Hanson debuts vs. Houston, Kawakami set to arrive

(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien today.)
 
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Greetings from our spring training home away from home – Osceola County Stadium – where the Astros are playing their first home game of the Grapefruit League schedule. The sun came out after a downpour greeted our arrival this morning. We appreciate it. I’m sure Tommy Hanson, who makes his spring debut today, does as well.

Somehow, inexplicably, this is the Braves only trip here all spring, only 10 miles down the road from Disney. Hm….The Astros come to Braves camp three times this spring, but the Braves? They’ll be going to Jupiter three times. But hey, lucky for me I get to make this trip to balance out tomorrow’s jaunt to Fort Myers.

Hanson pitches two scoreless vs. Astros Tuesday

Hanson pitches two scoreless vs. Astros Tuesday

Speaking of long trips…news of the morning was that Kenshin Kawakami is scheduled to arrive in Orlando tonight from his native Japan after missing the first two weeks of camp with visa issues.

He’s to get his first workout in tomorrow morning in Braves camp. Those who aren’t traveling tomorrow to play the Red Sox will stay back and work out at Disney.

The Braves are looking for trade partners for Kawakami and hoping more teams enter the picture (with a little more cash) as their pitching needs become clearer during the spring. Kawakami is making $6.7 million in the final year of his three-year contract after going 1-10 last year.

Sherrill working on sinker/change

Reliever George Sherrill’s issues against right-handers last year for the Dodgers have been well-documented. The disparity is pretty eye-popping – left-handers hit only .192 off him and right-handers pretty well walloped him at .427.

I just struck up a conversation with him this morning over his crossword. He was kind enough to put it down, and he gave some insight into what he’s doing to improve his results against right-handers. He wants to become more than the lefty specialist he was for the Dodgers last year.

Sherrill is working on a sinker (two-seam fastball) and changeup to use against right-handers this year. Those two pitches are ones he quit throwing back in 2006 when he said he lost a feel for them.

“Facing righties, the first pitch would be up and away,” Sherrill said. “The second pitch, I’d overcorrect and it’d be cutting down and in to a righty. It was this drastic change, and all of a sudden I’m behind 2-0 and then I’ve got to come back with four-seamers. So from that point on I just started throwing four-seamers.”

As a closer for the Orioles Sherrill relied mainly on his four-seamer and slider.

He said he threw four or five sinkers in his outing on Monday (he loaded the bases on two singles and a walk vs. the Astros but got out of the inning on a double-play grounder by lefty Michael Bourn). He isn’t getting the results with it he wants yet, but that’s what spring training is for, to work on new pitches and get comfortable.

“I found grips that work,” Sherrill said. “It’s just a matter of getting used to the timing and making sure that I’m not making it do stuff.”

And in case you’re wondering if he still has the magic against left-handers, Astros 23-year-old catcher Jason Castro got a taste when he struck out looking vs. Sherrill on Monday.

“With the kid, (Brian) McCann just told me he asked him if he had faced me before, and (Castro) said no,” Sherrill said. “(McCann) was like ‘Good luck. I’ve faced him I don’t know how many times and haven’t seen a pitch yet.’ I threw a slide step and it was really right down the middle and it just froze him.”

(McCann is 0-for-2 with a strikeout against Sherrill by my exhaustive research.)

Musings from Jones on Jim Thome

ESPN’s Buster Olney was in the house this morning, over at Braves camp and asked Chipper Jones for some thoughts on veteran slugger and eternally nice guy Jim Thome…And Jones gave some colorful stuff that I couldn’t resist sharing. First of all he said when the Twins and Braves played in interleague play last year, both Jones and Thome were convinced they’d retire. At that point, Jones said he figured there was “zero chance” either one of them would come back.

But yet the 40-year-old Thome is back in camp with the Twins and here’s Chipper at almost 39 trying to come back from knee surgery (he’s in the lineup at DH for the third straight day).

Thome and Jones "grannies" of the game?

Thome and Jones "grannies" of the game?

“I don’t know if we were tired or fed up or just in a bad place mentally,” Jones said. “It sounded like two old grannies just complaining on the porch step in their rockers, just tired of the whole thing. But it’s amazing what a good year by him and a playoff run by us and whatnot can do to change your mind.”

Jones said he’s known Thome since the two played on rival teams in Triple-A, Jones for a prospect-studded Richmond Braves team and Thome for the Charlotte Knights back in 1993. Get a load of one of their “meetings.”

“My first brawl in professional ball was against Charlotte when him and Manny (Ramirez) and all those guys were in Charlotte,” Jones said. “And he and I came across each other in the melee and next thing I know I was pinned up against the backstop, with my face up against the netting. And I look over and my mom and dad are like three rows away from me and had the look of horror in their eyes. It was just one of those moments where you cry for help because once he got his big paws on me, I was done.”

At this point, he breaks into laughter.

“But we’ve been, I think, mutual admirers ever since,” Jones said. “We’ve certainly had a lot of knockdown drag-outs when he was in Philly and the World Series in 95 (with the Indians). There for a while we were the only two guys who really wore our uniforms with our socks showing. Not a better guy on the planet I wish him the best.”

And for his latest: Jones is looking to get three at-bats today in his third straight game at DH. When asked this morning when he might get in on defense, he said “end of the week.”

If he were in the field today he might only get two at-bats, but he doesn’t feel like he works up much of a sweat, simply DHing and wants more action.

BRAVES LINEUP:

Lineup watch: Joe Mather makes his first start of spring at third base today. The new utility bench player can play either corner outfield or infield spot.

1. Jordan Schafer LF

2. Nate McLouth CF

3. Chipper Jones DH

4. Dan Uggla 2B

5. Jason Heyward RF

6. Joe Mather 3B

7. Freddie Freeman 1B

8. J.C. Boscan C

9. Diory Hernandez SS

Pitching: Tommy Hanson, Jonny Venters, Stephen Marek, Michael Broadway, Jairo Asencio, Eric O’Flaherty.

(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien today.)

1,256 comments Add your comment

Hillbilly

March 1st, 2011
12:45 pm

It’s great to be alive.

P-Town Brave ©

March 1st, 2011
12:47 pm

Owl- (posting this again in case you missed it)

We also have to consider if they do Money in the Bank again…haven’t heard either way, but the card is starting to fill up…and the question is, who would be the candidates for MitB? I believe there were 8 guys last year…so…just off the top of my head:

Morrison
Bourne
Bryan
McIntyre
Sheamus
Kane
Kofi
Dibiase

Roman Gal

March 1st, 2011
12:48 pm

Maybe she needs to get w/ Gonzo

I’d be fine with that. She can date whomever she likes, though I’d have to say I think there are better options. Heyward’s a pretty good looking guy…

P-Town Brave ©

March 1st, 2011
12:49 pm

RG-

Well, I’m about 99% sure Gonzo is married…

That was just based on some things you said about Alex yesterday…

Roman Gal

March 1st, 2011
12:49 pm

Awesome cape, RG. Those Christmas lights are badass.

Thanks, Soph! For some reason I couldn’t make the glitter show, but just trust me. It’s there.

Roman Gal

March 1st, 2011
12:51 pm

That was just based on some things you said about Alex yesterday…

I know. [smirk]

You were just trying to get a rise out of this gal.

cabravesfan

March 1st, 2011
12:52 pm

RG/Soph-

Matt Kemp & Rihanna broke up because he cheated on her…

SWFL Braves Fan

March 1st, 2011
12:52 pm

Carroll…thanks for the update. I am even more psyched about tomorrow’s game now! Being an Auburn grad, it was great to see that Hudson was going to get the start. But sounds like they are bringing some of the lineup regulars, so that should be a blast! Have a safe trip south tomorrow!

Just Pat

March 1st, 2011
12:52 pm

OK…sooooo…..as far as we know, there is NO TV today, right? :-( But tomorrow on MLBN, right? And Thurs. on ESPN?

Soph

March 1st, 2011
12:53 pm

Well, that’s not very nice. No moving up a notch on my list then. What a butt.

cabravesfan

March 1st, 2011
12:53 pm

Just Pat-

Not sure if tomorrow is on TV- Thursday is on ESPN

Brava

March 1st, 2011
12:53 pm

Thank you for the new blog, Carroll.

Soph

March 1st, 2011
12:54 pm

That Chipper/Thome story is classic. How funny.

Joe P

March 1st, 2011
12:55 pm

Anyone know any websites that is broadcasting the game today?

P-Town Brave ©

March 1st, 2011
12:55 pm

CA-

First I’ve heard of that.

But Rihanna has had her share of guy problems…

Soph

March 1st, 2011
12:56 pm

Roman Gal

March 1st, 2011
12:56 pm

What channel is this game supposedly coming on?

Bayou Brave

March 1st, 2011
12:56 pm

Carroll,

Thanks for the bloggage.

Bayou Brave

March 1st, 2011
12:57 pm

Repost from the tailend of the last blog…

D.O.B.

Seriously dude, can’t we get a douchebag filter on this blog? It’s frickin ridiculous today. Or at least allow us to block them on our own computers.

Believe me, I try to avoid reading their posts, but half the blog is their crap or others arguing with them like you can actually reason with these psychopaths.

Roman Gal

March 1st, 2011
12:57 pm

Matt Kemp & Rihanna broke up because he cheated on her… cab

She certainly knows how to pick ‘em, eh? I guess I wouldn’t be too surprised if she ended up with Sea Bass…

[smirk]

williamva

March 1st, 2011
12:58 pm

Is the game on the radio today?

P-Town Brave ©

March 1st, 2011
12:58 pm

Hey there trivia fans…

Where is Jim Thome from?

baxter my little gentleman

March 1st, 2011
12:58 pm

great day to be stuck inside here in chas

at least i can listen to the bravos!

P-Town Brave ©

March 1st, 2011
12:59 pm

Mark Wohlers, family escape house fire

http://www.ajc.com/news/north-fulton/mark-wohlers-family-escape-857205.html

Does anyone know the whereabouts of Jim Leyritz when the fire occured?

baxter my little gentleman

March 1st, 2011
1:00 pm

leyritz was having a cocktail with cabrera

Roman Gal

March 1st, 2011
1:01 pm

Dang. I definitely thought today was Thursday.

Fish Bisch

March 1st, 2011
1:02 pm

Great work DOB

P-Town Brave ©

March 1st, 2011
1:02 pm

RG-

I wish…

That would mean exactly 7 days and I would be flying to FL

CraZyTRaDeMaN

March 1st, 2011
1:02 pm

Thanks for the new blog Carroll!!!

Arkansas Transplant

March 1st, 2011
1:03 pm

Who’s listening to the game this afternoon? Suppose to be starting soon.

Roman Gal

March 1st, 2011
1:03 pm

http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/atl/schedule/broadcast.jsp

Here’s the broadcast schedule. Nothing ’til Thursday (which I definitely thought was today).

baxter my little gentleman

March 1st, 2011
1:04 pm

listening on the iphone mlb app
will try to update as much as possible
sounds like they’re ready to get underway in a sec

cabravesfan

March 1st, 2011
1:05 pm

P-Town Brave ©

I don’t think it was “official” but that was the story…

Roman Gal

March 1st, 2011
1:05 pm

That would mean exactly 7 days and I would be flying to FL

I wish I could go down to Orlando to catch a game…or somewhere cheaper. Y’know, I could probably make a right comfy hotel room out of my car…

Fish Bisch

March 1st, 2011
1:07 pm

Who is pitching for the ‘Stros today?

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:07 pm

Im a senior in hs sitting in class listening to the game on my mlb at bat 11 app I love it !!! I have been to the park where the Braves are playing the Astros today it is a pretty nice stadium. very easy to get autographs.

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:07 pm

Fisch Bisch: Brett Myers
Schafer hits a liner for an out to start things off

baxter my little gentleman

March 1st, 2011
1:07 pm

JS hits a 3-2 pitch on a line but it was rundown in the OF
1 out

rammerjammer

March 1st, 2011
1:07 pm

Good stuff Carroll. The older players tell the best stories.

And aren’t you glad you don’t have to walk around on eggshells dealing with someone like Kemp? What a baby!

Matt

March 1st, 2011
1:08 pm

Whats up with all the fussing? its baseball season we have all been looking forward to this for months just be happy!

Roman Gal

March 1st, 2011
1:08 pm

Alright, I have to be on the top-25 for the last blog…

I probably will be for this one, too.

Arkansas Transplant

March 1st, 2011
1:08 pm

Roman Gal – Depending on how long you planned to stay, the car wouldn’t be a bad idea.

baxter my little gentleman

March 1st, 2011
1:09 pm

nate with a single

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:09 pm

Single for Mcclouth hit it to right

P-Town Brave ©

March 1st, 2011
1:09 pm

CA-

Def not saying I condone that…

I’m one of those old fashioned type of treat them how you’d want to be treated kind of guys…

Roman Gal

March 1st, 2011
1:10 pm

Schafer hits the ball hard for an out? That’s ok, at least he made solid contact, right?

Fish Bisch

March 1st, 2011
1:10 pm

I always liked brett myers, he seems like a cool dude when he would visit the radio morning show Lex and Terry.

Carroll Rogers

March 1st, 2011
1:10 pm

Jordan Schafer lines out to center and we’re off. Nate McLouth lines a single sharply to right. Let the games begin.

Chipper Jones hit into a double play down first base line but sharply hit….

baxter my little gentleman

March 1st, 2011
1:10 pm

hoss into a twin killing 3-6

Fish Bisch

March 1st, 2011
1:11 pm

Way to go Nate

cabravesfan

March 1st, 2011
1:11 pm

P-Town Brave ©

I didn’t think you were condoning it ;) I’m not a huge fan of her’s, but I’m actually starting to feel kinda bad for her…

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:11 pm

chipper hits into a dp

Roman Gal

March 1st, 2011
1:11 pm

Depending on how long you planned to stay, the car wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Not more than a day or two. I guess it just depends on how much gas money it would take for me to get down there.

P-Town Brave ©

March 1st, 2011
1:11 pm

AT-

See my trip wouldn’t have consisted of Orlando, but my gf’s roommate from college lives in N. Orlando burbs so we’re gonna stay w/ them for a couple days so I can check out the area AND get to catch a game Saturday before I head south to West Palm for a couple w/ the Cards :-)

cabravesfan

March 1st, 2011
1:11 pm

anyone have a radio link?

Fish Bisch

March 1st, 2011
1:12 pm

Here comes Tom Tom

McFann O O

March 1st, 2011
1:12 pm

BMac shouldn’t be allowed the day off when Myers is pitching…

P-Town Brave ©

March 1st, 2011
1:12 pm

Carroll-

Was Chipper’s ball hit hard?

If I recall correctly, isn’t that 3 DP’s he has hit into already?

Fish Bisch

March 1st, 2011
1:13 pm

Chipper = last years version of Nate Mclowth

baxter my little gentleman

March 1st, 2011
1:13 pm

groundout to first

Owl Hunter

March 1st, 2011
1:14 pm

P-Town

Morrison has to win that. They need to push new faces badly. I’m off to work. Later.

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:14 pm

Ff scoops it up 1 down

P-Town Brave ©

March 1st, 2011
1:14 pm

RG-

If you know how many miles it is, you can use this calculator to calculate average speed + time to figure out how long it’d take to get there:

http://www.machinehead-software.co.uk/bike/speed_distance_time_calc.html

Then you can go by average local gas prices to figure out how much it’d be round trip. (Always round up)

Matt

March 1st, 2011
1:14 pm

So i guess at this point Nate is winning the CF Starting gig?

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:14 pm

jordan makes the grab 2 down

Poorbrave

March 1st, 2011
1:15 pm

Go Nate!!!!!!!!!

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:15 pm

Hunter Pence triples down the first base line

Arkansas Transplant

March 1st, 2011
1:15 pm

P-T, I had plans to try to make it down there later in the month but it doesn’t look like I’ll have the opportunity. I’m still planning to attend either a Braves home game or the St. Louis game in St. Louis.

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:16 pm

my at bat app is faster than the radio call. gotta love the delay

Roman Gal

March 1st, 2011
1:16 pm

So i guess at this point Nate is winning the CF Starting gig?

Just my opinion, but I don’t think there was really much of a competition to begin with. The only way Schafer starts in Atlanta is if he kicks major arse the rest of the spring whilst Nate bites the dust or gets injured.

baxter my little gentleman

March 1st, 2011
1:17 pm

JC throws out Lee to end the first

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:17 pm

Braves get out of the jam and leave pence on third

Carroll Rogers

March 1st, 2011
1:17 pm

11 pitches for Hanson in a scoreless first inning, 8 for strikes. Gave up triple to Pence but it was a mud ball down the first baseline

P-Town Brave ©

March 1st, 2011
1:18 pm

RG-

Or you can just go to travelmath.com and calculate the approximation of many things for a trip.

timthebrave

March 1st, 2011
1:18 pm

P-Town Brave, “Mark Wohlers, family escape house fire”

I bet is was Jim Leyritz

smalltownbravesfan

March 1st, 2011
1:19 pm

WOW!! 1 more hit and Nate will have as many as he had all sping last year

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:19 pm

scores of interest Tigers lead the Phills 2 to 0 in the top of the first
Mets lead Natinals 1-0 at the end of 1 get it Natinals

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:19 pm

uggla
heyward
and Mather this inning

P-Town Brave ©

March 1st, 2011
1:19 pm

AT-

I should be set to go to the Braves/Cards series in STL…have to check the softball schedule so as long as its not a tournament weekend, I will be there.

rob from sc

March 1st, 2011
1:20 pm

Enter your comments here

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:20 pm

uggla down on called third strike fastball on the inside black of plate

Roman Gal

March 1st, 2011
1:20 pm

438 miles from Atlanta to Orlando. That’s about how much I get on a tank of gas, if I’m driving fast. I could bank on $100 for gas alone.

I think I’m too poor for that. I’d rather spend the money on real games.

baxter my little gentleman

March 1st, 2011
1:20 pm

uggla k’s on an inside heater

Fargo

March 1st, 2011
1:20 pm

Heyward doubles!!

rob from sc

March 1st, 2011
1:20 pm

any radio link

Brava

March 1st, 2011
1:20 pm

J-Hey!!!!!!!!

baxter my little gentleman

March 1st, 2011
1:21 pm

heyward crushes one off the wall

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:21 pm

Heyward hits one off the wall for a double it was up in the zone

Nateforpresident

March 1st, 2011
1:21 pm

Hanson gonna be #2 starter this year?

baxter my little gentleman

March 1st, 2011
1:22 pm

that double was an 0-2 fastball a little up in the zone
heyward gets caught stealing 3b

Carroll Rogers

March 1st, 2011
1:22 pm

Heyward just smoked a ball to right for a double on an 0-2 pitch, runner at second, one out and then got caught stealing at third on the next pitch

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:22 pm

Heyward out at third on the steal attempt

o-me

March 1st, 2011
1:22 pm

Schafer has had 3 starts….The others (not Nate) just a few abats here and there. Ramiraz, Young, Constanza, have been good so far. Boman, Lucas, Mather also good….Braves future looks bright.

bravesgrl4life

March 1st, 2011
1:22 pm

Hoping Tommy has a great day on the mound today!

Nateforpresident

March 1st, 2011
1:23 pm

Mather is gonna be the new Infante this season

baxter my little gentleman

March 1st, 2011
1:23 pm

groundout to short to end the inning by mather

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:23 pm

mather out on ground ball

Arkansas Transplant

March 1st, 2011
1:23 pm

I would figure Hanson may even come in this year as the #1 starter depending on what he shows this ST.

bravofan

March 1st, 2011
1:24 pm

nateforpresident: that would be good!!!!!!

Jerry Blooger

March 1st, 2011
1:24 pm

Radio in ATL ?

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