Archive for August, 2010

Braves’ quotes after Monday win over Mets

BOBBY COX

“Jason had a great night offensively. Baserunning, twice he was good. He knocked in four runs, had four hits….

“J.J. was off his mark a little tonight. He had unbelievable stuff, [a lot of] strikeouts, but the walks got his pitch count up. We were hoping he could go seven tonight, at least. But he battled through it. He just got off target, lost his aim.

“O’Flaherty came in and got a huge out there. No telling what’s going to happen if they get a hit there.”

On Heyward’s slide and scoring from first base on Prado’s single to right

“Unbelievable. He can do things on the bases. His instincts are so great.”

How many times do you see a guy score from first on a hit like that?

“Almost never…. His instincts are, I’m going until somebody stops me.”

“We got six runs with two outs.”

JASON HEYWARD

On team confidence

“We’ve been pretty level-headed the whole season. We understand there’s going to be ups and downs. We understand there’s going to be injuries, trades, moves, …

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Diaz regrets bat flip vs. Marlins

Matt Diaz said he got caught up in the moment of his game-tying two-run home run in the ninth inning Sunday when he flipped his bat before heading to run around the bases.

In the aftermath of the Braves’ celebration following Brian McCann’s ensuing walk-off homer to beat the Marlins, he felt a twinge of regret.

“Coming around third you see the dugout and you see the bat boy picking up the bat over by the dugout, like wow, did I do that?” Diaz said. “I didn’t know how far. It was ugly. There was a Sammy Sosa hop involved, with a Bret Boone bat flip, with a Paul O’Neill head-down-not-look-at-it but then look at it later.”

The Braves play the Marlins again this weekend in Florida. But Diaz said he hopes there’s some understanding from Marlins reliever Leo Nunez, a former teammate of Diaz’s with the Kansas City Royals.

“Leo is a high emotional pitcher anyway and when he has a big strikeout, he’ll let you know it,” Diaz said. “Those guys usually …

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Moylan received cortisone shot for shoulder fatigue

Reliever Peter Moylan has been battling shoulder fatigue but said he’s much improved after getting cortisone shot on Friday. Entering Monday’s game, Moylan had last pitched Wednesday in Colorado when he gave up one run in part of that nine-run meltdown against the Rockies.

Moylan needed a couple of days to let the pain-reliever take effect, but he threw a bullpen Monday. He said if it were up to him, he would have been available to pitch Monday night, though he expected the Braves wouldn’t use him unless an emergency.

“We talked about it and thought it would be best to knock it out now, rather than try to pitch with it for the next couple days and eventually have to have (a shot) anyway,” Moylan said. “We knocked it out. Hopefully it’ll last another six weeks through the playoffs.”

Moylan is in his second full season back from “Tommy John” elbow reconstruction surgery. He said this is the first time he’s battled shoulder fatigue. Moylan had a 9.95 ERA in …

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Kawakami recalled from Gwinnett; Martinez optioned

After three weeks in Triple-A Gwinnett to get stretched out, Kenshin Kawakami returned to the Braves bullpen Monday where he will serve as the long reliever and spot starter in case of an injury.

Kawakami went 0-1 with a 4.29 ERA in five starts for Gwinnett, allowing 10 earned runs in 21 innings but striking out 22 and walking only five.

“He pitched well down there,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “The results weren’t always great, but as far as his stuff, his curveball was real good. He’s been working on the slider, to use as another weapon, and he made progress in that area.”

Kawakami lost his starting job to Kris Medlen after going 1-9 with a 4.48 ERA in 15 starts for the Braves. When Medlen went down with season-ending elbow surgery earlier this month, Kawakami had pitched just once in nearly six weeks in the Braves bullpen. While he was in Gwinnett getting stretched out, left-hander Mike Minor emerged as a new force in the rotation in Medlen’s …

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Minor (22 strikeouts, 4 walks) faces Mets in fourth start

Next for Braves

Who: vs. Mets

When: 7:10 p.m. Tuesday

TV; radio: WPCH; 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Tuesday’s matchup: Braves LH Mike Minor (2-0, 4.00) vs. LH Jonathan Niese (8-6, 3.83).

* Minor quality starts in each of his first three major league games since arriving from Triple-A. He had an Atlanta rookie-record 12 strikeouts with one walk in six innings in his last start Aug. 22 at Chicago, giving him 22 strikeouts with four walks in 18 innings. Lefties are hitting .154 (2-for-13) with a .214 OBP against him, while righties are 15-for-59 (.254) with a .302 OBP. Minor has held hitters to a .186 average (8-for-43) after getting ahead 0-1, and with two strikes he’s allowed a .114 average with five hits and 22 strikeouts in 44 at-bats.

* Niese was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA over four starts before giving up seven runs in 5-1/3 innings of Thursday’s loss to Florida. He’s 6-4 with a 3.50 ERA in 18 night games. Against the Braves, Niese is  1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three career starts, one this …

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Lowe, battling possible elbow soreness, to test it in side session Tuesday

Derek Lowe was still cryptic Monday about what was ailing him during his three-inning outing against the Marlins on Sunday. But he acknowledged something wasn’t right indirectly and did so while wearing an ice pack wrapped on his pitching elbow.

“I’ll tell you in one day,” Lowe said to a few assembled reporters. “I’ll see how it feels tomorrow; tomorrow is my throwing day.”

Lowe is scheduled to throw his regularly scheduled side session on Tuesday afternoon.

Lowe gave an indication on the mound Sunday that he might be battling some arm fatigue when he repeatedly shook his right hand. He said afterward he had a hard time gripping the ball.

“I didn’t pitch very good,” said Lowe, who gave up five runs in a season-low three innings Sunday. “I don’t even know what to tell you.”

Lowe, 37, is in the 14th year of his career and has never been on the disabled list. He wouldn’t need to go on it now, with the rosters set to expand in September. If this turns …

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A primer before Freddie Freeman’s arrival

Housemates Freeman and Heyward could be Braves middle-of-the-order fixtures for years to come.

Housemates Freeman and Heyward could become Braves middle-order fixtures.

By now most of you probably know that first baseman Freddie Freeman is the Braves’ top position-player prospect (rated No. 20 in Baseball America’s midseason prospect list), and that he can hit for a high average and OBP with plenty of power.

Freddie's smooth stroke should be on display at Turner Field a bit in September, before he takes over 1B in 2011.

Freddie's smooth stroke should be on display at Turner Field a bit in September, before he takes over 1B in 2011.

You probably know he’s had a terrific season at Triple-A Gwinnett — batting .319 with 35 doubles, 18 homers, 87 RBIs, a .379 OBP and a .902 OPS in 123 games — and is going to be one of the Braves’ September callups.

He’s likely to join the big club on Wednesday, and regardless of his role the rest of the season, he’s expected to be the Opening Day first baseman in 2011.

Some of you might also know he’s been the youngest player in the International League most of the season, that he lives in Jason Heyward’s house now, and that the two close friends roomed …

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Braves’ quotes after dramatic Sunday “replay” win

BOBBY COX:

“I can’t say enough about Matty. He got us off to a good start last night with a homer. He’s going to start seeing a lot of action here real quick – the Mets have three lefties coming up, and he’s swinging a hot bat right now.

“It doesn’t matter righties or lefties for Matty.”

“Our bullpen — I can’t say about Cristhian Martinez, the way he held them today. He only gave up one run in four innings. And Saito had an outstanding inning himself.

“The name of the game was to hold them and hope Johnson builds up a pitch count, and he did exactly that. He had over 100 after six…. He’s one of the dominating pitchers in all of baseball. He’s hard to hit; we didn’t do much with him.”

On the homer, did he know it was homer?

“I didn’t know, when he first hit it, because he hit it so low. But I had the privilege of seeing it real fast, too, and I knew it was a home run.

“To get two home runs in the ninth inning, you’re doing pretty good.”

What is it about the comebacks at …

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Kimbrel optioned to Gwinnett, will return Sept. 7

As planned, the Braves activated rookie left-hander Mike Minor on Sunday and optioned rookie reliever Craig Kimbrel back to Triple-A Gwinnett. Minor will make his fourth start Tuesday against the Mets.

The Braves optioned Minor to their Gulf Coast League team on Friday and recalled Kimbrel for the third time, so they could have an extra arm in the bullpen for two days. The hard-throwing rookie pitched Friday.

“I didn’t unpack, so that makes it easier,” Kimbrel said, smiling as he cleared out his locker by tossing a few things into his large duffel bag.

Minor didn’t actually report to the Gulf Coast league team. It was a procedural move to open a roster spot, and he was optioned to the Gulf Coast League team because its season ended Saturday, making him eligible to return to the Braves right away.

The Braves had to activate him Sunday, a day after the Gulf Coast League season ended.

Kimbrel, 22, will be among the Braves’ September callups, but won’t be eligible to …

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If Lowe’s hurting, he’s not saying

If Derek Lowe was pitching hurt Sunday, he wasn’t going to say so or use it as an excuse after his poor performance against the Marlins.

After lasting a season-low three innings and gave up six hits, five runs and three walks, Lowe said that he had a hard time gripping the ball properly, but wouldn’t elaborate when asked about a possible reason.

The veteran right-hander shook his hand to his side at least twice between pitches, as if trying to loosen it. Afterward, he seemed uncomfortable when a reporter asked whether he had soreness or tightness.

“I don’t know,” said Lowe, who has always taken a lot of pride in being durable and making every start. “I’m not good at this [discussing health issues]. I don’t know what to say.”

Asked again what was wrong Sunday, if there was a physical reason for his problems, he said, “Nothing. I just didn’t have good command. Bad pitching.”

Lowe left trailing 5-1, but the Braves rallied with six runs in the last two innings for a 7-6 …

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