Archive for July, 2010

Next for Braves: Lowe vs. Olsen at 12:35 p.m. Thursday

Next for Braves

Who: at Marlins

When: 12:35 p.m. Thursday

TV; radio: FSSO; 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Probable starters: Braves RH Derek Lowe (10-8, 4.48 ERA) vs. LH Scott Olsen (2-2, 3.77 ERA)

Thursday’s matchup:

• Lowe gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings including a Dan Uggla two-run homer in his last start against Florida. He’s failed to make it out of the sixth inning for three starts. He gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings in a June 29 loss to the Nats.

• Olsen makes his return from the disabled list where he’s been with shoulder inflammation since late May. He had shoulder surgery a year ago. Olsen held the Braves to two runs (one earned) in 7 1/3 innings of a no-decision on May 6.

Continue reading Next for Braves: Lowe vs. Olsen at 12:35 p.m. Thursday »

Heyward could play center field, if need be

The Braves don’t have a clear answer yet at center field, between Nate McLouth’s demotion to Triple-A Gwinnett Tuesday and with the trade deadline approaching on Saturday.

Melky Cabrera has started in center for the past two games. Omar Infante can play there. Brent Clevlen was activated from a rehabilitation stint to help in center, and Gregor Blanco would be eligible to return Saturday, if the Braves choose to go that route.

But if need be, Jason Heyward could play center, something general manager Frank Wren, manager Bobby Cox and Jason Heyward all agreed they were are comfortable with when asked about it.

“Jason could go there,” Wren said. “There’s a variety of people who could play center field if we get in a pinch.”

Heyward, who’s played nothing but right field this season, said he’d have no problem playing some center field.

“Center field is the first outfield position I ever played,” said Heyward who played first base until age 10.

Heyward said he …

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No ruling on Venters yet, O’Flaherty update

Washington – The Braves had hoped to hear word on reliever Jonny Venters’ appeal on Wednesday but the afternoon came and went without any word from Major League Baseball.

John McHale, Executive VP for MLB, heard Venters’ appeal Tuesday afternoon at Nationals Park and was expected to take 1-2 days to return his decision.

Venters was suspended four games for hitting the Brewers Prince Fielder on July 17. Venters is eligible to pitch until the ruling is made.

When and if he has to serve his suspension, the Braves will be short their primary two left-handers in the bullpen, behind closer Billy Wagner.

Eric O’Flaherty has been cleared to begin playing catch, Braves manager Bobby Cox said Wednesday, but he’s still just beginning to regain his strength two weeks after coming down with a viral infection. He was eligible to come off the disabled list prior to the Nationals series but he did not make the trip with the Braves.

“The doctors are going to let him play some soft …

Continue reading No ruling on Venters yet, O’Flaherty update »

Hanson discusses signing with agent Scott Boras

Washington – Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson signed with agent Scott Boras last week, making him the third of five starters in the Braves rotation who are clients of baseball’s mega-agent, along with Derek Lowe and Jair Jurrjens.

Such a move can be viewed by fans as a sign that Hanson will be difficult to sign long-term, and Boras has a reputation for being dogged in seeking top dollar for his clients.

“I think that’s everyone’s general opinion of him, but after you sit down and talk to him, I don’t think that’s the case at all,” Hanson said. “He’s going to be there to tell you what he thinks is the best decision for you to make and it’s up to you whether you want to make that decision or not.”

Hanson is in only his first full season with the Braves. He wouldn’t become arbitration eligible until after the 2012 season and a free agent until after 2015. In short, it won’t be an issue for a while. Hanson said he doesn’t think it will be, …

Continue reading Hanson discusses signing with agent Scott Boras »

Braves need Hudson win to calm the waters; more on McLouth

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

Washington – So it’s a good night to have Tim Hudson going to the post for the Braves and plenty of denizens, worried about this rough stretch the Braves are in the midst of.

The NL East lead is down to 3 1/2 games and the Braves could use a win to hold off the Phillies, who are riding a six-game winning streak. This is as close as the Phillies have been since the end of their three-game series against the Braves in Philadelphia July 5-7 where the Braves left up by three games.

The Braves have got the right guy going tonight in Hudson. He’s 9-1 with a 1.51 ERA in 15 starts against the Nationals for his career. He’s allowed them only two earned runs in 14 innings over two starts this season.

On the other side, the Braves should know what they’re getting tonight in Livan Hernandez. How’s 28 career starts against the Braves since 1996, not even including the postseason? And with Livan’s …

Continue reading Braves need Hudson win to calm the waters; more on McLouth »

Stat of the day: Miguel Batista

On a moment’s notice , after Stephen Strasburg was scratched from Tuesday night’s start against the Braves, Miguel Batista came on to pitch five shutout innings in a 3-0 win over Atlanta. He allowed only three singles, walked one and struck out six on his way to his first win of the season and first win since May 11, 2008 vs. the Chicago White Sox.

Continue reading Stat of the day: Miguel Batista »

Braves postgame comments after Tuesday’s loss to Nats

 CHIPPER JONES

 On how the Braves reacted when Strasburg was scratched: 

“Everybody wanted to know what happened. He’s been the story of the year, and I’m sure for the hour in and around 7 o’clock, he was the talk of baseball again. You never like to hear of someone of his stature being hurt because it’s bad for the game. We spent the last two days kind of getting mentally ready for the big flame-thrower and then five minutes before, we get (Miguel) Batista so. Not to make any excuses. We played like crap and got beat.”

On Braves offensive struggles:

 “You could tell from the first couple innings we were taking a lot of pitches and Coop (Eric Cooper) had a more than generous strike zone back there so it took us a while to kind of feel him out, feel the strike zone out. We were down three runs because we played shoddy defense and that was about it. Their bullpen did a good job. Every time we got a leadoff guy on we shot ourselves in the foot with a double play …

Continue reading Braves postgame comments after Tuesday’s loss to Nats »

Next for Braves: Hudson vs. Hernandez

Next for Braves

Who: at Nationals

When: 7:05 p.m. Wednesday

TV; radio: FSSO; 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Probable starters: Braves RH Tim Hudson (10-5, 2.47 ERA) vs. RH Livan Hernandez (7-6, 3.12 ERA)

Wednesday’s matchup:

• Hudson is 9-1 with a 1.51 ERA in 15 career starts vs. the Nationals. He’s coming off seven four-hit shutout innings against the Padres on Thursday and has shut out two of his past three opponents including the Mets for seven innings July 10.

• Hernandez is coming off a complete game seven-hitter over the Reds in a 7-1 win. He’s allowed two or fewer runs in 13 of his 20 starts this season, including two runs (one earned) in 5 1/3 innings in a win against the Braves on May 4 .

Continue reading Next for Braves: Hudson vs. Hernandez »

Braves expect Venters’ appeal answer in 1-2 days

Washington – Dressed in sport coat and khakis, and flanked by his manager, general manager, pitching coach and agent, reliever Jonny Venters met with MLB executive vice president John McHale to appeal his four-game suspension on Tuesday afternoon.

The hearing lasted approximately 90 minutes. Venters was given a chance to speak as well as Frank Wren, Bobby Cox and Roger McDowell. Venters reiterated his stance that he did not intend to hit the Brewers’ Prince Fielder on July 17.

He pointed out that the pitch that sailed near Fielder’s head and drew a warning from the umpire was a breaking ball. Venters then hit Fielder with a fastball, and earned an automatic ejection, along with manager Bobby Cox.

“I just said that they could see it looked bad and the circumstances were bad, but I’m not that kind of player to throw at people,” Venters said. “Never have been.”

Braves video coordinator Rob Smith also attended the hearing. Venters said he showed clips of more than …

Continue reading Braves expect Venters’ appeal answer in 1-2 days »

Strasburg a late scratch from Tuesday’s start vs. Braves – updated

Washington – Stephen Strasburg was scratched from his start Tuesday night against the Braves with shoulder stiffness in a move that was announced just five minutes before the start of the game.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Strasburg had trouble getting loose in the bullpen prior to the game, and he made the decision to scratch him as a precautionary measure. Strasburg had told pitching coach Steve McCatty after about 5-7 warm-up pitches he was feeling stiff.

An MRI taken on Strasburg during the game revealed no structural damage. He was diagnosed with shoulder inflammation and is considered day-to-day.

Long reliever Miguel Batista made the start in Strasburg’s place. He pitched five shutout innings in a 3-0 win over the Braves.

Strasburg has gone 5-2 with a 2.32 ERA in nine major league starts since he burst onto the scene in early June. The rookie phenom was scratched from what would have been his second start against the Braves, who scored four runs on him …

Continue reading Strasburg a late scratch from Tuesday’s start vs. Braves – updated »