Archive for May, 2010

McCann hoping to miss only one day with quad strain

Miami – Brian McCann was out of the lineup Thursday night against the Marlins after straining his right quadriceps muscle running the bases the night before. But the Braves catcher and cleanup hitter thought he might only have to miss one day.

He said he was available to pinch hit Thursday in the series finale against the Marlins.

“I don’t think it’s going to be anything other than today,” McCann said Thursday afternoon before going to do some light jogging, then hitting in the indoor batting cage.

Manager Bobby Cox might choose to give McCann a little longer, as he often does, saying “maybe” when it was suggested McCann might only miss one game.

McCann injured his quadriceps running between first and second base on Yunel Escobar’s fly out in the fourth inning Wednesday night. He thinks he caught it before a “tweak” turned into a “pull.” He stayed in the game until coming out for a pinch runner in the seventh.

“I’m almost lucky that I didn’t have to air it out (on Escobar’s …

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Next for Braves – Lowe vs. Duke on Friday

Series preview: vs Pirates

When (TV): 7:35 p.m. Friday (WPCH); 7:10 p.m. Saturday (SPSO); 1:35 p.m. Sunday (FSSO)

Radio: 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Probable starting pitchers:

Friday: Braves RH Derek Lowe (6-4, 5.30 ERA) vs. LH Zach Duke (3-4, 4.47 ERA)

Saturday: Braves RH Kris Medlen (1-1, 2.57 ERA) vs. LH Brian Burres (2-2, 5.40 ERA)

Sunday: Braves RH Kenshin Kawakami (0-7, 4.93 ERA) vs. LH Paul Maholm (3-4, 3.98 ERA)

Friday’s matchup:

• Since his seven-run outing vs. the Phillies, Lowe has allowed three or fewer earned runs in his last three starts, including two in five innings of a 4-2 win over the Pirates on Saturday. He’s a perfect 8-0 in eight career starts against the Pirates with a 2.96 ERA.

• Duke helped the Pirates to their only win in last weekend’s series against the Braves in Pittsburgh by holding the Braves to one unearned run in seven innings. Jason Heyward, Brian McCann and Chipper Jones were out of the lineup though. Jones is 11-for-21 (.524) off Duke for his career.

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Escobar high on Braves new Cuban OF signee

Miami – The Braves might not be sure yet what they have in newly-signed 30-year-old Cuban outfielder Yasser Gomez, but shortstop Yunel Escobar does.

Escobar, 27, said Thursday he has been friends with Gomez since he was 8-years old and roomed with him every year that they both played for the Cuban national team.

“He was the best player on the team,” Escobar said through an interpreter. “A lot of talent with the bat.”

Gomez started in center field on the 2000 Cuban Olympic team in Sydney. Escobar compared him to Boston left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, a .295 hitter in his fourth season with the Red Sox.

Gomez defected from Cuba in 2008 through Mexico to California. He traveled to New York and ultimately to Miami, where he lived with Escobar. He’s now in the Dominican Republic where he hit .311 in winter ball there this past winter.

Escobar said Gomez told him now, looking back, he wish he had defected sooner.

“If he would have listened to me, he would have been here many years …

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It’s time for Huddy, and hunting the Phils

Miami – Well, well. Opportunity is knocking, kiddos. The Phillies are flopping right now, and here’s the door: the Braves are only 2 ½ games back in second place behind the Phillies, and Tim Hudson is on the mound tonight against the Marlins with a chance to take the series and make some noise.

Not only has Hudson had a great month (4-0 with a 1.26 ERA), not to mention a very solid season (5-1, 2.09 ERA), and oh by the way, a great stretch at the plate (he’s hitting .261, had a three-game hitting streak and is 6-for-his-last-17 with two RBIs), he is quite the Fisherman.

In his career, Hudson is 8-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 15 starts against the Marlins. This is the team he beat going into surgery – he had six shutout innings against them down here with his elbow all but falling off on July 23, 2008. Then he beat them his first start back from Tommy John last Sept. 1, holding them to two runs in 5 1/3 innings.

He did get a no decision in Sept. 29 against the Marlins in Atlanta. So, …

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Braves postgame comments from Wednesday night

Postgame comments following the Braves 7-3 win over the Marlins Wednesday to even the series 1-1.

Tommy Hanson on his outing:

“Today was one of those days I didn’t have my best stuff, didn’t have my best control I just tried to battle through it and keep trying to throw strikes and make pitches,” Hanson said. “I was just trying to find my release point on all my pitches, maybe trying to be a little bit too fine, trying to pick corners a little bit which I’m not that kind of pitcher. I need to go out there and be aggressive and attack those guys. Once I got into that mode, everything started to work out a little better. Really it was all about trying to find my release point on all my pitches.”

Hanson on his command:

“I knew I was spinning off a little bit and that’s why a lot of those sliders and fastballs and curveballs were out of the zone,” Hanson said. “I just tried to keep my line and do the best I can to get them in there.”

Bobby Cox on Hanson:

“Hanson started off with …

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Stat of the day – The Big Inning

The Braves rallied to beat the Marlins Wednesday with six runs in the seventh inning. It was the fifth time this season the Braves have scored five or more runs in one inning.

Date             Opponent             Inning                            Key hit

May 26     Marlins          six-run seventh               Troy Glaus two-run single

May 20     Reds             seven-run ninth                  Brooks Conrad walk-off grand slam

May 10    Brewers               six-run sixth                          Martin Prado grand slam

April 16    Rockies                seven-run second                Eric Hinske two-run single

April 5    Cubs                               six-run first                    Jason Heyward three-run homer

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McCann questionable for Thursday with quad strain

Miami – Brian McCann strained his right quadriceps muscle running the bases in the fourth inning Wednesday night and is questionable for Thursday’s series finale against the Marlins.

McCann tweaked the quadriceps running between first and second on Yunel Escobar’s lineout to center in the fourth. McCann played for three more innings but left the game after his run-scoring single in the seventh inning, worried he might aggravate it further.

“It’s a six-to-seven week thing if you tear so I’m going to be careful with it,” McCann said after the game. “I don’t want to pull it, so I’m going to hope to go. I’m going to show up tomorrow and hope to go.”

Troy Glaus also left the game in the seventh inning. Manager Bobby Cox said he’s been nursing a sore foot.

“I try to give him a breather as much as I can,” Cox said. “I hate to take him out because he’s turned into a real good defensive first baseman.”

Continue reading McCann questionable for Thursday with quad strain »

Next for Braves – Hudson vs. Nolasco on Thursday

Next for Braves

Who: at Marlins

When: 7:10 p.m. Thursday

TV; radio: SPSO; 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Probable starters: Braves RH Tim Hudson (5-1, 2.09 ERA) vs. RH Ricky Nolasco (4-3, 4.50 ERA)

Thursday’s matchup:

• Hudson is 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in five May starts and coming off eight shutout innings against the Pirates on Friday. He’s 8-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 15 career starts against the Marlins including his last win before elbow surgery and first win after.

• Nolasco struck out 16 in 7 2/3 innings in his last start against the Braves on Sept. 30. He went 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in four starts against Atlanta last year. He’s coming off an eight-run pounding by the White Sox on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

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Cox still confident in Chavez

Miami – Braves manager Bobby Cox raised a few eyebrows Tuesday night when he sent reliever Jesse Chavez back out to pitch a second inning. Chavez gave up three runs in the eighth inning of a 6-4 loss to the Marlins.

Cox acknowledged Wednesday that’s a spot, down one run, where he normally would have used Kris Medlen. But Medlen is in the rotation now, pitching in place of the injured Jair Jurrjens, leaving Cox to count more on Chavez, despite his 7.71 ERA.

“I didn’t want to use (Takashi) Saito at all last night and (Peter) Moylan and (Eric) O’Flaherty only if we were tied or ahead,” Cox said. “Jesse pitched a great first inning. He struck out (Hanley) Ramirez to start the second.”

Cox thinks Chavez has shown great improvement since spring training and reiterated Wednesday afternoon the confidence he has in the pitcher the Braves acquired from Tampa in the Rafael Soriano trade.

Chavez had multi-run outings in three of his last five appearances entering Wednesday. But Cox sees …

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Escobar gets first multi-hit game in nearly a month – updated

Miami – For the first time since returning from the disabled list and one of the few times this season, shortstop Yunel Escobar looked like himself at the plate Wednesday night.

Escobar snapped out of a 3-for-35 stretch in his first 10 games back from a strained groin by going 2-for-3 with a walk, a run and his first RBI since April 16. It was his first multi-hit game since April 29.

Escobar started and finished the six-run rally in the seventh inning of the Braves’ 7-3 win over the Marlins, first on an infield hit and then with a run-scoring single to left.

He got as many hits in the seventh inning as he had in the previous seven games. But Escobar said afterward, he didn’t feel that different at the plate.

“I’ve been hitting the same since I got back; I just needed to find the holes,” Escobar said with teammate Gregor Blanco interpreting. “I tried to be myself. Today I got my luck back. I’ve just got to keep playing hard and doing the little things to help the team …

Continue reading Escobar gets first multi-hit game in nearly a month – updated »