Blanco optioned to Class AAA, more cuts coming

Viera, Fla. – Outfielder Gregor Blanco was optioned to Class AAA Gwinnett on Sunday, reducing the Braves’ camp roster to 36.

Manager Bobby Cox said there would be more cuts on Monday as the Braves continue reducing shaping what will be their 25-man opening day roster. They opened camp just over five weeks ago with 58 players on hand including 18 non-roster invitees.

Blanco hit .241 (7-for-29) with no extra-base hits, six walks and four strikeouts in 20 games. With rookie Jason Heyward in right field and Melky Cabrera and Matt Diaz likely to split left-field duties, there’s no room for a fifth outfielder who plays no other positions.

Among the Braves’ bench players, Eric Hinske has corner-outfield experience and infielder Omar Infante can play center field. Cabrera figures to be the primary backup to center fielder Nate McLouth.

Utility infielders Joe Thurston and Brooks Conrad are competing for the last bench job.

68 comments Add your comment

bravesfaninNashville

March 28th, 2010
12:25 pm

Jinx (formerly known as woogidy)

March 28th, 2010
12:35 pm

Thurston or Conrad is the toughest call. I’d go with Brooksy. Close call.

Roja

March 28th, 2010
12:36 pm

I certainly hope that Manny Acosta isn’t still competing for a position on the Braves staff!

GovClintonTyree

March 28th, 2010
12:41 pm

Can Conrad play short in a pinch? I know we have Infante to back up Yunel. If he can do that, my vote would be for Conrad. Switch hitter, versatile, helped us win a few ball games last year.

bravefaninok

March 28th, 2010
12:49 pm

12:36 pm

I certainly hope that Manny Acosta isn’t still competing for a position on the Braves staff!

Manny will be competing in gwinnette

VP

March 28th, 2010
12:50 pm

Roja,

Manny Acosta was already optioned down to AAA.

DawgB

March 28th, 2010
12:50 pm

Acosta was sent down yesterday.

bubba

March 28th, 2010
1:07 pm

dang it, where is Greg Norton when you need him, Greg would have made Bobby Sox’s decision more difficult…Just think, if all the palyers like Greg Norton attend Bobby Sox retirement party who will be in attendance…

Keith Lockhart

March 28th, 2010
1:07 pm

I’m available. Veteran Presence included.

tnt

March 28th, 2010
1:21 pm

what about freeman?

rick11p

March 28th, 2010
1:30 pm

Jesse Garcia another former poodle, mascot, etc.

Chipper Murphy

March 28th, 2010
1:39 pm

Thurston has done much better than Conrad at the plate the past couple of weeks – he should get the job. The problem is the 40 man roster thing. Freeman should spend the year he needs in the minors for development, so he can bang it out big in 2011!

Chris

March 28th, 2010
2:03 pm

If at all the braves want to cut anyone cut jesse chavez! I’ve seen him play and his pitching is horrible! He has a good speed of pitches but he has absolutely no control. He is erratic he doesn’t have the makeup of a braves bullpen pitcher. If at all anyone should go to the gwinnett braves it should be him! His era in spring is 18.00! Thats crazy! If he wants a winning record he should go to the Yankees at least they’ll give him run support!

M. Colquette

March 28th, 2010
2:20 pm

I’m almost afraid to ask this for fear it may bring him back, but what actually happened to Greg Norton? Was he simply released or sent back to Rome to works some kinks out of his swing? :)

Atlantafanatic

March 28th, 2010
2:29 pm

Im pretty sure Norton retired. As for Chavez, he had a solid year last season (for a reliever) an era just over 4 and 73 appearances. The more decent arms we got the better. Moylan’s great but i dont like seeing any reliever go over 80 appearances.

Cornfuzed

March 28th, 2010
2:30 pm

Norton’s contract expired and he was put out of his professional misery. I’m pretty sure nobody else had any use for him.

Cornfuzed

March 28th, 2010
2:33 pm

I really like the way the roster is shaping up. Good depth and flexibility, and no huge liabilities as long as Nate can start hitting.

Poorbrave

March 28th, 2010
2:43 pm

Milky has looked good in SP. Hope he gets alot of playing time and gets to hit lead-off .

Chris, Chavez will be ok, he’s just a little slower getting started in spring but can be a workhorse.
Thanks DOB & Carol for great coverage during SP. Looking forward to April 4th.

a reader

March 28th, 2010
2:52 pm

Do Chavez and Reyes have options left?

If so, I assume they start the season with the club but one (probably Chavez since Reyes is LH) is optioned out when Proctor is ready.

BravesFanLostInOhio

March 28th, 2010
2:52 pm

I think the Norton cracks are getting old (yeah, yeah, just like Norton)
But, seriously…

bigstack19

March 28th, 2010
2:53 pm

Why is everybody still beating up on Greg Norton? He was the heart and soul of this team the last two seasons and the best bat I have seen in all my 35 plus years on this planet. The Braves will go 0-162 without Greg Norton there to bail them out. Everyone is so high on Heyward, but he is nothing compared to Greg Norton. Norton may be the single greatest player I have ever seen. I would take half of Greg Norton over anyone else on this team. So lay off Norton. After all, he is so great they named a computer anti-virus after him. The Norton anti-virus is the greatest anti-virus ever!

Nite Owl

March 28th, 2010
2:58 pm

@ bigstack:

We’ll be all right if we pick up McAfee and the Czech kid Spybot.

I thinks it’s about time to start the season. Getting punchy over here.

bigstack19

March 28th, 2010
3:02 pm

Norton had to retire because his greatness was overshadowing every other player in the majors and all the greats of the past. Norton is so great that Joe Morgan actually stopped talking about himself for a second to acknowledge Norton’s greatness.

Josh

March 28th, 2010
3:13 pm

Poorbrave, the Braves first game is April 5th. Just sayin’…

Braves20

March 28th, 2010
3:15 pm

One down (Acosta) one (Chavez) to go. He probably sealed his fate with another three run inning today.

Conyers Braves Fan

March 28th, 2010
3:26 pm

I am glad that Bobby and Frank make the decisions on who to cut and keep instead of us fans who know the least about which players will make the team the most competitive.

Bernie

March 28th, 2010
3:26 pm

It,s funny how Blanco was all they had as far as leadoff hitters and now he’s going back to the monors. Come on guys give him a chance to get a starting job. Sure will be nice when maybe things will be different in Atlanta with a new manager and not so old men playing the game. Atlanta you got to spend a little money to get good players. I”m sure the new closer will be fine when the season starts but can he hold up all year. You could have spent a little money for the future and not just for now. Please some one such as Arthur Blank buy the BRAVES.

ASHEVILLE DAWG

March 28th, 2010
3:30 pm

Someone please lead bigstack19 away from the crack pipe……just saying………………..

Nite Owl

March 28th, 2010
3:42 pm

I know, Asheville Dawg. You have to be smoking crack to think that any power in the universe could make Joe Morgan stop talking about himself.

Michael

March 28th, 2010
3:48 pm

Bernie, are you a functional retard or do you seriously have no understanding of baseball at all?

Roja

March 28th, 2010
4:14 pm

Sorry, I didn’t see my email from Frank about sending Acosta down until this afternoon. I need to check it more often in case he needs additional advice on who else to send down.

Bye Bye Bobby

March 28th, 2010
4:26 pm

If Norton is gone, then who will be the Bobby Cox go to guy/ Obviously it will have to be someone that sux and hitting below .200.

The Grinch

March 28th, 2010
4:33 pm

Bye Bye Bobby, the fact that Melky is backing up McLouth and not the other way around should answer your question to an extent.

Greg Norton

March 28th, 2010
5:19 pm

I have retired as a player. I am a minor league hitting instructor now for the Florida Marlins. Not sure how you guys didn’t know this. It is true google it. I have always had a prowess for hitting.

Welb

March 28th, 2010
5:20 pm

Let the season begin and the talking to end…….PLAYBALL PLEASE!!!

MtnDawg

March 28th, 2010
5:23 pm

At least the Marlins are in the same division! Although, I would rather Norton coach the Mets or the Phils. We could watch as they crash and burn…

AJ

March 28th, 2010
5:25 pm

Infante and Hinske will be far better off the bench than Norton, so we should be better this year than last. I still think a move will be made for a bat in CF or LF by the deadline.

JoD

March 28th, 2010
5:32 pm

The Donk is in for another year of managerial duties as the skipper of the braves. I wonder if the donk will make stupid decisions per the usual.

Train Wreck Bystander

March 28th, 2010
5:39 pm

Greg Norton is the hitting coach for the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs (the Marlins AAA team)

I’d make this pretty, but I forget how to do that in WordPress:

http://neworleans.zephyrs.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100218&content_id=8091406&vkey=pr_t588&fext=.jsp&sid=t588

JohnSmith

March 28th, 2010
5:41 pm

Thurston seems to be doing the better job of the two this spring. And, while he’s not exactly a shoo-in, consider MLB’s recent push to put more African-American players in the game…

TampaGator

March 28th, 2010
5:58 pm

Being African-American (or “American of African decent” has always sounded better to me) will have nothing to do with it. I think Thurston will win the job because he has a better bat off the bench…and he has more experience in the big leagues. I like Conrad a lot though. Great in the clubhouse…and Cox likes those kinds of players. Maybe they will trade one of them before breaking to head north. By the way, I wonder what Heyward will look like in Yankess or Phillie pinstripes in a few years???? The Braves, like the most of the rest the teams in MLB, are now officially the minor league system for the Yankees, Red Sox, or the Phillies. And many on hear sound like Dawg fans….living in past glory and not in the now. The Phillies will dominate the East for years to come just like the Gators will dominate the East for years to come.

TampaGator

March 28th, 2010
5:59 pm

That should have been “here” and not “hear”

Braves20

March 28th, 2010
6:03 pm

First it was Mets fans invading our blog. Now we have to deal with the two-year dynasty that is the Phils.

The American Dream

March 28th, 2010
6:04 pm

Wow! This is yet another move that will sink the ATL Braves. Blanco is a leader on the field and in the clubhouse. He has the biggest stick I have ever seem. It rivals Eddie Perez’s Louisville Slugger. Chipper is going to miss having this stick bating behind him throughout this season. Without Blanco the next biggest stick on the team is Billy Wagner but he is threw his back out last week in Midtown and is unlikely to take on the 2-hole anytime soon. Now Marak Bradley won’t have his favorite Johnson to stare at when he interviews the players. I have heard that Mark likes to don a towel and interview the players in the showers. I am crushed by this news. The last time I felt this bad was when I was defeated by the British Bulldog in a cage match in Homa, Louisiana before a packed gym with about 125 folks. Now let’s all get funky like a monkey.

Urban Cryer

March 28th, 2010
6:09 pm

Tampa…let’s go find some geeky sportswriter to threaten. It’s a hoot!

Chris

March 28th, 2010
6:12 pm

2 all u phillies phans: 1 world series title doesn’t mean a crap! Can you get 5 like the braves did? Don’t think so u guys got a terrible bullpen. If your bullpen is terrible what was the point of improving your starting pitching when ur bullpen can’t finish the game off!

Mr Me

March 28th, 2010
6:27 pm

Tampa Gaytor don’t know where you get your facts from but I haven’t seen anyone living in past glory on this blog. In fact you’re the only one living in the past with your beloved gaytors. This is a Braves blog so stay off it unless you are a Braves fan, loser. But one thing I do agree on is that MLB needs to regulate the spending indifferences of their teams. I see Heyward more along the lines of Mauer where he would stay with his hometown team. On another note I see Nate starting the first few games just because he’s the incumbent starter but if he doesn’t start producing then it’s going to be Melky. Also I see Conrad making the cut just because of the spark he provided last year and because of switch-hitting. It looks like a promising year for the Braves as long as the Vets stay healthy. Can’t wait for opening day.

rememberthe11

March 28th, 2010
6:35 pm

we can all thanks our lucky stars for edgar renteria, without which there would be no j.jurgens. aye caramba

Ken Stallings

March 28th, 2010
6:43 pm

Pretty classless of the few here who speak ill of Greg Norton. That guy was a class ballplayer and gave the Braves everything he had to give. Two seasons ago he was one of the best pinch hitters in the NL. Yes, he wore down from age last season, but that eventually happens to everyone.

I am pretty sure he never held a gun to anyone’s head to suit up. Further, he’s not on the roster this season, so let it go people!

Ken Stallings

March 28th, 2010
6:45 pm

The reference to Jurgens in terms of Renteria might echo something in the near future regarding the arm we traded Vasquez to the Yankees for.

Scott

March 28th, 2010
10:06 pm

Please don’t mention the word “Greg Norton” again. He has got to be one of the worst Braves players of the decade.

Scott

March 28th, 2010
10:08 pm

Even though he was a great clubhouse guy, he was still a crummy ball player

KG

March 28th, 2010
10:08 pm

I hear Keth Lockhart is coming out of retirement to take Norton’s place.

Ken Stallings, chill out. Anyone who gets paid $800,000 a year to be horrible at their job has to expect to take a little abuse.

mister d

March 28th, 2010
10:53 pm

what number is heyward wearing this year? 71? or is it changing?

Dave

March 28th, 2010
11:13 pm

All other off-season moves aside, the Braves will be significantly better simply due to the absence of: Greg Norton, Jeff Bennett, and Cruddy Carlyle.

bigstack19

March 28th, 2010
11:17 pm

Heyward will be 22. Same as Walt Weiss when he played here. Also, Greg Norton. Just sounds good rolling off your lips doesn’t it?

third strike

March 29th, 2010
1:21 am

What do you do with an elephant who has 3 balls? Walk him and pitch to the rhino.

I hope Bobby goes out as a winner of the WS. We can always hope can’t we? I am looking forward to Heyward in right. What a change for free swinging Jeff F. I love Francour but it was just being blind to not notice his strike outs and swing at bad pitches.

Go BRAVES!

A. Dylan Thomas

March 29th, 2010
2:22 am

Tampa the phils arent even close to spending what the yankees and mets spend on payroll. the red sox mets and yanks are the ones eating up big free agnets the phils still have to be somewhat fiscally conservative especially since the fans in philly are very fickle. I think the braves will be re-signing heyward just as chipper jones retires and his big salary comes off the payroll so no need to fear he will be a dagger in the heart of the phils for many years to come.Btw your gators looked great in the championship game.keep watching and remember this is no crying in baseball.

Grumpy

March 29th, 2010
6:15 am

Greg Norton is currently a hitting coach for the Marlins’ AAA team in New Orleans.

Seriously. A hitting coach. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!

Baba O'Riley

March 29th, 2010
6:17 am

“We will have no problem trading Soriano. There is a good market for closers” -Frankie Wren

Welcome aboard………..Jesse “Rudy Stein” chavez

Turkey Trotski

March 29th, 2010
7:13 am

They need to cut Stalin,he’s a killer out there.

Chris from the Rock

March 29th, 2010
8:08 am

I wouldn’t be shocked if Reyes makes the team now, with Chavez and Proctor getting lit up again yesterday. I’ve been very critical of Jo-Jo in the past (like most of us here), but he could be decent in the pen. Maybe we won’t nibble so much.

JUST SAYIN'

March 29th, 2010
9:49 am

For those who keep hammering Greg Norton, why don’t you try calling up your memory just one year back? He was one of the top pinch hitters in the majors, hitting .246 for the Braves with 7 homers in 171 AB’s. He also hit 10 doubles and drove in 31 runs that year. Here is his line for 2008.

Greg Norton, 2008, AB 171, hits 42, 2B 10, HR 7, RBI 31, BA.246, OBP.361, SLG.427, OPS.788

He played 13 years in the major leagues with a BA of .249 almost all of them as a pinch hitter.

Coming off the bench cold like he did his numbers in 2008 were good and we all praised him then. His age caught up with him but that is no reason to dump on him like some mangy cur dog.

Cecil34

March 29th, 2010
10:00 am

Ok, boys, let Norton go – most likely there will be a few dudes on this year’s roster we can bang on for hitting around the Mendoza line before too long…

Greg Norton

March 29th, 2010
10:09 am

Don’t listen to Cecil34….keep my story and tradition alive! I’m an inspiration for all people who can’t hit a baseball and want to play major league baseball….keep the faith Atlanta, who knows I may be back on the bench come September.

Julio Franco

March 29th, 2010
10:31 am

That’s enough talk about Greg Norton. I have been working hard in the Mexican over-50 league and am ready to come back to Atlanta to claim my spot next to Bobby as the veteran pinch hitter. My biceps are bigger than the Commodore’s head and I can show Chipper, Wagner and Saito how to keep those old bodies in shape for a long season.

Lyman

March 29th, 2010
10:35 am

yes, leave northon alone, he was an excellent bench player for a lot of years, just
played one too many years is all. he who hit 250+ in the majors throw the firs rock

Braves Dave from Chattanooga

March 29th, 2010
12:18 pm

If Norton has retired they could go get Greg McAfee. He is Norton’s brother-in-law and he too was so good that they named an anti-virus program after him. McAfee would provide another power bat off the bench, albeit not as powerful as Greg’s …
LOL!

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