Bench candidate Lucas making good impression

JUPITER, Fla. – The Braves like Ed Lucas’ defensive versatility, and if he keeps hitting he could make one of the final roster decisions more difficult.

Lucas had a two-out triple in the ninth inning Monday to drive in the tying run for the Braves, who lost 4-3 against the Marlins in 10 innings.

A former Royals farmhand signed as a minor league free agent, Lucas is batting .438 (7-for-16) with four RBIs, one strikeout and a .500 on-base percentage in seven games.

The 28-year-old hit .307 with a career-high 13 homers and a .398 OBP in 99 games at Triple-A Omaha.

He’s at least serviceable defensively at every infield position and has experience at all three outfield spots, though left field is probably the only outfield position where the Braves would want to use him.

Depending on how the roster shakes out, Lucas could be competing for a backup job with Diory Hernandez, who is a superior defensive player at second base and shortstop, but doesn’t play other positions. Hernandez is 5-for-15 with two doubles and a triple.

“He gives you good at-bats,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, “and he’s got a lot of versatility. When he gets up to the plate, his setup, he looks like he’s going to get a hit.”

Etc.

Matt Young led off the Braves’ 10th inning with a perfect bunt single, then was thrown out at second base on a failed hit-and-run with pinch-hitter Brandon Hicks. “It’s one of those situations where maybe during the season, you go straight [sacrifice bunt],” Gonzalez said “But you hate for a guy to pinch-hit and sac in a spring-training game. You drove 2-1/2 hours. But you still try to win the game. We tried to hit-and-run. It was a tough pitch in the dirt.”…Braves reliever Jose Ortegano recorded just one out in the 10th inning and gave up the winning run on two walks and a Bryan Petersen single.

66 comments Add your comment

reckingball

March 7th, 2011
7:25 pm

reckingball

March 7th, 2011
7:29 pm

What are Conrad’s prospects of making the team?

Thad

March 7th, 2011
7:34 pm

I like the aggressive play! Go Braves!

C. Tampa Ironworse

March 7th, 2011
7:34 pm

DOB…how many pitchers are the Bravos gonna carry? Any way they carry one less and make the bench stronger?

David O'Brien

March 7th, 2011
7:46 pm

C. Tampa: They will almost certainly carry 12

Prado4President

March 7th, 2011
8:14 pm

DOB, Do you see the Braves making any moves between now and May? I like our team now, just curious on your thoughts.

DC Brave

March 7th, 2011
8:21 pm

DOB do you get a sense from Fredi that he’s realizing he’s got some tough decisions to make?

I wonder what Fredi’s calculus looks like…maybe something like this:

Gut feeling + stats + observed at-bats and defense + clubhouse fit + team position needs + gut feeling again + scouts observations +Ouija Board + chicken sacrifice ritual + magic 8 ball + what Bobby thinks = final roster

Too bad the denizens don’t get a vote. :)

Bill Stanfill

March 7th, 2011
8:21 pm

How ’bout that Ed Lucas.

Ed Lucas?

Charlie Sheen

March 7th, 2011
8:24 pm

I was in a movie with that Lucas kid. You pick on Lucas, I beat you up. You know what I call that…WINNING!

justin1

March 7th, 2011
8:26 pm

Conrad’s days are done. Nice job last year helping us get back to playoffs. But his MLB ride is over. At least for the Braves. He might be a nice bat in the AL coming off the bench.

Braves fan in Augusta

March 7th, 2011
8:27 pm

They should keep Lucas…. I like him…. Cut ties with Conrad

justin1

March 7th, 2011
8:29 pm

Just noticed Lucas’ AAA stats from last year. Wow. Loving that .398 OBP.
He is a contact hitter, which is a great quality in a bench guy. And from what we’re hearing, he’s got a pretty nice glove as well. Like it.

Christoph

March 7th, 2011
8:31 pm

DOB,
Any thoughts on who all you think are going to fill out the bench so us folks that cant be there can get an inside scoop?

Ralph

March 7th, 2011
8:31 pm

I like the sound of that name, “Ed Lucas” sounds a lot better than “Brooks Conrad”.

Ralph

March 7th, 2011
8:36 pm

“DC Brave” I know what formula Bobby Cox would use, he would flip a coin and say heads Conrad, tails Norton.

Poondaddy

March 7th, 2011
8:43 pm

NIce job of responding DOB!!!

count_schemula

March 7th, 2011
8:49 pm

I think Brooks Conrad’s AAAA life has ended. I’ll try to remember the the big hits. It really wasn’t his fault he was forced into a starting role in the playoffs.

northbeach Scott

March 7th, 2011
8:53 pm

Surely, you folks would not allow that unfortunate last week for Brooks Conrad to eclipse the incredible season he had for the Braves in 2010? You guys in love with “Johnny Come Lately” and the unknown vs the guy who helped bring you a playoff? Nice way to build morale and long term success–sheesh.

sheeesh

March 7th, 2011
9:27 pm

Don’t forget that Lucas was so good that he couldn’t crack the Royals MLB roster. The Royals have so much talent there was no room on their 25-man roster for him. The lowly Braves should be able to find a spot for him, though.

Having a superior defensive middle infielder will be far more valuable to the 2011 Braves than a “serviceable” defensive utility player who has never even faced a pitcher in a regular season ML game. If the battle is between him and Diory, unless Diory gets hurt, Lucas’ post-Spring destination needs to be either the FA market, trade-bait, or AAA. If the guy could play at the ML level, he should have at least been a late-season or emergency call-up at some point in KC, shouldn’t he?

SportsRadio PD

March 7th, 2011
9:31 pm

Conrad’s grand slams, Glaus’s May, the 2010 season was truly magical, that team was not supposed to reach the play-offs. Thanks for the memories, here’s to 2011.

Justafan

March 7th, 2011
9:39 pm

sheeeeh–KC farm system is ranked #2 in the ML. from ESPN Insiders. They are loaded, thats why we got him. The Kid can play..think before you talk.

Justafan

March 7th, 2011
9:43 pm

Braves should also keep Young and Ramirez… Let Schafer start the year at AAA…he needs to play everyday as he has missed over a year from injury.
Constanza could still be in the mix…….

Nateforpresident

March 7th, 2011
9:52 pm

Give the kid a shot!!

esasc1

March 7th, 2011
9:59 pm

Whats past is past, were in a new ST with new people, Lucas and ramierz has shown alot so far. If conrad or Diory wants the bench spots all they have to do is be better than lucas and ramierz at the end of ST.We all know diory can hit AAA well,but never has shown he can hit prime time. Give the kids a shot if they earn it, Diory,Hicks,Schafer,Mather,Conrad wont be far away. Ramierz has speed,good arm,good pop and good D. I would rather have Constanza with his real speed, D and plays center and first vs mather. Mather needs time in AAA hitting everyday after his wrist injury like schafer.

esasc1

March 7th, 2011
10:10 pm

If chipper should go down (heaven forbid) prado to third and ramierz or constanza to lf. Still leaves our bench intack, then bring up Diory,mather,schafer,or young, whoever is performing.

sheeesh

March 7th, 2011
10:13 pm

Justafan, I guess six-plus years in the minors is not enough time for a player to crack the 25-man ML roster (even for one day) of a team as talented as the Royals. I don’t care how talented KC’s farm system is, if this kid can’t make it on one of the 2 or 3 worst teams in the majors in over six years, something is wrong.

My primary point is that stellar late-inning defense is a much more glaring need for this team than an unproven commodity in every way as is Lucas. At least Diory has proven he can play defense. From what I can tell in ST so far, “serviceable” for Lucas means you don’t want him in the game playing defense with the game on the line. We all know what that looks like, and it’s not pretty. So far in ST, his defense and base-running has stunk. And Lucas has never shown he can hit in prime time, either. Six + years in pro ball, none in prime time. That’s no accident.

Justafan

March 7th, 2011
10:42 pm

sheeesh, I see your point but not your reasoning…no prime time till now. ST stunk..one time he missed the bag. so what? should we hang ever player that screws up one time. Even the old pro’s do worse. “D” has not been bad according to Fredi.
Thank goodness its Fredi job to pick. Who he picks I’ll support. Peace.

Athens Hacker

March 7th, 2011
11:04 pm

That’s right, be aggressive!

yogi2

March 7th, 2011
11:04 pm

I think Conrad was a career minor league player before last year and he’s what 32 or 32 years old. Mather, Ross and Hinske are all locked in.
Only two slots left. One goes to a SS Lucas or Diory H. The last slot will be between Brooks Conrad, Wilkin Ramirez, Jose Constanza or Matt Young. Schafer is toast. Gwinnett will have a very good outfield.

yogi2

March 7th, 2011
11:06 pm

Maybe 30 or 31

Billy Jack's Barbecue & Shrimp Co

March 7th, 2011
11:08 pm

What does this team lack?

sheeesh

March 7th, 2011
11:08 pm

No, we should not hang anyone for one mistake. But I would bet that mistakes are part of the reason that the minors have so far proven to be his ceiling. His infield defense has not looked sharp in STgames from my limited observations. Time will tell, but so far, what makes him stand out is his hitting. Batting stats in Week 1 of ST are worth, well, not much.

I hope he is successful wherever he ends up and whatever he’s doing, especially if it’s with the Braves. Peace back.

Joshua

March 7th, 2011
11:38 pm

“What does this team lack?”

A twelve year old who broke his arm but can throw 100mph because it healed funny? We still need one of those guys.

athens brave

March 7th, 2011
11:48 pm

I trust FG to decide between Brooks and the new guys. If it’s not Brooks, then good luck to him for some thrills last year. He was horrid in the Giants series, but played a part in us being there in the first place. I also like the way Gonzalez is running camp. Sounds like he’s going to settle in just fine.
DOB, any decent bbq down in the land of the mouse?

TheAntiMe

March 8th, 2011
3:42 am

What does this team lack?

Probably the only thing lacking is a reliable Field Goal Kicker from 45 yards out.

otisnixonsmokescrack!

March 8th, 2011
5:05 am

3 words…. BLEEP DA’ BRAVES!

GovClintonTyree

March 8th, 2011
5:46 am

Diory’s glove is superior? That’s the first I’ve heard of it. For some time now, the book on him was that he was a .300 hitter with a serviceable glove at Gwinnett. Of course, he’s been a .200 hitter in Atlanta.

There’s a poster over on Shanks’ site who is from Omaha, where Lucas played last year, saw many games, and said Lucas is very good defensively at shortstop.

I’ve not seen Lucas yet, but I’ve seen Diory and don’t think he’s much of an answer.

otisnixonsmokescrack!

March 8th, 2011
6:01 am

.braves?? between 88-92 wins, phillies?? between 96-100 wins….braves wc card again due to west and central divisions beating up on each other. phils win nlcs in five games.

otisnixonsmokescrack!

March 8th, 2011
6:04 am

..over the braves

David O'Brien

March 8th, 2011
6:47 am

Diory’s glove is superior? That’s the first I’ve heard of it. For some time now, the book on him was that he was a .300 hitter with a serviceable glove at Gwinnett. Of course, he’s been a .200 hitter in Atlanta.

There’s a poster over on Shanks’ site who is from Omaha, where Lucas played last year, saw many games, and said Lucas is very good defensively at shortstop. — GovClintonTyree

Dont’ know what to tell ya, Gov. Lucas is a serviceable defensive infielder, not a smooth, slicker guy out there with his footwork. He’ll be fine as a backup, but probably not a guy you’d want filling in for a stretch of games the way Diory did when Escobar was out.

The plus in his favor is that he can play the corner infield spots and the outfield, where Diory hasn’t done either. But Fredi mentioned yesterday that he’s going to give Diory a chance to play some outfield soon, to get some time out there and see if he can handle it.

The versatility thing. It’s going to be big with the Braves for their bench guys.

ramblingman

March 8th, 2011
7:44 am

“Too bad the denizens don’t get a vote”

Heaven forbid

“Don’t forget that Lucas was so good that he couldn’t crack the Royals MLB roster.”

The same way we wound up with EOF, because Seattle’s pitching depth is so much better than ours, right? The same way we wound up with Diaz, because he couldn’t crack KC’s roster either. Other teams never make mistakes with roster decisions, so yours is a valid argument.

Peter

March 8th, 2011
7:58 am

We have two guys (Hinske, Mather) who can play ALL of the corner spots. We need a solid defensive backup middle infielder to round out the roster. And its not like Diory is stinking up the place with the bat, hes 5-15. Thats pretty solid.

otisnixonsmokescrack!

March 8th, 2011
8:00 am

kc has a ton of young talent. can’t wait to see if they are kept together long enough to become the next tampa bay rays.

yogi2

March 8th, 2011
8:05 am

How does Jordan Schafer’s minor league stats compare with W. Ramirez,
Ed Lucas, J Constanza or M. Young. I think not very well.

otisnixonsmokescrack!

March 8th, 2011
8:11 am

…all jokes aside. the closer look you take at the braves… the more they look like the 2010 sf giants. but only if chipper jones can stay healthy. the nl east is going to be a dog fight between the phils/braves all season long.

SouthGaBrave

March 8th, 2011
8:16 am

Hitting a 5-15 .333 is much different from a 20-60 .333 average. We’ll see where Diory is at the end of the spring.

El Bravo

March 8th, 2011
8:19 am

DOB, I know the talk of the town has been Teheran so far, but Delgado looked impressive pitching yesterday. He has the moxy of someone that knows he’s better than you and works as quick as any pitcher out there. The future of the Braves looks ridiculously bright…

Jesse Stone

March 8th, 2011
8:20 am

Would like to see W.Ramirez continue his hot spring and break camp with the big club.

Richard Dawson

March 8th, 2011
8:52 am

Chipper to fans: “Kiss my a**”.

Jesse Stone

March 8th, 2011
8:59 am

yogi- Schafer had nice minor league stats……for ONE year.

David O'Brien

March 8th, 2011
9:29 am

Richard Dawson, regarding your 8:52 a.m. comment: Way to take things out of context. Chipper was clear and specific about which small segment of fans he was referring to. (And I think it’s pretty clear from your reaction that you are likely in that segment.)

TheAntiMe

March 8th, 2011
9:38 am

I wonder if the former Hogan’s Hero could be living in his mother’s basement? Survey says… *ding, ding, ding!*

Jesse Stone

March 8th, 2011
9:46 am

AntiMe- DOB said it well enough. There’s no need for you to pile on just because DOB addressed his remarks.

GovClintonTyree

March 8th, 2011
9:52 am

Yeah, but, DOB, I didn’t want Diory filling in for Yunel when Yunel was hurt, either. You really think he’s fluid?

Really, we’re mulling the fifth bench spot. Probably not a huge deal, eh? Unless Gonzalez goes down.

Lot of guys came to Kissimmee ready to claim those last two bench spots, eh?

TheAntiMe

March 8th, 2011
10:32 am

Jesse Stone
March 8th, 2011
9:46 am

AntiMe- DOB said it well enough. There’s no need for you to pile on just because DOB addressed his remarks.

And had you read the article from which Richard Dawson took his Chipper quote, you would understand the significance of my comment. Then again, it probably still would have gone over your head anyway.

john

March 8th, 2011
10:35 am

Hey DOB – Lucas have a shot to make the team over Conrad?

O-me

March 8th, 2011
10:55 am

Schafer one year before the 50 games …..Jesse Stone?

RonB

March 8th, 2011
11:00 am

I attended the Braves’ Saturday game against the Mets and watched Lucas rip a scorching RBI single off Mike Pelfrey that scored Chipper for the first run of the game. While Uggla booted 2 balls in that game, Lucas played nine perfect defensive innings at shortstop. He’s got size and speed, this kid would be a legit candidate to make the 25-man roster on any team in the majors. Lets hope the Braves are smart enough to hang onto him.

Dan O'Brien, Dave's evil twin

March 8th, 2011
11:32 am

Brooks Conrad will end up with Marlins or Nationals and beat the Braves at least three times with pinch its in late innings. He will carry on the tradition of Willie Harris and Wes Helms.

Chuck

March 8th, 2011
12:11 pm

Dan: That sounds about right.
Hard to believe anyone could stay in the Royals farm system that long when the major league club is so bad. Not saying it’s not true – obviously Diaz is a good example – they must run things differently over there. Do they promote guys that are not as good but fit the normal baseball height, weight, power, etc.? I remember rolling my eyes when I heard about Diaz hitting .375 in AAA and not being on the Royals roster at least as a pinch hitter. You would think with their record it would be “what have we got to lose? Give him a shot.” Maybe they don’t eat a good breakfast or something.

stevie rae lucas

March 8th, 2011
12:18 pm

thats my brother haha…. give him a chance?

Jesse Stone

March 8th, 2011
12:23 pm

O-me- yes.

Anti-me- Again, DOB said it all. You’re just trying to be a “beatwriter sniffer”.

Jesse Stone

March 8th, 2011
12:24 pm

For every Matt Diaz, there’s a Mitch Jones, Dallas McPherson, numerous other examples. Matt Diaz with the Royals is an exception rather than the rule.

TheAntiMe

March 8th, 2011
12:43 pm

@ Jesse Stone:
Very impressive. When all else fails call the person who puts your lack of intelligence on display names. And when all is said and done, you still are clueless.

Jesse Stone

March 8th, 2011
12:51 pm

Let’s see: Chipper tells some of his critics that they can K his A. “Richard Dawson” took it out of context and stated “Chipper to fans, “Kiss my a**”. DOB calls him on it. You , for some reason feel the need to pile on when DOB has said all that needs to be said, except you bring up the fact that RD played in Hogan’s Heroes and was a former host of Family Feud. Yeah, real hard to understand…..sniffer.

David

March 8th, 2011
2:08 pm

What do Brooks Conrad and MIchael Jackson have in common?………………….They’ve both been known to wear a glove on their left hand for no apparent reason.

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