Kawakami says he’s not disappointed by move back to pen

With the emergence of Mike Minor in the Braves rotation, Kenshin Kawakami is headed back for the bullpen in September, Braves manager Bobby Cox said this week.

That meant Kawakami was stretching back out in Triple-A Gwinnett for an emergency starter role, not a return to the rotation.

The move didn’t seem to faze Kawakami much, after a summer in which he’s lost his starting job to Kris Medlen, pitched only once in a six-week stint in the Braves bullpen, and then did not immediately return to the rotation after Medlen went down with a season-ending elbow injury.

“I have to do my job, whatever position I’m given,” Kawakami said Wednesday through his interpreter.

When asked if he was disappointed, Kawakami said, “No, I’m not disappointed. It’s another important job.”

Just before Medlen’s injury, Kawakami had told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I didn’t come over here to be a reliever.” But he said on Wednesday that his meaning might have gotten lost in translation.

“I might be misunderstood at that time,” Kawakami said. “I was not saying that with any kind of feeling, any emotion. Whatever role I’m getting, I’ll just do my best and do whatever I can to help the team.”

Kawakami is 0-1 with a 4.11 ERA in four starts for Gwinnett. He is scheduled to pitch Friday night, stretching out to 90-95 pitches. He gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings Sunday, but also struck out nine. He’s also worked on adding a slider to his repertoire on a suggestion from Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell, to give right-handed hitters a different look.

“I think he’s shown signs of getting his command back, command in all of his pitches,” Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage said. “I think when he commands that fastball it opens up the door for his curveball and that splitty (split-finger fastball).”

64 comments Add your comment

Frank

August 26th, 2010
1:10 pm

could this be a first?

Gary O

August 26th, 2010
1:10 pm

KK sounds like he is willing to contribute whatever way he can. And that’s good. Maybe we could have used him yesterday.

However, what will the Braves do with him this off-season? With Medlen’s injury, does KK get his spot back in the rotation next year?

Or will FW try and trade his expiring contract for an offensive player.

Ned

August 26th, 2010
1:12 pm

Phillies astros game is on MLB network now.

Darryl Blackberry

August 26th, 2010
1:15 pm

Phils-Astros game looks like a Home Shopping Network promo. Looooong pregame ceremony with “perfect game” rings for Halladay and Ruiz, with lingering close-ups of the rings on a white backdrop.

Yawn.

Dean

August 26th, 2010
1:17 pm

Of course he was misquoted. when you read the whole quote it sounded very good. The media had to make it an issue. Kawakami still has talent and can contribute greatly to this team. Why the coaches felt the need to abondon him in the pen and use Farnsworth instead is beyond my comprehension. There must be more to that story. Kawakami had acted and played the role of a good teamate.

dap01

August 26th, 2010
1:24 pm

KK was misrepresented by the media. When you read the article, it conveyed a totally different message that the headlines indicated.

He was only marginally worse that Lowe and much better than most other teams no. 5 starter. Yet he was demonized by everyone.

tt

August 26th, 2010
1:24 pm

better him than farnsworth.! are there any other 1st basemen or outfielders the braves can get off the waivers? Dlee is a bust, R.Ainkiel a bust, HELP! (BOBBY COX, WHAT ANOTHER TERRIBLY MANAGED GAME! LOOK, GLAVINE, SMOLTZ AND MADDUX, i COULDVE MANAGED THOSE GUYS, LET MCDOWELL MANAGE THE PITCHERS, I HATE TO BE MEAN, BUT YOU CANT!!!! NEVER HAVE BEEN ABLE TOO! THATS WHY WE ONLY WON 1 WORLD SERIES! YOUR MANAGING PITCHERS, AND BEING BONE HEADED ABOUT WHO BATS….WHEN..

NEW CARS

August 26th, 2010
1:30 pm

I would like to see KK get some run, as I am not confident with our RH relievers at this point. Saito needs time off and Moylan hasn’t been sharp for awhile. Maybe Marek and Kimbrel can come up and give us some help as well.

JC Boscan III

August 26th, 2010
1:43 pm

Unfortunately, there seems to be a vocal group of Braves “fans” who thrive on dumping on any player who is struggling. Dap01 is right – KK’s numbers (excluding W-L) were very comparable to Lowe when KK was starting, as they also were in 2009. Wouldn’t it be cool to see KK, McLouth and/or Glaus make significant contributions during September?! It would be nice to shut up some of the turbo-critics who have nothing better to do than post diatribes on this site. Of course, they would find someone new to demonize. On another note, I hope our bullpen’s not running out of gas……Moylan was tossing cupcakes on Wednesday. “Everyday Jonny” isn’t the only one being overworked.

GT Fan

August 26th, 2010
1:56 pm

Gary O, I expect the rotation to be Hudson, Jurrjens, Hanson, Lowe and Minor next year. I’m not sure why the Braves would start KK next season when they aren’t starting him now, unless he figures something out over the offseason.

I assume FW will try to trade KK and McLouth’s contracts before next season, but it’s likely the only way he’ll be able to do so is by taking back contracts that have more money left on them, and it doesn’t help us if he picks up even worse contracts in exchange for them. He might be able to pull something off, but I think their contracts will be much more valuable at the trading deadline next year, because some clubs will know they’re out of contention for the season and be trying to dump contributing players with large contracts. Teams aren’t going to be nearly as willing to trade productive players for non-productive players just to save a little money in the offseason as they will be if they’re out of contention at the deadline.

erm016

August 26th, 2010
2:01 pm

I’m starting to think Braves fans are some of the dumbest in MLB. This post is confirming that.

Some of you are exceptional morons.

Darryl Blackberry

August 26th, 2010
2:10 pm

Erm: this happens every time the Braves lose. If you think we’re bad, you should check out the Mets fans’ message boards. Yikes.

Joey

August 26th, 2010
2:11 pm

KK has a good attitude about this. We better hope he gets straightened out and bolsters the bullpen, cause Bobby’s gonna kill Venters and Moylan, and Farnsworth is still shaky in pressure situations.

I have read the posters calling for Freeman to be brought up with no real opinion on it til now. His numbers at AAA are much better than Heyward’s were. .317 ave, .522 slg, .900 ops. He is being wasted while we have nothing of value at 1st base! Man . . .

Has anybody checked out Glaus’ numbers so far? 5 for 10 with 2 dingers with 3 walks. If he gets May/June hot in Sept, he can put the Braves on his back straight into the playoffs. We’ve seen it. I’m excited.

Darryl Blackberry

August 26th, 2010
2:16 pm

Does anyone know when Glaus comes off the DL? I’m really excited about having him back, especially if he’ll be in a pinch-hitting role.

JaxNCBravesFan

August 26th, 2010
2:18 pm

Glaus is eligible to come back this Thursday.

Houston up 4-0 over the Phillies. They’ve scored one run apiece in the first four innings.

Dan-82ndAirborne

August 26th, 2010
2:21 pm

lol Jax, yup… the only team playing worse than Atlanta right now is Philly.

Dump 'em

August 26th, 2010
2:22 pm

Dump: Kawakami, Lowe, McLouth, Glaus, Lee, Ankiel, Gonzalez, Farnsworth, and Moylan.

Bring 'em up

August 26th, 2010
2:23 pm

Bring up: Freeman, Dunn

Joey

August 26th, 2010
2:27 pm

Brilliant! Dump 9 players. Bring up two.

Dan-82ndAirborne

August 26th, 2010
2:28 pm

I don’t mind Gonzalez… he does what you expect him to do; play pretty good defense and hit .260-.270 with 20HR and 75RBI… at least he’s predictable.

Darryl Blackberry

August 26th, 2010
2:30 pm

Philly’s getting no-hit by the ‘Stros through five innings. Woe is them!

GT Fan

August 26th, 2010
2:33 pm

How ridiculous is this? The Braves were swept, but could go into the weekend with a bigger lead on the Phillies than they had going into Monday’s game.

Turtsnap

August 26th, 2010
2:34 pm

Where is Don? He isn’t gloating about how the division is the Phils today! While blowing a 9 run lead is flat out embarrassing, so is getting swept, at home, in four games by the Astros! WOOHOO!!!

Dan-82ndAirborne

August 26th, 2010
2:36 pm

We really need to get Jayson Werth.

Ryan

August 26th, 2010
3:15 pm

Would much rather have KK out there than Farnsworth. Let him pitch come out of the bullpen and pitch 2 innings some nights to give other guys a rest. It’s pretty clear that Venters and Moylan need the rest. Hopefully Wagner & Saito (occassional appearances) and KK, O’Flarety & Dunn can hold down most games for the first week or so of September to give Venters and Moylan a break.

Ryan

August 26th, 2010
3:18 pm

Why dump Gonzalez? Why Ankiel has stunk he is atleast responsible for 1 win this year. Excellent D & last minute hitting in the Cubs game. Glauf may be able to help after an extended rest same with Moylan. To early to pull the plug on Lee, but early results are not promising. I think KK could be good in some extended relief appearances (particularly yesterday).

Other than that I agree.

Ryan

August 26th, 2010
3:21 pm

What a choke job by the Phillies. There playoff probability according to baseball prospectus has already declined 24% in the bast 7 days. It’ll drop further if my new second favorite team the Stros can finish them off. Seriously if this lead holds – a 4 game sweep in Philadelphia is pretty impressive.

vmguru7

August 26th, 2010
3:25 pm

Astros 5, Phillies, top of the 8th – in Philadelphia. Pretty amazing – I would not have assumed Philly would get swept at home by the Astros (assuming the lead holds of course). Absolutely amazing…

The Grinch

August 26th, 2010
3:26 pm

I think KK’s got a legitimate beef. Despite his record, he’s not a bad pitcher. For god’s sake he could do better than Farnsworth, and if Venters doesn’t get some rest he’ll be seeing Dr. Andrews before the post-season even gets here. Ask Moylan how that pitching every night deal works out long term.

Fire ChipCarey

August 26th, 2010
3:29 pm

Does anybody else think Chip Carey needs to get somewhere???

Casey Stinkle

August 26th, 2010
3:30 pm

Why dump A Gonzalez? One of the best hitters on the team right now. I would have to agree that KK is better than Farnsworth right now.

Casey Stinkle

August 26th, 2010
3:31 pm

And where is Carl? and Krugger?

vmguru7

August 26th, 2010
3:31 pm

You are certainly entitled to your opinion about Chip Carey but many of us – me included – happen to like him. Every announcer has his detractors.

BravesfaninWis

August 26th, 2010
3:31 pm

Good thing I was knocked out yesterday after having 3 wisdom teeth removed otherwise I would have been f’n irate. Up 10-1 against the damn Rockies and you blow the damn game? That is not the sign of a team that wants to win the division, that is a damn joke.

Now lets say the Braves and Phillies continue to stay at the same pace until that last series of the season starting on September 20th. Now lets say the Braves get swept, that means the Phillies win the division by 1 game whereas if the Braves would have done their damn job and won a game they were winning 10-1 in instead of choking, they would win the division.

If it comes to that and the Braves do get swept, then I hope they lose out on the WC as well. There is absolutely no excuse for losing that game. What a joke.

zenman

August 26th, 2010
3:32 pm

The truth, please. How many thought the Braves would pick up a half a game while getting sweep?

Ryan

August 26th, 2010
3:36 pm

Your right there is no excuse, just like there was no excuse for the Reds to blow the game to Braves in May. The baseball gods giveth and they taketh away. If the standings stay the same as they are right now, the Braves and Phils would be tied (assuming Phillies finish losing today and they sweep the Braves @ Turner the series of the year).

GT Fan

August 26th, 2010
3:41 pm

BravesfaninWis, if the Phillies come into Turner Field with a chance to move ahead of the Braves, and they sweep the Braves in that last series, the Braves don’t deserve to go to the playoffs, regardless of what happened yesterday.

vmguru7

August 26th, 2010
3:41 pm

Every team wins games they should not have won and every team loses games they should not have lost – just sit back and enjoy the ride. Win or lose this is a very entertaining Braves season.

vmguru7

August 26th, 2010
3:47 pm

Astros-Phillies going to bottom of the 9th, 5-1 Houston – Howard leads off so at least he can’t tie the score with a HR.

zenman

August 26th, 2010
3:58 pm

Oh!!! To not be a Sillies fan.

Jesse Stone

August 26th, 2010
4:00 pm

Phils lose. 3 game lead

GT Fan

August 26th, 2010
4:00 pm

The Braves officially lead the NL East by 3 games, and the Giants now lead the Phillies in the WC race by a half game.

Turtsnap

August 26th, 2010
4:01 pm

How SWEEP it is!!!

Jesse Stone

August 26th, 2010
4:01 pm

where are the Phillies fans? Carl? Where are the pseudo-Braves fans that say “division winners don’t get swept at home by bad teams”?

vmguru7

August 26th, 2010
4:02 pm

How bout them Astros…who woulda thunk it…

Braves fan80

August 26th, 2010
4:03 pm

DON
Where are you buddy?You certainly are not to embarrassed to post on here after your phillies got swept at home by the lowly astros are you?

vmguru7

August 26th, 2010
4:04 pm

Nothing but the sounds of crickets in the dark from Philadelphia today…

Braves fan80

August 26th, 2010
4:04 pm

How many said it is all over?Yet the lead is at 3 games.

vmguru7

August 26th, 2010
4:05 pm

Okay Braves – you got the 3 bad games out of your system out in Colorado – now it is time to go to work at home and roll over the Fish and the Mets. Go Braves…

goldwreck

August 26th, 2010
4:16 pm

What bothers me about yesterday’s blown game is Cox.He is so predictable.Why not use your “fireman” as in Billy Wagner to
get out of the 8th inning.The game was on the line.Why save him?
Keep the lead and take your chances in the 9th but put the FIRE out!

PMC

August 26th, 2010
4:17 pm

Take the day off…INCREASE THE LEAD!!! Thanks Strohs!

Awesome. Getting KK back is going to really help the guys in the Pen.

Rough series in Colorado but overall no big deal. They probably tried too hard. Come home and win 10 of the next 13 boys.

Go Braves!

Matt

August 26th, 2010
4:21 pm

Don?……Don????….Don?…are you ok? Please don’t let the fact that your “Filthies” suck make you do anything drastic.

Einstein

August 26th, 2010
4:24 pm

Anyone watching yesterday’s meltdown can certainly see why the Braves have only won one WS under Cox, despite all the HOF and great players. “Atta boy Johnny”, “Let’s go Chip”, and “Nice hustle Terry” is no substitute for actually managing and keeping your players from giving up. Does Cox realize that these are multi-millionaire players, not Little Leaguers? Just my opinion and take your best shots.

DC Braves Fan

August 26th, 2010
4:34 pm

If you had told me before the Braves arrived in Colorado and Houston arrived in Philly that the Braves would come out of those series gaining a half game, I would have taken that. Every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Didnt expect those 7 games to go as they did, but, we are now three games closer to the end of the season and there is more distance between us and them, which is not a bad thing at all.

Even better, we are headed home and they are headed to the West Coast. Time for the Bravos to shake off the last couple of days and get back to winning ballgames.

Mudcat

August 26th, 2010
5:14 pm

God bless the Houston Astros! Hope to see KK do well in September working out of the pen. Don’t think Minor will want to play at Gwinnett next year and will really be after that 5th spot in the rotation. Future is looking good!

Steve

August 26th, 2010
7:05 pm

Gonzalez is currently number two in the majors for RBI’s in august and you idiots what to dump him? You know NOTHING about baseball, so please stay off these blogs.

Ankiel is playing better CF right now that Andrew did in his last few seasons. I have to wonder why Ankiel isn’t getting the same benefit of the doubt that many of you gave Andruw. Granted,he looks just as feeble as Andruw did at the plate .. but there is no one left of consequence on the waiver wire folks.

Let’s put the blame for the recent losses where it should be.
– mis-communication between a catcher and a pitcher
– Diaz, Hinske, Melky and Conrad have all gone stone cold
– We still don’t have a reliable RH reliever. Farnsworth, Saito and Moylan can all be dominant one night and then implode two nights laters
– Our LH relievers are being overworked to the point of ridiculousness .. as is our entire bullpen. This is mostly because Hanson, Minor, and Jurrgens have to throw FAR too many pitches every inning. Of course, they have to in order to get outs because our defense is falling apart.
– Speaking of defense .. I hope all of you who bashed Chipper’s defense now get a taste of just how stable his defense was. Compared to what we are seeing right now, Chipper looked like a defensive stud.

Thoughts
– play Ankiel EVERY day. I don’t care if he never gets a hit. He is worth it defensively, and platooning Melky or Diaz in there just isn’t working.
– Play Heyward only against righties. For two reasons .. he won’t wear down as quickly in his first full season and we will need that bat in September. Secondly, he still can’t hit lefties as well as he should and you don’t want his swing changed or confidence busted by a few bad plate appearances.
– Fill in Diaz, Hinske, and Melky as needed in the OF after following rule one and two above.
– Stop fretting about Derrick Lee. He is far better than Glaus or Hinske with the glove, and he has always been a streaky player. Yes, he looks terrible at the plate right now, but my guess is that he is trying too hard. He just needs time to settle down. He only has to last one more week then we can pull up Freeman for a spot start and if he shows he can hit major league pitching .. BONUS!

– Moylan had his typical one bad outing out of 10, so he should be in the clear for his next 8 or 9 outings. We can’t abandon him yet, but we do need to cut back on his use.

– Start pitching KK in the 6th and 7th instead of Farnsworth and Moylan all the time. Tell Farnsworth to stop pitching like a scared rabbit and get mean. When he goes up there with a purpose and throws bb’s, he is tough to hit. When he goes up there throwing all sliders like Lidge, he gets hit about as easily as Lidge.

the real Old Gold

August 26th, 2010
8:41 pm

The strike zone is bigger in Japan.. send KK packing come winter.

willie g hates liberty media

August 27th, 2010
5:42 am

RYAN this probability of phillies not making the playoffs , of 24% what are you smokin , the philiies will make the playoffs if the braves dont win 10 of those 15 games on the road and if atlanta does not win 18 of 20 games left at home they will not make the playoffs there is yr percentige., idiot.

Mutts

August 27th, 2010
9:55 am

Steve: You are making far too much sense to be on this blog. Also, in deference to the majority of other Braves bloggers, please stop thinking before you write so most of your fellow bloggers can follow your points.

OldTimer

August 27th, 2010
10:09 am

For a decade the Braves had the best pitching in the history of major league baseball. They got one ring for it.

OldTimer

August 27th, 2010
10:17 am

Unlike other sports, in baseball, players win divisions, managers win World Series.

Biff Pocaroba

August 27th, 2010
11:52 am

What you guys don’t know is that KK’s interpreter hasn’t been honest. What he really said was that he is going to karate chop Bobby if he doesn’t get to start soon.

Rufino Linares

August 27th, 2010
4:54 pm

Somebody shoot OldTimer before he posts again. What stupidity.

wjones

August 27th, 2010
5:07 pm

tt

“August 26th, 2010
1:24 pm
better him than farnsworth.! are there any other 1st basemen or outfielders the braves can get off the waivers? Dlee is a bust, R.Ainkiel a bust, HELP! (BOBBY COX, WHAT ANOTHER TERRIBLY MANAGED GAME! LOOK, GLAVINE, SMOLTZ AND MADDUX, i COULDVE MANAGED THOSE GUYS, LET MCDOWELL MANAGE THE PITCHERS, I HATE TO BE MEAN, BUT YOU CANT!!!! NEVER HAVE BEEN ABLE TOO! THATS WHY WE ONLY WON 1 WORLD SERIES! YOUR MANAGING PITCHERS, AND BEING BONE HEADED ABOUT WHO BATS….WHEN..”

You might be interested to learn that this is the first time the Braves have blown this big of a lead since 1992, when they eventually went to the World Series. Anyone want to give a guess about the “horrible” starting pitcher who choked up that lead? A clue, his intials were JS.

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