Well I hope JS’s tatmania isn’t something that will be in my face constantly. I would be happy to be rid of him at this point for whatever he’s worth. I’m sort of sick of narcissists.

Larry

February 24th, 2010
2:15 pm

Cash might have taken over Hurt, but NIN’s “The Fragile” is an absolute masterpiece.

/Mets suck

David O'Brien

February 24th, 2010
2:16 pm

Braves signed 11 zero-to-three guys today, but none of them are the potentially interesting trio (Hanson, Jurrjens, Escobar).

Signed today: RHPs Manny Acosta, Jesse Chavez, Kyle Cofield, Jeff Lyman, Steve Marek, James Parr and Todd Redman; LHPs Jo-Jo Reyes and Jonny Venters; catcher Clint Sammons, and outfielder Gregor Blanco

W

February 24th, 2010
2:16 pm

Darkstar is just DOB’s nickname for the whole Disney, ESPN conglomeration down at kissimee

Fischerking04

February 24th, 2010
2:17 pm

“yeah, which is why cash’s version is superior. thats what its all about with cash. the music is good, but its not mind blowing. its basic, blue collar, everyday and real. cash’s delivery is what its all about in all of his music. thats why cash is who he is.”

I can only say that each person has their own opinion so many times. I even menitioned that Reznor even prefers the Cash version. I simply preferred the NiN version. Cash’s version was a stripped down version that lent more to the singing and the original was much more technical.

This is a unique one because I usually wouldn’t prefer the techy version. In this case I did.

civilized white trash

February 24th, 2010
2:18 pm

sidslidkid

February 24th, 2010
2:19 pm

It’s good to see Jesse Chavez on that list… not as much as it would be to see the big 3 though.

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