Archive for May, 2010

Minor impressing in Double-A Mississippi

Miami – Not too far down the road in Double-A Mississippi, the Braves have their eye on first round draft pick Mike Minor, who is on a strikeout tear.

The 22-year-old left-hander the Braves drafted out of Vanderbilt with the seventh overall pick last June is second in the minors with 72 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings over nine starts. Only Charles Furbush, a Detroit Tigers’ prospect out of LSU in high A ball, has more with 80 strikeouts in nine starts.

Minor reached double digits in strikeouts in three of his past five starts, including 11 in eight innings on May 16 and 11 in five innings on April 30.

Overall, Minor is 1-3 with a 3.44 ERA in nine starts for Mississippi. He makes his next start Thursday night at Mobile.

The strikeout totals might be surprising, considering he was billed as a control pitcher out of Vanderbilt and not especially overpowering, but not to Kurt Kemp, Braves director of player development.

“This kid has very good stuff,” Kemp said Wednesday. “He had …

Continue reading Minor impressing in Double-A Mississippi »

Talking elephant in the room – Chipper’s woes

Miami – Having just returned to feeling normal after a run this morning in the muggy heat, let me say I’m glad Tommy Hanson picked his start in Atlanta to feel dizzy and dehydrated. He wouldn’t make it, well, five outs down here!

That was pretty bizarre to see Hanson struggle like he did last Thursday in his eight-run outing against the Reds. And it made sense after the game to find out he’d been sick and wasn’t feeling well. He’s back to himself now and will need to be tonight against the Marlins, who just reclaimed second place in the NL East.

Hanson went 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the Marlins last year, allowing four earned runs in 12 innings. I said yesterday you had to figure advantage Marlins in the Anibal Sanchez vs. Kenshin Kawakami matchup last night, but maybe now this thing tilts back toward the Braves with Hanson tonight vs. Nate Robertson (assuming he’s himself, of course) and Tim Hudson vs. Ricky Nolasco on Thursday.

As bad as things felt last …

Continue reading Talking elephant in the room – Chipper’s woes »

Stat of the Day – Kawakami’s 0-7

After losing Tuesday night to the Marlins, Kenshin Kawakami became the first Braves starter since Pascual Perez in 1985 to lose his first seven decisions in a season.

Perez went 0-7 before breaking through with a win over the Phillies on July 14. Perez went 1-13 with a 6.14 ERA in 1985, his last season with the Braves. They released him and he signed with the Montreal Expos.

Continue reading Stat of the Day – Kawakami’s 0-7 »

Braves postgame quotes after Tuesday’s loss to Marlins

Kenshin Kawakami gets little run support on the mound, fails to keep a narrow lead, falls to 0-7 in a 6-4 loss to the Marlins on Tuesday night. The Braves could have gotten him off the hook but went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position including two fruitless at-bats by Chipper Jones, one in the first and one in the seventh. Enough of my recounting….on to the quotes from the post-game clubhouse.

Bobby Cox on Kawakami/game:

“He kept us in the ballgame again,” Cox said. “We made an error in the first inning for a run. I thought he pitched good. They hit a couple balls good and that was about it. He was out of gas. It’s the first hot night we’ve had with the humidity and everything. I think he got tired. But we had to pinch hit anyway. He did a great job staying in there and doing what he did. We had some chances. Chipper lined into the out. That’s as good as he can hit a ball. First inning he hit a line drive to the second baseman for a double play one-hopper. I don’t know …

Continue reading Braves postgame quotes after Tuesday’s loss to Marlins »

Next for Braves – Hanson vs. Robertson on Wednesday

Next for Braves

Who: at Marlins

When: 7:10 p.m. today

TV; radio: SPSO; 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Probable starters: Braves RH Tommy Hanson (3-3, 4.18 ERA) vs. LH Nate Robertson (4-4, 4.56 ERA)

Today’s matchup:

• Hanson is coming off his career-worst start when he gave up eight runs in 1 2/3 innings to the Reds, including a Joey Votto grand slam, while battling dizziness from feeling ill. Hanson’s ERA climbed from 2.88 to 4.18 in one fell swoop.

• Robertson gave up four runs and four walks without striking out a batter in six innings of a loss to the Cardinals in his last start. Left-handers are hitting only .172 against him, while right-handers are hitting .297 off him.

Continue reading Next for Braves – Hanson vs. Robertson on Wednesday »

Heyward back in Braves lineup, sixth in All-Star voting too – updated

Miami – Tuesday was a good day all around for Braves rookie Jason Heyward, who not only got back into the Braves’ lineup despite his sore thumb, but broke into the first All-Star balloting at sixth among National League outfielders.

The top three vote-getters in the outfield will start the July 13 All-Star game in Anaheim. If he’s not voted in, he could be chosen as a reserve by NL Manager Charlie Manuel.

Heyward is making a case to become the first rookie outfielder to make the National League All-Star team since Tim Raines in 1981.

“It’s cool,” Heyward said Tuesday. “To be considered (among) some of the best at the halfway point of the season, I think it’s an honor….I’ve only seen (All-Star games) on TV so it looks like it’s fun to be there.”

Heyward had been scratched from Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh after his sore left thumb swelled up to where he had a hard time gripping a bat. Heyward first injured his thumb sliding into third base on May 14. He had been able to play …

Continue reading Heyward back in Braves lineup, sixth in All-Star voting too – updated »

Hanson eager to put last start behind him

Miami – Tommy Hanson plans to take the mound Wednesday night in Florida with a clean slate, mentally, and feeling much better physically, thanks.

Hanson allowed a career-high eight earned runs in a career-low 1 2/3 innings in his last outing against the Reds, while battling dizziness. The Braves pulled off a remarkable rally from 8-0 down early in that game and 9-3 in the ninth inning to win on Brooks Conrad’s improbable walk-off grand slam home run.

That left Hanson as the only Braves player feeling anything less than total elation about that game. But Hanson can chalk it up to not feeling well and put it behind him.

Hanson said he did not watch any video of that game, like he normally does the day after a start.

“I know that’s not how I usually pitch, and that’s not usually how I do, so I don’t want to think too deep into it,” Hanson said. “Just forget about it and move onto the next one.”

Hanson said his stomach had been bothering him a day or two before that start. By the …

Continue reading Hanson eager to put last start behind him »

Heyward is sixth among OFs in NL All-Star voting

Miami – Braves rookie Jason Heyward was sixth among National League outfielders in votes for the All-Star game in the first tally released on Tuesday.

The top three vote-getters in the outfield will start the July 13 All-Star game in Anaheim. NL Manager Charlie Manuel of the Phillies, will choose reserves.

Here are the results among National League outfielders:

1. Ryan Braun, Brewers 423,834

2. Jayson Werth, Philies 365,402

3. Shane Victorino, Phillies 348,841

4. Andre Ethier, Dodgers 316,383

5. Matt Holliday, Cardinals 309,463

6. Jason Heyward, Braves 305,577

NL catchers:

1. Yadier Molina, Cardinals 316,795

2. Carlos Ruiz, Phillies, 259,227,

3. Ivan Rodriguez, Nationals 247,998

4. Brian McCann, Braves 203,377

NL second basemen:

1. Chase Utley, Phillies, 687,724

2. Rickie Weeks, Brewers 169,941

3. Martin Prado, Braves, 134.993

4. Kelly Johnson, D-backs, 118,342

Continue reading Heyward is sixth among OFs in NL All-Star voting »

Time for the Braves to do a little Fishing

(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien this Marlins series.)

Miami – Well I must be in the right place. The dashboard thermometer in the rental car read 87 degrees. At least two blue-haired drivers pulled in front of me at about 20 mph down Highway 1. And then there was the bright, I mean Sony walkman yellow, Ferrari that passed me at one point.

Yep, must be in South Florida.

The land of muggy, warm weather, leathery skin and temperamental shortstops….Hey, I might not ever write that particular combination of words again. But yeah, the Braves are here to play the Marlins for three games in what figures to be an interesting series. And no, not because of Hanley Ramirez. Issues over his failure to hustle after a ball he booted into foul territory seem to have largely died down.

(Actually I think the last time I was here, he and Dan Uggla had just gotten into it over Ramirez taking himself out of a game with a hamstring injury.)

It should be interesting …

Continue reading Time for the Braves to do a little Fishing »

Braves DL Clevlen, recall OF Blanco from Gwinnett – updated

Miami – Brent Clevlen’s stay on the Braves bench was short-lived as the backup outfielder had to go to the disabled list Tuesday with a sprained right big toe. The Braves recalled outfielder Gregor Blanco from Triple-A Gwinnett.

Clevlen, who started on Sunday in Pittsburgh while rookie Jason Heyward rested his sore thumb, injured his right big toe crashing into the wall in foul territory to rob Lastings Milledge in the fourth inning.

Clevlen was pinch hit for in the 10th, abbreviating his first start as a Brave after an 0-for-3 day. His stay on the roster was cut short too, lasting only 10 days.

Clevlen had been called up on May 15 to replace Matt Diaz, who had gone on the disabled list with a thumb injury. Clevlen went 1-for-4 with two runs scored and played in three games.

“He made a great play,” manager Bobby Cox said. “I won’t forget that.”

In his place, the Braves turned to a familiar face on their 40-man roster in Blanco, who started 114 games as a rookie in 2008.

Blanco …

Continue reading Braves DL Clevlen, recall OF Blanco from Gwinnett – updated »