Archive for September, 2010

Jurrjens’ knee shows improvement in 45-pitch bullpen

Jair Jurrjens saw significant improvement in his right knee during a bullpen session on Wednesday, giving some encouragement that he might be ready to pitch in the postseason, if the Braves advance.

Jurrjens threw 45 pitches at full strength, compared to only four in a bullpen session in Washington over the weekend.

“I could feel it, but definitely the pain went down,” Jurrjens said. “It seems like the pills are working so far. We’ll see how I bounce back tomorrow.”

Braves manager Bobby Cox said Jurrjens won’t start this weekend against the Phillies but if his knee continues to improve he could see some action in relief.

The weekend rotation is set with rookie Brandon Beachy starting on Friday, Tommy Hanson on Saturday, and Tim Hudson on Sunday.

Jurrjens started an anti-inflammatory dose pack on Monday after it was determined he would miss his second start since suffering a slight meniscus tear during a Sept. 17 bullpen.

Jurrjens’ biggest problem has been pushing off on …

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Braves quotes after Tuesday win vs. Marlins

BOBBY COX

On Hudson

“Huddy had outstanding stuff tonight, one of the best sinking and moving fastballs I’ve seen with him all year. He got off-target a couple of times, but by the fourth inning they already had four choppers for infield hits, and one chop error. That’s 25 pitches right there. Then a soft [hit] to left field, another five pitches. That’s 30 pitches on balls that were not hit. Made it tough on him with the pitch count. He could have gone eight or nine tonight, if those balls are hit just a little bit harder.”

“Yeah, it started with him. He kept us right there. Our bullpen was real good again, and Hinske and Conrad. Conrad hadn’t been playing, he got the big [triple], and Hinske got the big homer. He was 0-for-10 against him, but he got a pitch and hit it.”

On Conrad’s late-innings hits

“He’s won a ton of games here for us, or tied ‘em. He’s a great guy to have off the bench, and now he’s a regular.”

On update of Prado’s injury

“Bad news. He’s got to rest for two …

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First person Cox tribute: Tom Glavine

Tom Glavine on retiring Braves manager Bobby Cox:

“It’s very simple what he expects out of you. Show up on time, play the game right, wear you’re uniform the right way. And if you can’t do that then you’re going to have problems with anybody…Because things were so simple and so easy to follow, it lent itself to there not being a lot of drama.

“Guys will tell you he’s mellowed a little bit. He’s not probably as much of a stickler for some of the things he used to. Back in the day, even with simple things like the uniform, you better not wear your sunglasses on the bill of your hat. You better not even wear sunglasses; you better have the flip-downs. You better not go out there and not have the right T-shirt on underneath, certain ways guys would act in clubhouse. There are things he’s mellowed on now. He chooses his battles now that he thinks he can win whereas before I think he fought virtually every battle.

Glavine and Cox, back in the day

Glavine and Cox, back in the day

“I’ve seen him after a game in …

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Saito dressing in Japanese attire to lighten the mood

Trying to do his part to keep the Braves loose, and fulfill an old request from Brian McCann, reliever Takashi Saito has worn traditional Japanese attire to and from the ballpark the past two days.

He’s been decked out in a black print yukata, a thinner, summer version of the traditional Japanese kimono, wooden sandals known as geta, and two fake swords with red sheaths. He wore a similar get-up as a rookie with the Dodgers in 2006, only the sheaths were Dodger blue.

“We had lost a couple games in a row and everyone was in kind of a sad mood,” said Saito through his interpreter. “I couldn’t really speak English that well then so I couldn’t really tell a joke to pick everyone up. I figured I’d just wear something funny to pick everyone up.”

Saito said the Dodgers went on to win six or seven games. It just so happened that the Braves were in town during that winning streak, and McCann saw Saito dressed up one day walking to the indoor batting cage at Dodger Stadium.

“I thought …

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Prado out for season with hip pointer and torn oblique

As bad as it looked when Martin Prado went down clutching his left hip Monday, the news only got worse on Tuesday.

An MRI taken revealed not only had Prado suffered a hip pointer but a torn external oblique muscle as well. So not only will he miss the rest of the season but the postseason, if the Braves make it as the National League wild card team.

Doctors determined he will need two months of rest before he even begins rehabilitation.

Many consider Prado to be the Braves’ most valuable player this season, batting .307 with 15 home runs, a team-high 40 doubles, and 66 RBIs in an All-Star season.

When the Braves were struggling at leadoff, Prado took over and hit .322 in the leadoff spot. When Chipper Jones was lost for the season to a torn knee ligament, Prado moved from seamlessly from second to third base.

“He’s had a hell of a year,” Tim Hudson said. “I hate it for him. I hate it for us because he’s such a huge part of our club.”

Prado first injured his hip Monday diving …

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Wednesday preview: Lowe 4-0, 1.08 ERA in past four startsne

Who: vs. Marlins

When: 4:35 p.m. Wednesday

TV; radio: SPSO; 680 AM, 100.5 FM

Wednesday’s matchup: Braves RH Derek Lowe (15-12, 4.07 ERA) vs. LH Andrew Miller (1-4, 8.19).

– Lowe is 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts since missing a rotation turn for a bone chip in his elbow. He’ll be working on three days’ rest instead of the usual four. Lowe is 2-1 with a 5.09 ERA in four career regular-season starts on short rest. Against the Marlins, he’s 1-0 despite an 8.57 ERA in five starts over the past two seasons. Hanley Ramirez is 14-for-26 with a homer against him, and Dan Uggla is 12-for-28 with two homers.

– Miller is 3-0 with a 3.04 ERA in seven games (four starts) vs. the Braves, including a Sept. 3 win. In four starts since that game, he’s 0-4 with a 12.89 ERA and .443 opponents’ average, with a staggering 31 hits, 21 earned runs and 12 walks allowed in  14-2/3 innings. Eric Hinske is 2-for-2 with a homer against him, and Matt Diaz is 4-for-12 with a homer.

* DAVID …

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O’Flaherty out with dizziness, blurred vision

In addition to injuries to Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado, the Braves are faced with the prospects of not having reliever Eric O’Flaherty for this stretch of games to close out the season.

Manager Bobby Cox revealed Tuesday that O’Flaherty has been battling dizziness and blurred vision, possibly “a continuation” of the mononucleosis that kept O’Flaherty for six weeks in July and August.

“We’ve been doing a lot of tests trying to get to the bottom of it,” said O’Flaherty.

When asked if it was related to his mono, he said: “It’s a possibility. Everyone is kind of scratching their head on it right now, trying to figure out what’s going on, ruling out one thing at a time.”

He said he first noticed the light-headedness and blurred vision several weeks ago, but it’s gotten progressively worse to where it’s a constant feeling now.

“I never felt it on the mound, but I haven’t pitched since it’s been there constantly,” O’Flaherty said.

O’Flaherty hasn’t pitched in more than a week …

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Braves again must replace injured No. 3 hitter

Martin Prado collapsed in pain from a hip pointer Monday, an injury that could sideline him for most or the rest of the regular season.

Martin Prado collapsed in pain from a hip pointer Monday, an injury that could sideline him for most or the rest of the regular season.

The Braves have defied odds plenty of times this season, so perhaps you will view tonight’s Martin Prado-less lineup as another of those this-can’t-be-happening sort of moments the squad has generally found a way to overcome.

That said, I almost regret to inform you that the Braves tonight have a No. 5 hitter, Melky Cabrera, who has batted .229 with one homer, 16 RBI, a .296 OBP and .333 slugging percentage in 49 games since July 29.

Hey, desperate times call for … well, you know the rest.

With Prado out indefinitely after last night’s hip injury, manager Bobby Cox is keeping Jason Heyward in the 2-hole and moving McCann and Derrek Lee up to the 3-4 spots, at least for tonight, and moving Alex Gonzalez from the seventh to the sixth spot.

This is the second time this season the Braves have scrambled to replace their No. 3 hitter, and this time …

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First person Cox tribute: Braves consultant Bobby Dews

Braves  major league consultant Bobby Dews, 71, a coach, manager or administrator in the organization since 1975, on retiring Braves manager Bobby Cox:

“He makes it so that everybody on the ballclub, top to bottom, feels important. I don’t know how you do that. If I knew how to do it I’d be a good manager. He’s a great manager. Remarkable in his talents for handling people. Relentless in his pursuit of winning. And resilient enough that he can turn one loss into many wins, but using that one loss.

Braves Marlins Spring Baseball

Bobby Dews (left) with Braves first-base coach Glenn Hubbard and former Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez.

“Most managers I’ve been around, when they lose a tough one you can look for them to lose two or three more tough ones. But when Bobby or his team loses, you can look for him to win four or five tough ones right after that…

“The main thing for me is, he makes everybody feel important. He’s demanding without putting pressure on you. I don’t known how you can do that. How can …

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Braves quotes after Monday’s 11-inning win

BOBBY COX

“A great finish. We had great pitching all night, a great game from Tommy and the bullpen was just a machine tonight. And we finally got a big hit to win the ballgame.

“Mac got us one to get out in front, and I can’t say enough about the pitching. Tommy was just outstanding, and the bullpen was just great. And not a better guy up there than Omar.”

“Prado’s definitely going to be out a while. He’s got a hip pointer. They’ll keep evaluating him and see.”

On the Braves’ late-innings magic of Turner Field this season

“Well, we pitch good here, and good pitching gives you a chance. We’ve won a ton of games in extra innings, the ninth inning, and the eight inning here.”

On Prado’s diving defensive play in fourth inning

“I think that’s when he really got hurt. That ball was by him, and he may have pulled something, then he hit the ground. It was completely by him. I couldn’t believe he caught that ball. I played third a long time and never made one like that.”

Omar provided …

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