Archive for August, 2010

Lee (side strain) likely back in lineup Monday

Derrek Lee missed Sunday’s game with a strained muscle in his right side, but manager Bobby Cox said the first baseman would likely return to the lineup for Monday’s series opener against the New York Mets.

Lee said he strained his right side swinging the bat during Friday’s game, then felt the same soreness Saturday and was removed in the fourth inning.

“It’s pretty good,” Lee said Sunday morning. “Just a little bite when I swung a couple of nights ago.”

Taking him out of Saturday’s game “was just kind of precautionary,” Lee said.

He hit off a tee indoors at Turner Field before Sunday’s game and spent the rest of the morning in the training room.

“I don’t think it’s an oblique [muscle] or anything,” said Cox, referring to the side-muscle injury that can often require a stint on the disabled list. “He’s there for us if we need him [to play Sunday].

“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 …

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Stat of Day: Jurrjens 5-0, 1.81 ERA at home

When (TV): 7:10 p.m. Today-Thursday (WPCH).

Radio: 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Probable starting pitchers:

Monday: Braves RH Jair Jurrjens (5-4, 4.36 ERA) vs. LH Pat Misch (0-3, 3.50).

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

Wednesday: Braves RH Tommy Hanson (8-10, 3.76) vs. RH Mike Pelfrey (13-7, 3.61).

Thursday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (15-5, 2.24) vs. LH Johan Santana (10-9, 3.02).

Monday’s matchup:

* Jurrjens is 5-0 with a 1.81 ERA in seven home starts, compared to 0-4 with a 6.62 ERA in nine road starts. He was charged with nine hits and seven runs in 5-2/3 innings of Wednesday’s loss at Colorado. Jurrjens is 6-2 with a 2.62 ERA in nine career  starts vs. the Mets, including 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in six during the past two seasons. He lost against them in New York on April 24 (6-2/3 innings, four hits, three runs, four walks). David Wright is 6-for-23 with a homer against him, while Jeff Francoeur is 1-for-14 and Angel Pagan is 1-for-17.

* Misch …

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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 …

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Lee likely out Sunday with mild side strain

Derrek Lee left Saturday’s game in the fourth inning with a mild strain in his right side. Manager Bobby Cox said afterward that he would likely rest Lee Sunday but he should be OK to return on Monday against the Mets.

“I don’t think it’s too bad,” Cox said. ” We had a six-run lead at the time. We all know six runs sometimes dissipates quickly but it was a good time for him to go ahead and get it treated and take the night off and maybe tomorrow.”

Cox said trainers don’t believe it’s an oblique strain, which is considered more serious.

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Stat of the day: Hudson and his many strikeouts

Tim Hudson had a career-high 13 strikeouts in a 12-3 win over the Marlins Saturday night. It was only a continuation on a theme.

Hudson struck out Cameron Maybin to open the game with his 600th strikeout as a Brave. Hudson struck out Logan Morrison, the game’s second hitter, for the 1,500th strikeout of his career. He became the 175th pitcher in major league history to reach that milestone.

Hudson reached double-digits in strikeouts for the 11th time in his career and first time since May 2, 2008 against the Reds. His 13 strikeouts topped his previous career-high of 12 which he also did against the Marlins on April 25, 2007.

He was able to retrieve balls from both the 1,500th strikeout and the 13th.

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Postgame comments after Hudson’s 13K gem

TIM HUDSON

On his stellar night:

“It was a night where everything was working for us, offensively, pitching, defense. I don’t miss that many bats all the time. It’s nice to go out there and miss some on occasion. It was a big win for us. We hit a little skid there. It was nice to get back on the winning track. We knew Philly won today. We knew we had to go out there and put up a W one way or another, whichever we way we could. It just happened to be pretty one-sided.”

On 1,500 strikeouts:

“I’m not a strikeout pitcher, so to be able to go out there and have that kind of milestone for my career, it’s definitely something I’m proud of. But it’s not something that I’m known for.”

On the ovation he got for 1,500:

“I didn’t even know I was coming close to 1,500 strikeouts until the fans started cheering. They started cheering and I said, ‘What the heck is going on? I thought (Jeff) Francoeur was up to bat again, back when he was a rookie. I saw that it …

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Medlen’s back with the team following his TJ surgery

Joining the walking wounded in the Braves dugout these days is Kris Medlen, who is back with the team 10 days removed from “Tommy John” elbow ligament transplant surgery. If nothing else, it was something to do.

“The first week it was sitting on the couch watching Travel Channel and Food Network and eating food,” Medlen said. “I didn’t go outside for three days. I just stayed in my apartment. People were bringing me food; it was great…I need to get Tommy John all the time. Let’s get Tommy John on my left arm.”

Needless to say, the quick-witted Medlen is feeling better. And he’s keeping busy by writing a blog about his recovery at www.krismedlen.blogspot.com.

Medlen said he’s still in some pain as he works on extending his right arm fully and in his left knee where a tendon was removed to transplant into his elbow. But his humor is intact.

“They take a cheese-grater type thing, they string cheese your hamstring tendon,” said Medlen, who watched a DVD …

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Wagner tossed his record strikeout ball into stands

Braves closer Billy Wagner became the all-time leader in strikeouts by a left-handed reliever Friday night, but he wanted no part in any celebration of it in a 7-1 loss to the Marlins.

Wagner reached 1,170 strikeouts for his career by striking out Mike Stanton for the first out of the ninth inning to pass Jesse Orosco.

But when his accomplishment was listed on the video board and umpire Tim McClellan tried to stop the game, with catcher David Ross motioning for Wagner to throw in the ball, he refused.

“I said ‘We’re getting our (butts) kicked, it’s raining, let’s go,” said Wagner, who was in the game only to get some work in because he hadn’t pitched in a week. “It’s stupid. Who in their right mind makes a big deal out of doing something they’re supposed to do in the first place? I’m out there pitching in a (bad) game; we’re getting our butt kicked. It’s not worth it to make a big deal out of that. That’s embarrassing.”

Wagner kept pitching with …

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Braves wouldn’t wait for Gwinnett’s season to end to call on Freeman

Braves general manager Frank Wren isn’t tipping his hand on when and if the Braves will call up first base prospect Freddie Freeman, answering a direct question about it with “I don’t know.”

But he made this much clear on Saturday: the Braves wouldn’t wait until the Triple-A season is over to do it.

Freeman has been scalding the ball in Triple-A Gwinnett, hitting .427 (41-for-96) for the month of August, with four home runs and 24 RBIs in 25 games through Friday. He seems poised for his first major league call-up when rosters expand on Sept. 1.

The only real question appeared to be if the Braves might wait until Gwinnett’s season is over on Sept. 6 before calling Freeman up, so he could play every day until then. Based on what Wren said Saturday, the Braves won’t wait that late for any of the call-ups, most likely bringing them all up in one group.

“We want to be at full strength as soon as we can,” Wren said. “Every game is important. You never know when a …

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Next for Braves: Lowe vs. Johnson on Sunday

Next for Braves

Who: vs Marlins

When: 1:35 p.m. Sunday

TV; radio: FSSO; 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Probable starters: RH Derek Lowe (11-12, 4.33) vs. RH Josh Johnson (11-5, 2.36)

Sunday’s matchup:

• The Braves have lost 10 of Lowe’s past 12 starts, despite his 3.79 ERA over that time. He made a quality start at Coors Field (three runs, six innings) but lost his third start in a row. Lowe makes his 11th day start. He’s 6-3 with a 3.60 ERA in day games.

• If there’s a good time to catch Johnson, this is it. He’s 1-2 with a 5.34 ERA in August, allowing five or more runs in two of his five starts and failing to go six innings three times. He’s 4-2 with a 2.64 ERA in 13 career starts vs. the Braves, never allowing more than three earned runs.

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