Archive for July, 2010

Venters’ suspension rescinded entirely (story updated)

CINCINNATI – The Braves got a got a welcome piece of  good news Friday when standout reliever Jonny Venters’ four-game suspension was rescinded entirely.

The decision came three days after a hearing in Washington, D.C., where the Braves appealed the suspension the rookie left-hander received after hitting Milwaukee slugger Prince Fielder with a pitch on July 17.

Venters continued to pitch during the appeals process, and the Braves hoped he wouldn’t have to miss all or most of a three-game series that began Friday at Cincinnati, the National League Central leader.

“I was ready for it to get over with,” said Venters, who found out just after noon Friday when teammate Mike Dunn sent him a text message congratulating him. “I was kind of down about it the last few days.  It was a relief [to have the suspension overturned]. I feel good about it.”

So did his teammates, who were pleased to have the young sinkerballer available Friday to face the power-laden Reds in their home …

Continue reading Venters’ suspension rescinded entirely (story updated) »

Stat of the day: lack of hitting vs. Nats

While dropping two of three to the Washington Nationals, the Braves hit only .196 (19-for-97) and averaged only 2.0 runs per game, including a shutout in the opener against Miguel Batista and three relievers.

Continue reading Stat of the day: lack of hitting vs. Nats »

Braves postgame comments after Thursday’s loss

CHIPPER JONES

On losing series to Nats:

“The bottom line is we came in here and in 27 innings scored six runs and that’s not going to cut it. We played bad defense in the first game and we won last night, but it wasn’t very impressive. Couldn’t get much going today either, the with the exception of the middle to late part of our lineup. Just frustrating.”

On not letting back-to-back series losses go to head:

“You’ve got to keep it from snowballing. I don’t think we saw ourselves going 2-4 in these first two series. We’ve got a tough series coming up against Cincinnati in their ballpark, so get us back to Atlanta, please, at some point soon because the road has been our nemesis all year. We haven’t swung the bats or we haven’t pitched. The trend continues.”

On the Oswalt trade:

“We don’t play the Phillies until late September. Good pick up for them. I’m happy for them.”

On if the Braves need to do something in response:

“That’s not my department.”

On if he’d be disappointed if …

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Venters waits; thin times for Braves bullpen

Washington – The Braves have gone two days without hearing back from Major League Baseball with a decision on Jonny Venters’ appeal of his four-game suspension.

The Braves had hoped to know by Wednesday, so they pitched him two innings on Tuesday night the day of his hearing.

Manager Bobby Cox pitched Venters again to one more hitter on Wednesday night, but the Braves still didn’t find out Thursday. And Venters was unavailable to pitch Thursday because of the recent workload.

Now it looks like Venters, who was suspended for hitting Prince Fielder with a pitch on July 17, will likely miss at least part of the Reds series this weekend in Cincinnati. That’s no small thing for a Braves bullpen that looks thin right now.

Left-hander Eric O’Flaherty is on the disabled list recovering from a viral infection. He made 40 throws playing catch Wednesday, but Cox said he will need a rehabilitation assignment to build back his stamina.

The Braves have seemingly lost confidence in Kenshin …

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Braves react to Phillies trade for Oswalt

Washington – As if a seven-game winning streak by the Phillies wasn’t enough to tighten the screws on the Braves, how about a trade for Roy Oswalt?

The Phillies acquired the standout Astros pitcher Thursday and cash for left-hander J.A. Happ and minor leaguers Anthony Gose, and Jonathan Villar, giving them an imposing rotation with Roy Halladay, Oswalt, and Cole Hamels at the top.

(Gose was subsequently traded to Toronto for minor league first baseman Brett Wallace.)

While Oswalt was packing his belongings to fly to Washington to pitch for the Phillies against the Nationals on Friday, the Braves were packing their things to fly out of Washington after a second consecutive series loss, dropping two of three to the Nationals.

The Braves’ NL East lead was down to three games on the Phillies, who played Thursday night. That’s the closest it’s been since the first week of July.

“To go to the playoffs you’ve got to beat good pitching,” Braves catcher David Ross said. “They have Roy …

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Gonzalez scratched with flu-like symptoms

Washington – Shortstop Alex Gonzalez was scratched from the Braves original lineup Thursday when he showed up at the ballpark suffering from a 101-degree fever and flu-like symptoms, manager Bobby Cox said.

Gonzalez has hit .277 (13-for-47) with four doubles and two RBIs in 12 games since coming to the Braves from Toronto in the Yunel Escobar trade on July 14. He matched a career-high with four hits on Thursday July 22, against the Padres but has hit only .150 (3-for-20) since then, including 0-for-his-last-14.

Omar Infante got the start in his place at shortstop. Infante was making his first start in nine days, since his July 20 start at third base against the Padres’ left-hander Wade LeBlanc.

Cox originally had Infante in the lineup in right field in place of Jason Heyward against the left-hander Scott Olsen, but when Gonzalez came in sick, he re-inserted Heyward.

“I had to get (Infante) in there today on way or another,” Cox said. “The guy is hitting .330 (.327); I ought to …

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Next for Braves: Reds in Cincinnati

Series preview: at Reds

When (TV): 7:10 p.m. Friday (SPSO); 4:10 p.m. Saturday (FOX); 1:10 p.m. Sunday (FSSO)

Radio: 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Probable starting pitchers:

Friday: RH Kris Medlen (6-2, 3.57 ERA) vs. RH Johnny Cueto (10-2, 3.18)

Saturday: RH Jair Jurrjens (3-3, 4.37) vs. RH Bronson Arroyo (10-6, 4.21)

Sunday: RH Tommy Hanson (8-7, 3.99) vs. RH Edinson Volquez (1-1, 8.25)

Friday’s matchup:

• The Braves are 11-1 in Medlen’s starts, including Saturday in Florida even after he gave up five runs in six innings. Medlen has a season-high eight strikeouts but gave up two home runs as well. This is the first time he’s faced the Reds.

• Cueto has given up two or fewer runs in each of his past seven starts, including eight shutout innings Saturday vs. the Astros at hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park. He is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA (three earned runs, 13 IP) in two starts vs. the Braves.

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Closing out Nats series, Gonzo scratched, Strasburg to DL

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

Washington – It’s a 12:35 p.m. start today, kind of strange, so the masses (ahem) that will come out of this Nats game today won’t have to deal with rush hour traffic, or perhaps crowded metro trains.

But we are set to go on a quick turnaround today and hammering out a quick blog to get up for your chatting enjoying during the game.

Bobby Cox had originally given Jason Heyward the day off in right field today against lefty Scott Olsen, wanting to get Omar Infante in there. But that was before he knew that Alex Gonzalez came in today with 101-degree temperature and flu-like symptoms. So Infante is in there at shortstop today, and Heyward back in at right.

For Infante, it’s his first start since July 20 (third base) against Padres left-hander Wade LeBlanc.

“I had to get him in there today on way or another,” Cox said. “The guy is hitting .330 (.327); I ought to be able to get him in there somewhere.”

I’m …

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Stat of the day: stealing home

Jason Heyward’s steal of home on the front end of a double steal Wednesday night was the first time in 10 years a Brave had swiped home. Rafael Furcal took home of the front end of a double steal along with Chipper Jones on April 9, 2000 against the Giants.

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Braves postgame comments after Wednesday night’s win vs. Nats

JASON HEYWARD

On the steal of home:

“It was an opportunity to get another run in a big situation. Mac was going it was a 3-2 count; I knew he was going. Snit just said, ‘Hey be ready and see if they throw all the way through and see what we can do from there.’ And that was all. I broke when (Ian) Desmond threw the ball to (Adam) Dunn. I got a little further off as they went for Mac more and once he made the throw, I took off.”

On the rarity of the play:

“It’s a heads-up play. You’re not going to see a lot of it, but when it does happen and you can take advantage of a situation like that it’s always great.”

TIM HUDSON

On his success against the Nats:

“For whatever reason, I’ve been able to go out there and throw the ball pretty well against these guys and make pitches. It’s not to say next time I pitch against these guys I won’t be backing up third all night, but it does feel good to know that you have a history of some success against a team, just for your confidence. But at …

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