Infante’s a lineup regular now; what about 2011?

At this point, the old notion that Omar Infante might be “exposed” by playing every day seems, well, like something I wouldn’t admit even if I believed it back when he was toiling as a utility man and occasional starter.

Infante is starting his 30th consecutive game today, and in the past 29 games all he’s done is hit .373 (47-for-126) with 12 extra-base hits (five homers) and a .969 OPS.

“He’s ridiculous, man,” said Martin Prado, the NL hits leader who could end up losing the batting title to his friend and fellow Venezuelan (Infante is hitting .344, and could win the batting title even if he falls short of the 502 minimum plate appearances, if he takes an 0-for-whatever — for 5, 10, 15 or so plate appearances he might fall short — and still finish ahead of the field.

Eric Hinske, shown rounding the bases on his homer Saturday night, is filling in Sunday for 1B Derrek Lee (strained side)

Eric Hinske, shown rounding the bases on his homer Saturday night, is filling in Sunday for 1B Derrek Lee (strained side)

There’s even a chance Infante won’t fall short of the 502 – he needs 4.42 plate appearances per game for all remaining Braves games, and has been averaging slightly more than that during his month in the regular lineup.

“Good for him, man,” said Prado, who is godfather to Infante’s child. “To get the opportunity to play every day and do what he’s done….”

What the 29-year-old Infante has done is make everyone in the organization reassess. The Braves always knew he was a valuable asset because of his defensive versatility at several positions, and his ability to hit coming off the bench after not playing for a day or three.

But now, the question becomes, is Infante too valuable in the regular lineup (he’s been the regular second baseman for a month now) to move back to a utility role where he wouldn’t play every day? For now, for the rest of this season, it doesn’t even seem like that’s a possibility they’d consider.

Infante is too hot a hitter, on too crazy a roll, to consider sitting him for a game or two at a time. He’s become a lineup regular.

“He is, to me,” said manager Bobby Cox, the ultimate decision-maker in these matters. “He gets two hits every [bleeping] game.”

Hitting coach Terry Pendleton: “I don’t know how we can take him out of the lineup. Offensively what he’s doing, defensively what he does, I think it’s very hard to take him out of the lineup. Especially with the way we’re going back and forth with the offense, we’ve got to have him in the lineup.”

What about next season (the Braves hold a $2.5 club option on Infante for 2011, which they’ll obviously exercise).

“You’ve got to give him an opportunity to play,” Pendleton said of Infante’s possible role next season. “I mean, that’s the way I see it. The new manager, the general manager next year, the coaching staff may decide differently. But that’s the way I see it right now, he’s got to have the opportunity to play.”

I asked Pendleton about that idea that Infante might be exposed if he played every day, how that seems ludicrous now, given what he’s done the past month playing every day.

“There is no ‘exposing’ him. He is what he is out there,” Pendleton said. “He’s a kid that can swing the bat. He’s simple, doesn’t try to do too much. He goes up there and looks for a pitch he can hit hard, plain and simple. When he stays that way, he’s successful. He’s like any other hitter, when you get into a pull mode or try to do too much, you end up getting yourself out.

“He’s been pretty simple, man. He just goes up there and tries to find something to hit. I wish it was that simple for other guys. With Omar it looks like there’s no thinking involved with it, like ‘I’m going to go up here and look for something to hit and hit hard. I’m not looking for a slider, not looking for a changeup. I’m just going to find something and hit it hard.’

“That’s the way it looks. That’s the way it looks like his approach is. He’s been very successful all year long doing it. Very consistent.”

Braves lost 10 of Lowe's past 12 starts entering today's game, and he trailed 3-0 before recording his first out today against Florida after a Hanley Ramirez homer in first inning.

Braves lost 10 of Lowe's past 12 starts entering today's game, and he trailed 3-0 before recording his first out today against Florida after a Hanley Ramirez homer in first inning.

♣ Derrek Lee update: The first baseman out of the lineup today after tweaking his right side. But both Lee and Cox said the injury is not serious, and both indicated he was likely to be in the lineup Monday.

Lee said he strained his right side on a swing Friday, then felt the same soreness Saturday. Not worse, but the same. He said he’s never had an oblique strain, and doesn’t think this is one.

“It’s pretty good,” he said at noon today. “Just a little bite when I swung a couple of nights ago. Last night, [they took him out of the game] just kind of precautionary. I should be back in the lineup tomorrow.”

Lee hit off a tee indoors Sunday and spent the rest of the morning in the training room.

“I don’t think it’s an oblique or anything,” said Cox, who wouldn’t say that if he hadn’t been assured as much by the Braves’ training staff. “He’s there for us if we need him [to play today]. But I think if we can get through the day without him doing anything, it’ll maybe help that thing and he can open up against the Mets for us.”

♣ Minor move: As planned, the Braves activated Mike Minor today and optioned reliever Craig Kimbrel back to Triple-A. Minor will make his fourth start Tuesday against the Mets.

The Braves had optioned Minor to their Gulf Coast League team for a few days so they could have an extra arm in the bullpen. The left-hander didn’t actually report to the Gulf Coast league team; it was just a procedural move to open a roster spot.

Because the Gulf Coast League season ended Saturday, Minor then had to be put back on the Braves’ major league roster. If they had optioned him to one of their other affiliates that’s still playing, Minor would not have been able to go down for just a few days and then return to the major league roster so soon to start Tuesday.

♣ OK, I’ve got some other stuff, but we’re underway, so I’ll get this up and stick that in separate blogs or comments later. Let’s close with a Bob Dylan classic, and here’s a video of the lovely Cat Power doing one of the Dylan covers I’ve  heard.

Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall, does terrific cover of this Dylan gem.

Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall, does terrific cover of this Dylan gem. Click the link above to hear it.

“STUCK INSIDE OF MOBILE WITH THE MEMPHIS BLUES AGAIN” by Bob Dylan

Oh, the ragman draws circles

Up and down the block.

I’d ask him what the matter was

But I know that he don’t talk.

And the ladies treat me kindly

And furnish me with tape,

But deep inside my heart

I know I can’t escape.

Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,

To be stuck inside of Mobile

With the Memphis blues again.

Well, Shakespeare, he’s in the alley

With his pointed shoes and his bells,

Speaking to some French girl,

Who says she knows me well.

And I would send a message

To find out if she’s talked,

But the post office has been stolen

And the mailbox is locked.

Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,

To be stuck inside of Mobile

With the Memphis blues again.

Mona tried to tell me

To stay away from the train line.

She said that all the railroad men

Just drink up your blood like wine.

An’ I said, “Oh, I didn’t know that,

But then again, there’s only one I’ve met

An’ he just smoked my eyelids

An’ punched my cigarette.”

Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,

To be stuck inside of Mobile

With the Memphis blues again.

Grandpa died last week

And now he’s buried in the rocks,

But everybody still talks about

How badly they were shocked.

But me, I expected it to happen,

I knew he’d lost control

When he built a fire on Main Street

And shot it full of holes.

Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,

To be stuck inside of Mobile

With the Memphis blues again.

Now the senator came down here

Showing ev’ryone his gun,

Handing out free tickets

To the wedding of his son.

An’ me, I nearly got busted

An’ wouldn’t it be my luck

To get caught without a ticket

And be discovered beneath a truck.

Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,

To be stuck inside of Mobile

With the Memphis blues again.

Now the preacher looked so baffled

When I asked him why he dressed

With twenty pounds of headlines

Stapled to his chest.

But he cursed me when I proved it to him,

Then I whispered, “Not even you can hide.

You see, you’re just like me,

I hope you’re satisfied.”

Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,

To be stuck inside of Mobile

With the Memphis blues again.

Now the rainman gave me two cures,

Then he said, “Jump right in.”

The one was Texas medicine,

The other was just railroad gin.

An’ like a fool I mixed them

An’ it strangled up my mind,

An’ now people just get uglier

An’ I have no sense of time.

Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,

To be stuck inside of Mobile

With the Memphis blues again.

When Ruthie says come see her

In her honky-tonk lagoon,

Where I can watch her waltz for free

‘Neath her Panamanian moon.

An’ I say, “Aw come on now,

You must know about my debutante.”

An’ she says, “Your debutante just knows what you need

But I know what you want.”

Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,

To be stuck inside of Mobile

With the Memphis blues again.

Now the bricks lay on Grand Street

Where the neon madmen climb.

They all fall there so perfectly,

It all seems so well timed.

An’ here I sit so patiently

Waiting to find out what price

You have to pay to get out of

Going through all these things twice.

Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,

To be stuck inside of Mobile

With the Memphis blues again.

2,050 comments Add your comment

Brave4life-1995 all over again??

August 29th, 2010
1:56 pm

caught a break

Sophee

August 29th, 2010
1:56 pm

Trey

August 29th, 2010
1:56 pm

Good article, DOB.

Mitchell

August 29th, 2010
1:57 pm

2nd! Or 3rd!

Mitchell

August 29th, 2010
1:57 pm

4th!

Let’s go Jason.

Brave4life-1995 all over again??

August 29th, 2010
1:57 pm

In the wheelhouse

Steve from OH

August 29th, 2010
1:58 pm

Seriously, next year whoever the manager is better put LOWE as a number 5 starter. Seriously.

C’mon Supes, what is this sh!t? There’s no such thing as a “no. 1 starter” designation except in the heads of the media and fans. I guarantee you no one in the Braves org considers him a no. 1 starter.

Oh, and all 5 starters generally get 35 starts if healthy. C’mon, dude.

Brave4life-1995 all over again??

August 29th, 2010
1:58 pm

Mitchell

August 29th, 2010
1:59 pm

Come on Martin.

Mitchell

August 29th, 2010
2:00 pm

Supes

August 29th, 2010
2:00 pm

2 K’s for Johnson…Braves not looking good so far.

Trey

August 29th, 2010
2:00 pm

I am kind of excited to see the new manager for next year.

Supes

August 29th, 2010
2:00 pm

We need a 3 run HR to get back in this game…Brian gets on…who knows.

Mitchell

August 29th, 2010
2:01 pm

Brian, step it up.

Come on.

Trey

August 29th, 2010
2:01 pm

Two run homer is almost as good.

Gary O

August 29th, 2010
2:01 pm

What do the braves do with Lowe and KK next year? They are making $22 mil combined.

MIBraveeeeesFan

August 29th, 2010
2:01 pm

Good patience by BMac

Mitchell

August 29th, 2010
2:02 pm

Let’s go.

We need a run.

Come on Eric.

MiaBchBravesFan

August 29th, 2010
2:02 pm

For the new blog:

DEREK LOWE FREAKIN’ SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!! FRANK WREN SUCKS QUADRUPLE FOR SIGNING THAT PIECE OF GARBAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY SHOULD MAKE FRANK WREN PAY THE REMAINING $3O MILLION FOR BEING A FREAKIN’ IDIOT!!!!!!!

Steve from OH

August 29th, 2010
2:02 pm

Joe and Glav are right…Hudson is definitely in the Cy Young conversation. Probably won’t win, but he’s right up there.

MIBraveeeeesFan

August 29th, 2010
2:02 pm

Come on ‘Ske

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

August 29th, 2010
2:02 pm

Good eye, BMac!

chilidog75

August 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

Steve, when was the arm fatigue for Minor?

I wouldnt call it “flogging” a guy to have him pitch once every seven days.
Flogging would be, you know, throwing out your rookie lefty reliever 100 times in one season. But hey, if Cox hadn’t, the Braves wouldnt be in first right now.

.574

August 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

C’mon ’ski!

MIBraveeeeesFan

August 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

Steve from OH

August 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

.574

August 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

Sophee

August 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

Nova Scotia Steve

August 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

Big hit for Hinske – HUGE HIT

Brave4life-1995 all over again??

August 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

Mitchell

August 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Let’s win this game.

Come on!

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

August 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

YES!! Nice piece of hitting!

chilidog75

August 29th, 2010
2:04 pm

That’ll work. Hinske starting to come around? Just maybe?

JasonInFL

August 29th, 2010
2:04 pm

Going to be a looooooooooooooong day

Sophee

August 29th, 2010
2:04 pm

Supes

August 29th, 2010
2:05 pm

Darn it Alex G….work the count!!! If Lowe gets his act together and the Braves can get into the Marlins middle relief we’ve still got a shot.

Mitchell

August 29th, 2010
2:05 pm

Damn it A-Gon.

Why are you swinging at the first pitch!?

Brave4life-1995 all over again??

August 29th, 2010
2:05 pm

2 runs is do-able, hopefully Lowe can shut em down for atleast 4-5 innings

Supes

August 29th, 2010
2:05 pm

Steve from OH,

I’ve seen nothing from Minor to indicate fatigue, his velocity is still where it’s been all season long. Besides once we get into the playoffs he’s not pitching, so we need to use him now.

chilidog75

August 29th, 2010
2:05 pm

Been nice to find a hole right there and steal another run.
I’m looking forward to the Johnson-Ankiel battle. If Johnson throws him anything but fastballs, he should be fined a day’s pay.

Steve from OH

August 29th, 2010
2:05 pm

chilidog–it was reported a little while ago (I can’t remember by whom) that Minor complained of arm fatigue while at Gwinnett for a little while. Sounds like he’s doing better now, but never a bad idea to keep the innings count down, especially under those circumstances. We’re gonna need him next year, and it’s hard to put a rookie in big spots consistently down the stretch like this.

And yeah, Cox has been rough on Venters. But if he moves to closer next year hopefully his workload will be less. Hasn’t really seemed to affect him all that much.

The A Bomb

August 29th, 2010
2:06 pm

Why Diaz doesn’t play EVERY game against this team I’ll never understand. He’s always inside the Marlins’ heads.

Brave4life-1995 all over again??

August 29th, 2010
2:06 pm

A-gon smoked that, it woulda been a double but unfortunately it was right at the 3rd basemen

Steve from OH

August 29th, 2010
2:06 pm

Supes–sorry ’bout that last post. I get a little cranky when we’re losing.

It can’t be because I’m a real fan though, right Mitchell?

J-Hey

August 29th, 2010
2:07 pm

“Multiple Teams Interested In Troy Glaus”

any takers for Lowe? Anyone? *crickets* A Single A prospect for Lowe? Anybody? *crickets* Ok we’ll give you Lowe and enough money to pay the rest of his salary!! Any takers *crickets*

chilidog75

August 29th, 2010
2:07 pm

Lowe is a K machine!

.574

August 29th, 2010
2:08 pm

Quick inning Lowe……c’mon!

Brave4life-1995 all over again??

August 29th, 2010
2:09 pm

man that had carry

MIBraveeeeesFan

August 29th, 2010
2:09 pm

That was much better

Sophee

August 29th, 2010
2:09 pm

.574

August 29th, 2010
2:09 pm

What I’m talking about.

MiaBchBravesFan

August 29th, 2010
2:09 pm

Lowe-tard still sucks!

Chris from the Rock

August 29th, 2010
2:09 pm

Melky’s going yard.

Mitchell

August 29th, 2010
2:09 pm

Come on Braves.

We can win this. Let’s do it!

Yay!

Bartholomew (Bat) Masterson

August 29th, 2010
2:10 pm

Damn it A-Gon.

Why are you swinging at the first pitch!?

Come on Mitchell, he smoked that ball.

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

August 29th, 2010
2:10 pm

There is gonna come a point when I’ll be forced to stop eating these Totino’s Pizza Rolls…

David O'Brien

August 29th, 2010
2:10 pm

If Josh Johnson was pitching the way he did before the past month, the Braves would have little if any chance of bouncing back. But he had a 5.34 ERA in five August starts before today, after going 10-3 with a 1.72 ERA in his first 21 starts through the end of July.

Oh, and I just added a quote about Infante that I had left out of the blog when initially posted. Good quote from Pendleton about Infante’s approach.

Gary O

August 29th, 2010
2:10 pm

Bobby will say we had a bad break with A GON’s (almost) hit. Becauseit could have tied the game, but it went right to the third basement.

Wooderson

August 29th, 2010
2:11 pm

I say we make a trade with Gwinnett. Derek Lowe for Brandon Beachy

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

August 29th, 2010
2:11 pm

Yeah, thanks for the new Blog, Chief!

bill

August 29th, 2010
2:11 pm

I would not even consider Lowe for rotation next year.

chilidog75

August 29th, 2010
2:11 pm

Steve … If Minor had some fatigue earlier this year, then yeah, I have no problem with finding him some rest.
Didn’t realize he had.

Brave4life-1995 all over again??

August 29th, 2010
2:12 pm

Sophee

August 29th, 2010
2:12 pm

Melky didn’t swing. Whoa.

chilidog75

August 29th, 2010
2:12 pm

No politics on the blog, please.

Wooderson

August 29th, 2010
2:12 pm

Please Rick just put it in play

Trey

August 29th, 2010
2:13 pm

UKUGA, no political talk. That will cause many problems on this page.

Steve from OH

August 29th, 2010
2:13 pm

No sweat, chili. I’m really excited about him, so I want him nice and fresh for 2011. Guess it’s just my personality, though.

Mitchell

August 29th, 2010
2:13 pm

Let’s go Rick.

Rick, come on. Get on base.

MIBraveeeeesFan

August 29th, 2010
2:13 pm

Come on Rick

Tomahawkin

August 29th, 2010
2:13 pm

Where is Mitchell At?

A BF is necessary for Blowe today, I’ll leave that to him…

Trey

August 29th, 2010
2:13 pm

Thanks for the new blog, Chief! ;)

The A Bomb

August 29th, 2010
2:13 pm

Lawn mower on idle…..project on hold.

chilidog75

August 29th, 2010
2:14 pm

Johnson should lose a day’s pay already.
How are these advanced scouts not just telling their pitchers to throw fastballs belt high or above to Ankiel? He CAN NOT catch up with them. It’s pretty simple.

Wooderson

August 29th, 2010
2:14 pm

way to make contact rick

BravesfaninMD

August 29th, 2010
2:14 pm

Need to win today to keep the pressure on the Phils…

JasonInFL

August 29th, 2010
2:14 pm

I will be surprised if Ricky doesn’t K every time he faces Johnson

Trey

August 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

Lowe can’t even get the bunt down.

Nova Scotia Steve

August 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

C’mon Derek….

Sophee

August 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

Oh geez. I’m afraid to refresh the blog.

chilidog75

August 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

Lowe’s wonderful day continues.
Whatever, Derek. Just eat up some innings please.

JasonInFL

August 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

there you go…i am surprised. (:

MiaBchBravesFan

August 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

STILL ANOTHER FREAKIN’ REASON TO HATE LOWE-TARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tomahawkin

August 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

Shout Outs To Trey And Chilidog!

WTF is That Crap! G-Dammit Blowe!

Wooderson

August 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

Jesus Derek.

MIBraveeeeesFan

August 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

Come on Omar

Trey

August 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

Prado, a real danger to the plate. Guy at third!!!!

MIBraveeeeesFan

August 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

At least Rick can run!

chilidog75

August 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

Dont need no stinkin bunts!

Sophee

August 29th, 2010
2:15 pm

Good hustle, ankles!

BravesfaninMD

August 29th, 2010
2:16 pm

I do like Ankiel’s speed and like the aggressive play there.

Trey

August 29th, 2010
2:16 pm

ANKIEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mitchell

August 29th, 2010
2:16 pm

Derek, you son of a bitch.

Alright, let’s get the run Omar.

Tomahawkin

August 29th, 2010
2:16 pm

Nice, about time we use the running game!

MIBraveeeeesFan

August 29th, 2010
2:16 pm

Trey

August 29th, 2010
2:16 pm

I meant Infante not Prado.

MiaBchBravesFan

August 29th, 2010
2:16 pm

Way to go, Rick. Ankiel is probably the only Brave that can run.

Sophee

August 29th, 2010
2:16 pm

Brave4life-1995 all over again??

August 29th, 2010
2:16 pm

wasted opportunities

BravesQueen (aka Dee)

August 29th, 2010
2:17 pm

It SUCKS that we strand so many dang guys who do their job well and get on base. Sigh.

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