Archive for February, 2011

Freeman’s 3-for-3 day includes doubles to each field

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Braves wanted to make Fredi’s debut a success, and Freddie certainly did his part.

Rookie Freddie Freeman doubled in each of his three plate appearances Saturday against the New York Mets, but Atlanta blew a 5-3 lead in the 10th inning of a 5-5 tie against the New York Mets in Fredi Gonzalez’s Braves  managerial debut.

It was also a debut of sorts for Freeman, 21, in his first start as the Braves’ regular first baseman. The 21-year-old hit a double to every field — driving a ball to right field in the second inning, hitting a soft shot to left in the fourth, and lining a hit that one-hopped off the base of the center-field wall in the sixth.

“Freddie had a great day,”  Gonzalez said. “Three doubles. Nice three at-bats.”

Freeman’s second and third doubles were two-out hits.

“It felt good out there today,” said Freeman, who also scored the Braves’ first run on a wild pitch by Mets starter Jenrry Mejia in the second inning. “Really I was just …

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Closer Kimbrel struggles in Braves’ spring opener

PORT. ST. LUCIE, Fla. – The Braves’ Grapefruit League opening day started with a fan holding up a sign that said “Marry Me Fredi” during batting practice, and ended with a proverbial kissing-your-sister 5-5, 10-inning tie against the New York Mets.

In between, there was plenty to recommend but also some rough spots to work on for new manager Fredi Gonzalez’s Braves, who blew three leads and wasted a 3-for-3, three-double game by rookie Freddie Freeman in his debut as the starting first baseman.

Eric Hinske homered and utility infield candidate Ed Lucas had a pair of RBI singles off the bench for the Braves, who led 5-3 before Willie Harris – the ex-Brave who seems to haunt the team — hit a two-run homer in the 10th off minor leaguer Michael Broadway.

“On to tomorrow,” said Gonzalez, whose Braves face the Mets again Sunday in the home opener at ESPN Wide World of Sports, where second baseman Dan Uggla is set to make his Braves debut and Chipper Jones is penciled in …

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Heyward, McCann in lineup for Saturday opener

Fredi Gonzalez makes his Braves managerial debut Saturday against Mets. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

Fredi Gonzalez makes his Braves managerial debut Saturday against Mets. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — All-Stars Jason Heyward and Brian McCann highlight the travel squad for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener – and Fredi Gonzalez’s Braves managerial debut — against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman, center fielder Nate McLouth, outfielder Jordan Schafer and utility man Eric Hinske are also set to be in the starting lineup, with Hinske in left field and Schafer as designated hitter.

Gonzalez said his probable lineup Saturday would look like this: 1. Schafer DH, 2. McLouth CF, 3. Heyward RF, 4. McCann C, 5. Hinske LF, 6. Freeman 1B, 7. Brooks Conrad 2B, 8. Brandon Hicks 3B, 9. Diory Hernandez SS.

Schafer (left0 and McLouth were both in tentative lineup for Saturday, with Schafer as DH and McLouth in CF.

Schafer (left0 and McLouth were both in tentative lineup for Saturday, with Schafer as DH and McLouth in CF.

New second baseman Dan Uggla should make his Braves debut in Sunday’s home opener against the Mets at ESPN Wide …

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Chipper passes another test, might play Sunday

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.  — After having a bad day with his surgically repaired knee on Thursday, Chipper Jones bounced back with an encouraging workout Friday that included his first sliding drill.

Chipper Jones has rested his surgically repaired knee a few times like this, but hasn't missed  any workouts this spring. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

Chipper Jones has rested his surgically repaired knee a few times like this, but hasn't missed any workouts this spring. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

He passed that test without incident, though he said he slid only on his right side. He usually slides on his left, but didn’t want to push it this early, six months after surgery.

The 38-year-old third baseman won’t play in Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Mets in Port St. Lucie. Jones said he might make his spring debut Sunday as the designated hitter in the Braves’ home opener, also against the Mets.

“I felt [bad] yesterday,” Jones said of Thursday’s workout. “I had a bunch of fluid in my knee yesterday. I was kind of worried about it, but it’s good today.”

He said if the fluid had remained on the knee Friday, he’d have had …

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Healthy Jurrjens starts Grapefruit opener vs. Mets

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Twelve months ago, the Braves were beginning the Grapefruit League season and Jair Jurrjens was rehabbing a sore shoulder, the first in a string of injuries that contributed to his worst season.

He was miserable then. He’s Jair Jurrjens again now. Healthy and happy.

Jurrjens is in a much better place than he was a year ago, when his shoulder was sore and his long, painful season was about to begin. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

Jurrjens is in a much better place than he was a year ago, when his shoulder was sore and his long, painful season was about to begin. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

“It’s like a new beginning,”said the Braves right-hander, who is scheduled to start and pitch two innings in Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the New York Mets at Port St.Lucie, Fla. “For me it’s a new season, and it’s going to be exciting to go out there and compete in a healthy way. It’s going to be like a brand new episode for me.”

The 1:10 p.m. game will be shown online on MLB.TV and carried on radio in Atlanta on 680-AM and 93.7-FM, with Jim Powell and Don Sutton in the broadcast booth.

Jurrjens will make his first …

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Matt Young’s performance isn’t undersized

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – If you’re a wise guy with an urge to yell something from the stands about Matt Young’s height, make it good or don’t bother. You should know, the bar has been set high for short jokes directed at the Braves outfielder.

“You hear it at every ballpark,” said Young, who’s listed as 5 feet 8 on the roster, but concedes he’d need to wear spikes and stand on concrete to flirt with 68 inches.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has some fun with Matt Young during a workout last weekend. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has some fun with Matt Young during a workout last weekend. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

“Officially it’s 5-7-1/2,” he said, smiling. “Officially. That’s in spikes. I think my driver’s license says 5-7. I’ve been pushing for 5-9 [on the roster] for three years, but they’re not giving it to me. I’m like, come on, it’s a baseball card, it’s not a big deal.”

Anyway, the short jokes….

“I think the best one I heard was when we were in Charleston my first year. Right around Little League World Series time, and they just happened to be having midget …

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Uggla slips smoothly into comfort zone with Braves

DARK STAR, Fla. – From playing against them, Dan Uggla had a good feeling about the makeup of the Braves team and how he might fit in their clubhouse. And he has not been at all disappointed.

Uggla (left) played for Gonzalez in Florida, now again with the Braves. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

Uggla (left) played for Gonzalez in Florida, now again with the Braves. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

One week into full-squad workouts, the dude with the Popeye arms – seriously, you gotta see the man’s arms up close – has fit into his new surroundings as if he’s been here for years. He’s cracking on teammates and being cracked upon, always a good sign.

“It’s been awesome,” Uggla said. “I expected a lot of it to be like this. There’s not any real big egos in here to try and figure out or anything like that. What you see is what you get. Nobody’s trying to treat me in any certain way; they just treat me like they treat anybody. So it’s been a good experience so far.”

When the slugging second baseman signed a five-year, $62 million contract extension before he’d ever suited up for a game with the …

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Video: Fredi G’s staff full of managerial experience

The AJC’s David O’Brien talks with CineSport’s Noah Coslov about all the former major league managers on new Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez’s staff in Spring Training:

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Fredi G. surrounded by ex-managers on Braves staff

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – When Fredi Gonzalez began his first job as a major league manager five years ago, having five former big-league managers on his spring training coaching staff might have seemed intimidating. Maybe unbearable.

Hitting coach Larry Parrish and bench coach Carlos Tosca are two of five former major league managers around Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez on the the spring-training coach staff. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

Hitting coach Larry Parrish and bench coach Carlos Tosca are two of five former major league managers around Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez on the the spring-training coach staff. (Jason Getz photo/AJC)

“Probably — I’m not going to lie to you,” said Gonzalez, now in his first season as Braves manager after 3-1/2 seasons as Marlins manager. “But you know what, these guys are good people. Two or three of them don’t want to manage again. Maybe LP, Carlos and Tremb are guys who deserve another opportunity [to manage].”

LP is Larry Parrish, the Braves’ new hitting coach. Carlos Tosca is the new bench coach, who served in that same role under Gonzalez in Florida before they were fired in June. Tremb is Dave Trembley, the Braves’ new …

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Gonzalez: Braves not looking to trade starting pitcher

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — An elbow injury for St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright and rumored Yankees trade interest in Tim Hudson led some Braves fans to wonder if the team might dangle Derek Lowe or another established starter on the trade market.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez made it clear that’s not in the plans  five weeks from opening day.

“[Are the Braves] looking at trading somebody? Oh, no, no, no,” Gonzalez said. “I think this is where you build your team from. Your strength is your starting pitching. No, I don’t anticipate us moving any of those guys.”

An Internet blog report said the Yankees recently called the Braves with interest in Hudson, but the Braves told them he wasn’t available.

Lowe has two years and $30 million left on his contract, but the Braves aren’t interested in blowing a hole in their strong rotation and filling it with a rookie or someone else from their organization. They already have two rookies – Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy – and veteran Rodrigo Lopez …

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