Archive for November, 2010

Braves add OF, two pitchers to protected roster

Outfielder Matt Young and right-handers Randall Delgado and Cory Gearrin had their contracts purchased by the Braves on Friday, before the deadline for teams to protect players from next month’s Rule 5 draft.

Young, 28, will get his first chance to make the major league team during spring training, where the versatile minor league veteran will compete for a bench job. He hit .300 with 33 doubles, five triples, three homers and a .380 on-base percentage for Triple-A Gwinnett, while leading the International League with 39 stolen bases.

For the second offseason in a row, Young has impressed in the Mexican winter league, batting .356 in 31 games for Navojoa before Friday.

Delgado, 20, is an elite prospect who went 7-12 with a 3.30 ERA in 28 starts last season for High-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Mississippi. He had 162 strikeouts with 52 walks in 161 innings.

Gearrin, 24, was 3-5 with a 3.36 ERA and in a team-high 52 relief appearances for Gwinnett. The sidearmer from Chattanooga …

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Wren says Uggla’s defense is “solid”

Much has been made about Dan Uggla’s defense, since the Braves traded for the slugger on Tuesday and announced he’d stay at second base and Martin Prado would move to left field.

Uggla’s 34 errors in the past two seasons are the most among qualifying major league second basemen, and his three-error debacle in the late innings of the 2008 All-Star Game at old Yankee Stadium hasn’t been forgotten by some people.

I asked Braves general manager Frank Wren about Uggla’s defense during the GM meetings earlier this week.

“I think he got a real bad rap because of the All-Star game a couple of years ago,” Wren said. “But I know watching him play this year, I didn’t see a below-average defensive second baseman,” Wren said.

“I mean, I saw a solid, average guy. Fredi [Gonzalez, new Braves manager and Uggla's manager for 3-1/2 seasons in Florida] and Carlos [Tosca, new Braves bench coach who previously served in that capacity in Florida] both talk about how they don’t know anybody who …

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Schuerholz’s son is new rookie-ball manager

The Braves will have new or reassigned managers at five of six minor-league affiliates, including Jonathan Schuerholz in the Gulf Coast rookie league and former major leaguer Luis Salazar at High-Class A Lynchburg (Va.).

Schuerholz, the son of Braves president and former general manager John Schuerholz, is former Braves minor leaguer who spent the past two seasons as a roving instructor in the organization.

Salazar played several positions in a 14-year major league career through 1992. He has coached and managed since then, primarily in the minors and most recently as a Double-A hitting coach in the Dodgers organization.

Rocket Wheeler was moved up to manage Double-A Mississippi after five seasons as manager of the High-A team, formerly located in Myrtle Beach. Former Mississippi manager Phillip Wellman was fired after the season.

Paul Runge and Randy Ingle swapped manager’s jobs, with Runge moving up to Class A Rome after six seasons at rookie-league Danville. Ingle takes …

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Prado tells Wren he’s good with move to left field

ORLANDO — Already plenty antsy from nearly seven weeks of medical-mandated rest, Martin Prado had a position switch and the trade of a friend added to his things-to-think-about list Tuesday.

The All-Star second baseman, recovering from a season-ending torn oblique muscle and hip pointer, was told Tuesday he’d be moving to left field after the Braves traded for second baseman Dan Uggla.

The Braves traded reliever Mike Dunn and infielder Omar Infante — Prado’s close friend and Venezuelan countryman — to the Marlins for Uggla.

General manager Frank Wren told Prado the news about the trade and position swithc, and that he would play third if Chipper Jones has setbacks in his return from knee surgery or needs time off.

“I talked to him last night,” Wren said. “He said, ‘I just want to be a part of this team. I want to contribute. I don’t care where I play.’”

Prado was a utility infielder before displacing second baseman Kelly Johnson during the 2009 season. Prado has played left …

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McCann on Uggla: “Everything we’ve been looking for”

ORLANDO – Dan Uggla’s father in central Tennessee went looking for a foam tomahawk Tuesday, after Dan called to say he was traded from the Marlins to the Braves.

For the Ugglas, this development was far from ugly.

“Really, extremely happy that I was traded over to an organization like the Braves,” said the slugging second baseman, dealt to the Braves in a trade that sent All-Star utility infielder Omar Infante and reliever Mike Dunn to the Marlins.

Uggla is a two-time All-Star whose 154 home runs are the most ever for a middle infielder in his first five seasons. He hit .287 with 33 homers and 105 RBIs in 2010, and won the Silver Slugger award as the National League’s best-hitting second baseman.

During a speakerphone interview Wednesday with a few reporters covering the general managers meetings, Uggla was asked where he would’ve put Atlanta on a list of preferable places to be traded to.

“They’re as at-the-top as you can get,” Uggla said. “They’re the closest team to my home …

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Padres’ Black is NL manager of year; Braves’ Cox is 4th

Bobby Cox finished in fourth place for NL Manager of Year in his final season as Braves manager.

San Diego Padres manager Bud Black won the award, edging Cincinnati’s Dusty Baker by one point in one of the closest races in the history of awards balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Cox, who retired after the Braves’ division-series loss against San Francisco, received one first-place vote, four second-place votes and 11 third-place votes to total 28 points, two fewer than Giants manager  Bruce Bochy and eight points ahead of fifth-place finisher  Charlie Manuel of Philadelphia.

Black got 16 first-place votes and 104 total points, while Baker received 13 first-place votes and 103 points. Thirty-two writers voted for the award — two representing each NL city — and the only managers to receive first-place votes other than Black and Baker were Cox, Bochy and Manuel (one apiece).

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Braves open spring schedule vs. Mets

In fewer than 90 days, pitchers and catchers will report for the Braves and Wednesday team officials revealed a 35-game spring training schedule for 2011.

The Braves open on the road at Port St. Lucie, Fla., against the New York Mets on Feb. 26 and again face the Mets the next day in their home spring opener at Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Braves will play 18 spring home games in Florida and two against the Minnesota Twins in Turner Field on March 29-30.

Individual spring training game tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Jan. 8.

Feb. 26 New York Mets at Port St. Lucie 1:10 pm

Feb. 27 New York Mets at Disney 1:05 pm

Feb. 28 Houston Astros at Disney 1:05 pm

 

March 1 Houston Astros at Kissimmee 1:05 pm

March 2 Boston Red Sox at Fort Myers 1:05 pm

March 3 Detroit Tigers at Disney 1:05 pm

 

March 4 Toronto Blue Jays at Disney – SS 1:05 pm

March 4 Washington Nationals at Viera – SS 1:05 pm

March 5 New York Mets at Disney 1:05 pm

 

March 6 Washington Nationals at Viera 12:05 pm

March 7 …

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Braves trade for Marlins slugger Uggla

ORLANDO – With baseball’s hot stove barely lit, the Braves have already done their offseason heavy lifting. The got their new power hitter, acquiring second baseman Dan Uggla from the Marlins  in a Tuesday trade for infielder Omar Infante and left-hander Mike Dunn.

Uggla has averaged nearly 31 home runs and 93 RBIs in five seasons, including career-highs of 33 homers and 105 RBIs in 2010 to win the Silver Slugger award as best-hitting second baseman in the National League.

“This is the big offensive piece we were looking for,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “We were looking for a right-handed-hitting big bat. There’s not many of those guys out there. This guy gives us exactly what we were looking for in the middle of our lineup.”

Uggla, 30, is a two-time All-Star who recently turned down the Marlins’ four-year, $48 million offer. He could make more than $10 million in his final year of arbitration and become eligible for free agency after the 2011 season, although …

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At the GM meetings: Braves ready to make move?

ORLANDO – So I’m sitting at the Atlanta airport, waiting for my delayed flight to Orlando – aargh — after scarfing some Paschal’s fried chicken and lima beans (thank you for your location in Concourse A, Paschal brothers) and guzzling a few cups of this Delta Sky Club (formerly Crown Room) coffee.

Baseball’s general managers meetings start Tuesday morning, and I will be there at the Waldorf Astoria (baseball execs don’t mess around when they meet) ready to chronicle what could be a busier-than-usual GM meetings. Or not.

Depending whom you talk to, this year’s meetings could actually include some deals consummated, rather than just a feeling-out sort of thing to see what other clubs are looking for.

Or, it’ll just be the typical groundwork-laying type of get-together the GMs have, where they spend time talking informally about possible deals to come, after they’ve spent the morning in group sessions discussing possible rule changes like adding another wild-card team, making the …

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Heyward second to Posey for NL Rookie of the Year

Jason Heyward had one of the best seasons ever for a player so young, but the Braves right fielder still had to settle for second in the National League Rookie of the Year race.

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey beat out Heyward for the NL rookie award announced Monday by the Baseball Writers Association of America, as two Georgia natives finished in the top spots on the ballot.

Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz won the American League Rookie of the Year award, the former Braves prospect totaling 20 first-place votes to Detroit runner-up Austin Jackson’s eight.

Posey, who is from Leesburg in South Georgia, hit .305 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs in 108 games and received first-place votes on 20 of 32 NL ballots.

Heyward, from McDonough, hit .277 with 18 homers, 72 RBIs and a .393 on-base percentage in 142 games, and got nine first-place votes and 20 second-place votes.

St. Louis pitcher Jaime Garcia had one first-place vote and finished third overall, and Florida …

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