Archive for January, 2011

Hudson wins Braves Player of Year award

Tim Hudson added another award to his 2010 haul on Friday when the veteran pitcher was named Braves Player of the Year, edging Martin Prado in balloting by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Hudson went 17-9 with a 2.83 ERA in 34 starts and made the National League All-Star team in 2010, after missing all but the final month of the 2009 season recovering from ligament-transplant elbow surgery.

He received 11 of 22 votes cast for the Braves award. Prado got nine votes, and Jason Heyward and Brian McCann got one apiece. Hudson, Prado, Heyward and McCann all made the All-Star team.

Hudson, 35, also won comeback player of the year awards from and Players Choice. The right-hander has two seasons left on a three-year, $28 million extension with the Braves, which also includes a $9 million option for a fourth season in 2013.

Ex-catcher Walbeck hired to manage Rome Braves

Former major league catcher Matt Walbeck will manage the Braves’ Class-A …

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Updates on Chipper, Prado, Kawakami

Braves general manager Frank Wren sounds confident that Chipper Jones could be ready to join new slugging second baseman Dan Uggla in the opening day lineup.

Jones is recovering from August knee surgery, and the Braves are hopeful the veteran third baseman will be ready to go when spring training begins in six weeks.

“I think he’s progressed very well,” Wren said. “He had a setback earlier in the winter when he was away for a week — I think he was actually on a hunting trip – and he was not doing the [leg] lifts. But as soon as he got back on his weights, he was fine.

“Right now, talking to the trainers, he should not have any restrictions coming into spring training.”

Jones, who’ll be 39 in April, had surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee – the same injury — same knee, same surgery — he had more than 16 years ago as a rookie at the end of spring training, which wiped out an entire season.

He’s a lot older now, but surgery techniques have …

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Uggla five-year, $62-mill deal is official: “I’m a happy man”

Two days after agreeing to terms with the Braves on a five-year, $62 million contract extension, slugger Dan Uggla passed a physical Thursday and the deal was announced by general manager Frank Wren, who seemed as happy as his now-wealthy second baseman.

“We’re thrilled to get this done,” said Wren, seated next to Uggla and manager Fredi Gonzalez at a news conference at Turner Field. “Like I’ve said, this gives us that big right-handed bat that we’ve been looking for for a long time to anchor the middle of our lineup.”

The $12.4 million average annual value of Uggla’s contract is the highest in major league history for a second baseman, surpassing the $12.14 million average hauled in by Philadelphia’s Chase Utley in a seven-year, $85 million contract.

“It’s life-changing for my family — everybody is going to be taken care of now,” said Uggla, who was raised a Braves fan in Columbia, Tenn., outside Nashville.  “That’s the most important thing for me, and being close to home. …

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Uggla, Braves agree to five-year, $62 million extension

Dan Uggla and the Braves agreed to a five-year, $62 million extension that will give him the highest average salary ever for a second baseman and keep him under contract through 2015, three sources close to negotiations said.

The sides agreed to terms Tuesday night on the deal, which covers Uggla’s final year of arbitration in 2011 and what would have been his first four years of  free agency. It’s expected to be announced Thursday, after he passes a physical.

Uggla averaged nearly 31 home runs and 93 RBIs in five seasons with the Marlins, 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.

He also set personal bests in average (.287), on-base percentage (.369) and on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.877) in 2010, with a .508 slugging percentage that was six points off his best. His statistics would have led the 2010 Braves in homers, RBIs, slugging and OPS.

Uggla is a .263 career …

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Braves announce caravan dates across Southeast, Jan. 24 – Feb. 5

The Braves have revived their “Braves Country Caravan” for the second consecutive year, spending two weeks before spring training traveling around the Southeast meeting with fans from Jan. 24 – Feb. 5.

Players, coaches, alumni, broadcasters and executives will sign autographs and make community appearances in 16 cities in five states throughout the Southeast: Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North and South Carolina.

A majority of appearances will be at Academy Sports + Outdoors locations and Publix Super Markets. The Braves will visit hospitals, military bases, and schools.

The Braves announced the following dates, with more information to follow. A more complete schedule will be announced before each caravan stop.

Monday, Jan. 24    Macon, GA

4:00 – 5:30 p.m. – Autograph signing Academy Sports + Outdoors

1689 Eisenhower Parkway
Macon, GA 31206
(478) 785-2300

Tuesday, Jan. 25    Columbia, SC and Augusta, GA

4:00 – 5:30 p.m. – Autograph signing at Academy …

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Braves spring training tickets on sale Saturday

Tickets  go on sale Saturday for Braves spring training home games at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and can be purchased by phone or at the ballpark.

The Braves open their Grapefruit League home schedule Feb. 27 against the New York Mets at 1:05 p.m., and finish the Florida portion with a March 28 night game (6:05) against Washington.

The New York Yankees visit Champion Stadium March 8, and the Boston Red Sox come calling March 16. Both are weekday 1:05 p.m. games. The only home game against NL East rival Philadelphia is Sunday, March 27 at 1:05 p.m.

After completing their Florida Grapefruit League schedule, the Braves return to Atlanta for two exhibition games against Minnesota March 29-30 at Turner Field, before opening the regular season April 2 at Washington.

Individual-game tickets for spring training home dates range from $10 to $42 in advance, and cost $3 more if purchased on the day of the game. Grapefruit League home season tickets range from $180 to …

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Braves’ new year promises to be compelling

The guy on the right won't be back in a Braves uniform in 2011. Will the guy on the left? Chipper Jones, approaching 39, is attempting comeback from knee surgery.

The guy on the right won't be back in a Braves uniform in 2011. Will the guy on the left? Chipper Jones, approaching 39, is attempting comeback from knee surgery.

Just back from vacation, an invigorating week in the Pacific Northwest (Portland and Seattle), and now we’re ready to kick off a new year with all of you fine denizens of the Braves/MIB blog. Again, thanks to you for making 2010 such a good year in this corner of the blogosphere.

Whaddya say we make 2011 even better? There certainly won’t be any shortage of things to discuss night and day with the Braves, from before we even get down to Dark Star next month until sometime next fall — possibly a few weeks later than it ended this year. You never know, right?

Regardless of how the NL East and wild-card races shake out, it should be a compelling season for the Bravos — the first season of the post-”6″ era, with Fredi Gonzalez at the controls instead of Bobby Cox; the second season for uber-talented Jason Heyward; the …

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