Wren on roster decisions, McLouth’s fast start, etc.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – A quick Q&A with Braves general manager Frank Wren during batting practice before Tuesday’s game against the Yankees.

What have you thought of Ed Lucas? (the minor league free-agent signee was batting .438 — 7-for-16 with four RBIs — in seven games):

Wren: “Lucas has played well. He’s swung the bat. He’s done everything. He’s been as advertised. Our guys thought he was a guy who handled the bat and could play multiple positions, and our scouts were right on.”

I know he can play a lot of positions. But is he a guy who could, say, play shortstop for five games if necessary?

Wren: “Yeah, he could.”

What have you thought of Diory? [Diory Hernandez, another utility-infield candidate, was 5-for-15 with a double and two triples before Tuesday.]

Wren: “Diory’s had a good spring. He looks like he’s recovered from the shoulder surgery and is in better shape. You have shoulder surgery and there’s just not a lot you can do, because every movement affects your shoulder. For him it was a very difficult year like it was for Schafer, just kind of a lost year.”

Is he hitting now the way you guys expected he would a year or two ago?

Wren: “Yeah. We always thought of him as an offensive-minded utility guy, and that’s the way he’s swinging it now.”

How about his defense? [Hernandez plays shortstop and second base.]

Wren: “He’s solid. We know he’s not going to be flashy. He catches the ball and gets guys out. I mean, that’s really what you ask them to do.”

You’ve got a couple of position-player decisions that look like they could be difficult.

Wren: “The longer you wait and the longer you watch, the guys will make those decisions for you. We don’t have to predetermine it; they’ll make those decisions.”

And I’d guess you have to wait because so much could depend upon the health of certain players, right?  Like Chipper [Jones], who so far has been fine.

Wren: “You’re always, until you pack the bags and leave here and finish those two games in Atlanta, you’re open-minded. You’ve got to keep open all your options because things happen.”

In an ideal scenario, would like Jordan Schafer to play every day for a while in the minors?

Wren: “We haven’t even talked about that yet. I think that was our thought coming into this, that we want him to get his at-bats and get on solid ground. He’s done really well. We haven’t predetermined anything to this point, but we like where we are.”

Has Nate McLouth done about all you could’ve hoped for so far in spring training?

Wren: “He’s been tremendous. He looks like Pittsburgh Nate. We weren’t asking for anything more than that. We just wanted him to be Pittsburgh Nate, and he sure looks like that guy.”

79 comments Add your comment

flange1

March 8th, 2011
2:11 pm

DOB,

Great questions!

john braves

March 8th, 2011
2:16 pm

GT71

March 8th, 2011
2:42 pm

Good Qs, ready for bball…and the resurgence of Nate.
Hopefully last year was the abnormal one.

Old Braves Fan

March 8th, 2011
2:45 pm

ATL Fan

March 8th, 2011
2:46 pm

It would be great to have the Pittsburg Nate roaming CF.

Honest

March 8th, 2011
2:52 pm

Has Pittsburg Nate throwing the ball to a base when runners are going wild? That’s a non-batting issue he had last year.

#6

March 8th, 2011
2:52 pm

Would be nice to have a 3rd Baseman that could play 3rd every day thus free up DH to get more guys at bats.

bulldogmaniac

March 8th, 2011
2:54 pm

I really think that these team has a fighters chance to be right there at the end of the season!
I am starting to get pretty excited about the possibilities with this group and our pitching staff!

Skid

March 8th, 2011
3:05 pm

#6 your way off base with that comment.

Bobby Cox

March 8th, 2011
3:06 pm

Jordan Schafer?

Yeah, I remember spring training 2009. That kid can hit, in our simulated games.

Time for another drink …

toby

March 8th, 2011
3:08 pm

Ive liked what ive seen from the Braves thus far this spring,i think were in for an exciting season and i cant wait for opening day!!!!!

Kelly's Johnson

March 8th, 2011
3:08 pm

If Chipper would retire Frank could use that $13 mil and get an everyday player, one that hit above .265 and steal a few bases.
He should be DHing in the AL instead of DLing for the Braves

Braves82

March 8th, 2011
3:09 pm

#6, haters gotta hate, so go hate on Chipper somewhere else….moron!!

Kelly's Johnson

March 8th, 2011
3:10 pm

McLouth knows this is his last year of making the big bucks, so that is why the old bat has risen from the dead.

Heisenberg

March 8th, 2011
3:10 pm

While it is true Nate’s offensive numbers look good, how has he looked defensively? Particularly, has he been in a situation where he had to make an aggressive throw and actually made it instead of holding it?

Capt. Obvious

March 8th, 2011
3:11 pm

When will the Bravos be on tv next?

Lowcountry Brave

March 8th, 2011
3:12 pm

Anyone have some details on how Schafer is hitting this spring? BA, RBI, etc.

Capt. Obvious

March 8th, 2011
3:13 pm

Chipper should bat 2nd or 6th. Please, please, please do not bat him 3rd. His days there are over! Still love ya Chip!

Jordan Schafer's Mama

March 8th, 2011
3:29 pm

Jordie’s batting saverage may only be .208 but there is still 3+ weeks left before Opening Day, and I know in my heart Jordie will be patrolling centerfield and batting leadoff for the Atlanta Braves the next 15 years !

Him Tudson

March 8th, 2011
3:32 pm

New nickname alert: I dub thee “Pittsburgh Nate”!!!!

jordan h

March 8th, 2011
3:36 pm

I CREATED A BRAVES BLOG CHECK IT OUT AND SUSCRIBE IF YOU LIKE IT… HERE IS THE LINK.. LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK… IM 27 YRS OLD BUT BEEN FOLLOWING THE BRAVES SINCE I WAS 7

jordanhbraves.blogspot.com

willieg hates bill shanks

March 8th, 2011
4:03 pm

hello braves fans another year of losing are you ready?THE yankees win the ws this year at a good price i might add so braves fans, boston fans and you idiot phillie fans get ready for pain.

willieg hates bill shanks

March 8th, 2011
4:04 pm

you will cry just like the miami players.

jfreak13713@yahoo.com

March 8th, 2011
4:10 pm

If Nate hits the Braves will be a really hard out! The pitching should be good enough but if the offense came overcome the errors then I say we can contend! All eyes are on Philly and that is a hard spotlight to live up to. I like not being noticed!

Kimbrel's back

March 8th, 2011
4:16 pm

@willieg hates bill shanks Really?!?!?! Nothing else better to do with your time? Why not go work on that wonderful starting pitching staff of yours?

Mike Blanford

March 8th, 2011
4:18 pm

How bout a swap with Boston for outfielders. Mclouth for Cameron. Cameron is a local guy and is a big upgrade from Nate in the field and box. Dont think Boston would like the deal though.

Disbott 3000

March 8th, 2011
4:20 pm

Pittsburgh Nate would be awesome. Heck, Puxatawney Nate would be an improvement over last years model. Here’s hoping he keeps the momentum going.

Deedle Nick

March 8th, 2011
4:29 pm

I hope Nate does so well that we all agree he should be dubbed “Peachy Nate”, as in Georgia Peach.

eskippy

March 8th, 2011
4:36 pm

How about the return of” Nate 13″?

lanier

March 8th, 2011
4:37 pm

I will wait on Nate awhile. Every year there are lots of spring training all stars but maybe

Alaska Braves Fan

March 8th, 2011
4:53 pm

McLouth is going to be fine this year. He won’t hit over .270 at the most, but he’ll contribute quite a few doubles and probably 15 – 18 home runs. His defense will be adequate. Not an all-star, but about like he was in Pittsburgh. The guy who worries me a bit this year is Uggla. Imagine the pressure he feels to perform after getting a career-making contract. He may be OK, but he seems a little shaky to me in spring training.

John Galt

March 8th, 2011
4:55 pm

Why is it so hard for some of you people to understand that Schafer was HURT when he became un-productive? Whether this year or next, he WILL be out LOH and CF-

Kentavo

March 8th, 2011
5:06 pm

A new nickname? Pittsburgh Nate.

luv them braves

March 8th, 2011
5:09 pm

It’s been said before, bit it bears repeating – the Braves look awfully good offensively if we can get production out of the lead off spot.

McLouth
Prado
Chipper
Heyward
Uggla
McCann
Gonzo
Freddie

I’d hate to be a pitcher looking at those eight guys. No real superstars, but eight solid bats

Jordan Schafer's Mama

March 8th, 2011
5:14 pm

Leave my Jordie alone ! He had a solid single today boosting his average to a stellar .214 !

Kelly's Johnson

March 8th, 2011
5:15 pm

Trade Jurrjens to the Red Sox for Jacoby Ellsbury, who is healthy & ready to swipe some bases for Fredi !

Michael, The Abbreviation

March 8th, 2011
5:20 pm

Bro alaska brave fan — i highly doubt uggla is shaking in his boots from his contract in SPRING TRAINING!! WHERE there is no fan base, he isnt even in atlanta yet bro.. common bro, dont be a lame

He should be DHing in the AL instead of DLing for the Braves – hahaha that was a good one kellys johnson
speaking of kelly johnson, man i wish we still had him

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The Mel Kiper of Baseball

March 8th, 2011
5:26 pm

Mrs. Schafer,

On Opening Day your Jordie will be in the metro Atlanta area, but playing for the Gwinnett Braves. By this time next near, young Jordie will asking people if they’d like fries with their burger and coke.

Lemke's Knuckler

March 8th, 2011
5:29 pm

“The guy who worries me a bit this year is Uggla. Imagine the pressure he feels to perform after getting a career-making contract. He may be OK, but he seems a little shaky to me in spring training.”

Uggla is one of those self-professed “slow starters.” I wouldn’t worry about him too much. He’ll swing from his heels and catch a few when the time is right. Hell, if Nate and Freeman swing like this most of the year, they won’t need that much from Uggla.

Glord1

March 8th, 2011
5:29 pm

I have been very encouraged by Schafer this Spring. He has made some hard outs. I think he has a bright future.

If Nate can go 20 HR 80 RBI and hit .265 the Braves will be very good.

JesusisLord

March 8th, 2011
5:30 pm

Rock on, Nate: Hebrews, 11th chapter.

phil

March 8th, 2011
5:34 pm

Boy, that was some insightful stuff….we’re open-minded until the 2 games in Atlanta….pittsburgh nate….so and so hack utility guy looks great…shafer looks pretty good….

it’s gonna be a long year…

phil

March 8th, 2011
5:36 pm

I’ll worry about Uggla (ugly) for you all….prove it on the field and not before….please, none of this slow starter copout crap….go hit the ball, go field the ball and throw people out…..period.

Conyers Braves Fan

March 8th, 2011
5:44 pm

Good questions from DOB and good answers from Frank Wren.
I hope Nate carries over his spring training play into the regular season. However, still a ways to go in spring training to know if he is really back to playing up to his Pittsburg days. I hope Chipper will be able to play enough to be a factor this year. Assuming he and Nate playing reasonably well, the Braves should be playoff contenders.

Atlanta Brave

March 8th, 2011
5:47 pm

Hope Pittsburgh Nate don’t make like paint, and fade…………………………….>>>>

Abnerish

March 8th, 2011
5:54 pm

I like that nickname – Pittsburgh Nate. But that’s only when he’s going well. What’s his nickname when he’s stinkin’ up the joint? Gwinnett Nate? Other ideas?

squeezeplay

March 8th, 2011
6:14 pm

Even if Jordan starts in gwinnett, hw will one day be our starter. He is a five tool ball player with a rocket arm.(better than our whole outfield including Heward) talk trash now one day he will lead us

Braves Paisan

March 8th, 2011
6:21 pm

Evening, fellow Braves Beat Blog denizens. I am jazzed as the half-seasoon package tickets arrived. The Lucas v. Diory battle is a good one. Time will tell. Surely someone keeps Spring batting stats by pitcher level; e.g., 2 for 3 off AA pitchers, 2 for 6 off of AAA pitchers, 0 for 6 off Major Leaguers.

The Mel Kiper of Baseball

March 8th, 2011
6:35 pm

How does Schafer look good in spring training? He’s hiiting .214 with no extra base hits, no SBs, no RBIs.

HE SUCKS !

He’s done ZILCH since he got busted.

Are you his relatives ?

The Mel Kiper of Baseball

March 8th, 2011
6:37 pm

5-tool player?

Squeezeplay, do you know what the term means?

10 year-olds should be banned from this forum !

AZBravoFan

March 8th, 2011
6:37 pm

eric the elder

March 8th, 2011
6:46 pm

Reasons for hope for the new season:

An injury-prone right fielder, a center fielder whose hopes go back 2 years ago to Pittsburgh, and a converted 2nd baseman in left field.

A 3rd baseman who has no illusions about playing a full season, a SS who has never seen a double play he didn’t want to hit into, a slow-starting, error prone 2nd baseman, and an untested rookie at 1st base.

We have Lowe whom everyone has hated for years, and a shaky Jair. Two rookies battling for the 5th spot. Oh yeah, we should be right there.

Relax, everyone, I’m just kidding around (well, with maybe a kernel of truth). I look forward to the season as much as anyone.

The Dude Abides

March 8th, 2011
6:59 pm

Look, we dont have a leadoff problem. Prado has some speed and consistently gets on base and isnt fazed by the leadoff role.

Braves Paisan

March 8th, 2011
7:00 pm

Replay of today’s game starting on MLBN.

Robin Of The Hood

March 8th, 2011
7:21 pm

WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE WANT JJ TRADED!!!! You dont trade young pitching!!! Who would replace him… D Lowe is gone in 2 years more than likely, Hudson can only be asked to do so much, personally Hanson to me just has a feel to him that he wont be here long term once FA hits and right now Minor and Beachy are still learning the ropes. When the young prospects come up someone still has to be an Ace and teach them

Braves Paisan

March 8th, 2011
7:35 pm

Watching the replay now. JJ has hit 91-92 mph on some heaters, and it is still early in Spring. It just goes to show how intensive the scrutiny on MLB has become. Back in the day, you couldn’t find a box score on a game like this to save your life. Now, we debate pitch counts on AA prospects, LOL!

yogi2

March 8th, 2011
8:04 pm

Schafer had a great spring 2 years ago. Melky Cabrero is having a great spring this year. Do you want Melk-dud back? Schafer being hurt is a cop out He can’t even hit Mississippi AA ball pitching Send him home or to Rome and let him start over. The Braves have other 5-tool players that are much better.CHECK IT OUT ” Schafer to HOME OR ROME OR KROGER”

athdog

March 8th, 2011
10:05 pm

Pittsburgh Nate is a good nickname, and would be nice if PN showed up for the Braves this year. How about ‘2009 Jair’ and ‘2008 Chipper’ ? Those two would be big, also.

Jack Fate

March 8th, 2011
10:10 pm

Pittsburgh Nate reminds me of an old gangster I read about named Pittsburgh Phil, who wasn’t from Pittsburgh and whose name was Harry.

http://www.j-grit.com/criminals-murder-inc-harry-pittsburgh-phil-strauss.php

Obee

March 8th, 2011
10:55 pm

Schafer bashers will eat their words one day.

130on2

March 9th, 2011
6:47 am

I hope ‘Pittsburg Nate’ is correct. But frankly, I expect him to flop as soon as the season starts. I believe that he is a loser and you can’t correct that.

NickGranite

March 9th, 2011
7:42 am

Nate shags flies, that’s it. It was apparent last year after cursing him for the umpteenth time because he didn’t attempt to thow out any runner that he simply can’t throw. Hopefully he has worked out his batting woes AND worked out a system that with people on base, he gives up any close flyball to the left and right fielder so they can make a throw. Hell of a way to run an outfield….

Tom

March 9th, 2011
9:37 am

when is billy wagner gonna free up his spot on the 40 man roster?

David O'Brien

March 9th, 2011
10:19 am

Tom, not sure when Wagner’s spot will be free, but almost certain Braves won’t need it till the last days of camp. So not really important right now, at all. Unless the Braves trade a player for two roster players, they don’t need another roster spot until they finalize the 40-man before opening day, and then only if they need to add somebody who’s not on the current 40-man.

David O'Brien

March 9th, 2011
10:22 am

OK, off to watch the “B” game

justin1

March 9th, 2011
10:33 am

He’s coming out of the gate too fast. By opening day he will be hitting .190 again.

Coach (2011 and Fredi G. a GO!)

March 9th, 2011
10:49 am

Ed Lucas? somehow it’s difficult to get excited about an athlete who spent seven years in the Royals minor league system, and never made it with the big league team….the frigging Royals for crying out loud.

As for Diory Hernandez, he plays SS and unfortunately the Braves don’t have a better option behind Gonzo at the moment.

Don

March 9th, 2011
11:19 am

WHAT is the basis for anyone thinking that we are not going to have a signifiant problem at 3rd Base – that Chipper is going to have a good year?
Are we forgetting that he was already in a significant downhill production age slide for TWO seasons – even before the injury.
– And now he is going to be a year older.
And is also going to be trying to come back from a significant injury.
Even if he should come back from the injury all the way back to where he was before the injury, you have a player whose offensive production is not good (especially for a 3rd place hitter) – driving in about 60 or so runs — And a defensive player whose range is limited — Not to mention his being a year older in that significant down hill age slide.

FogHorn Leghorn

March 9th, 2011
12:21 pm

…Hating “The Dipper” isnt the issue. Hating the fact that “The Dipper” is getting “welfare, living off his way in the past accomplishments” at-bats………is what the real issue is.

Bottom line, Jason Heyward should be batting 3rd….not an over the hill, injury prone, overpaid shell of his former self (The Dipper).

Chipper Jones (the former MVP and Hall of Fame player) no longer plays for the Braves. What we have instead is “The Dipper” (dipping into the Braves ability to improve the roster by sucking up $13 mil of precious payroll dollars).

Look, I’m not personally faulting “The Dipper” for wanting to collect his $13 mil owed over each of the next 2 years. No one forced Braves management to give him that contract extention. What I have an issue with is “The Dipper” proclaiming with his B.S. “I’ll retire if I cant perform at a high level”. “The Dipper” IS NOT going to walk away from $26 mil…no matter how much he sucks at the plate..no matter how long he ends up on the DL.

If you dumb, bible reading, gun toting (what a contrast, lol) rednecks want to drink the standard “Southern, I’m a dumb redneck” kool-aid….then by all means, get drunk on it. You simply deserve it. Meanwhile, when it comes down to it, “The Dipper” could care less about you guys who are too simple minded to realize the truth.

FogHorn Leghorn

March 9th, 2011
12:33 pm

…Don…well said 11:19am post.

However, simply put….most of these embiciles on here arent going to hear it. They are too consumed (like David O’Brainless One is) with sniffing “The Dipper’s” jock strap and being disillusioned with his way in the past accomplishments to accept reality. Their insatiable need to believe that “The Dipper” is still the Chipper Jones of MVP past, no different than religious fanatics who “actually” believe that prayer works (like there is a “God” who wants to see Kurt Warner win another Super Bowl or 50cent win another Grammy, lol)….is so strong, that they simply cannot listen to reason.

So take solace in the fact that there are a few of us out there who actually take advantage of our American freedoms when it comes to being critical of our leaders (something that David O’Brainless one refuses to do when he fails each day to question the obvious: …..the wisdom of Fredo Gonzalez to just automatically insert “The Dipper” into the #3 slot of the batting order).

David O’Brainless One interprets “Freedom of the Press” as a moratorium to kiss rump and write up fluff pieces when it comes to Fredo and “The Dipper”. A few of us actually know what true patriotism means (meaning that we actually have the nerve to question our so called leaders…instead of blinding trusting that they are making the right decisions…especially when it’s obvious that they are not).

The Mel Kiper of Baseball

March 9th, 2011
12:38 pm

FogHorn,

You are quite astute!

Dipper will be hurt by May 1st, forcing Prado to thirdbase. Then the Braves will get minimal offense from both LF & CF because McLouth will be hitting around the Mendoza line once he sees big league pitching, and not the AA stuff he’s getting in spring training.

These bloggers touting Jordan Schafer must be his relatives. The guy has demonstrated NOTHING since his minor league suspension, and so far is only hitting .214 in spring training. He was deemed “healthy” last season & hit a combined .201 for three different minor league teams. I don’t see it.

I think we gotta problem.

ramblingman

March 9th, 2011
12:42 pm

What is the basis for anyone taking any post by Don or anyone hiding behind a cartoon name to be a serious post?

ramblingman

March 9th, 2011
12:43 pm

Hmmm, guess I could change my name and repost agreements with myself.

Nah. That’s something anyone over the age of 10 would immediately recognize as foolish.

esasc1

March 9th, 2011
12:49 pm

Man what a bunch of Doomers (doomsdayers) in here today, the sky is falling. Were less than midway into ST. ST is for the vets to work on things and rookies to show their stuff. Lucas has shown he can play ball so far, Ramierz has shown he call play ball with speed,Chipper has shown that he is still recovering from a knee injury. We know schafer and mather needs some more time in AAA hitting. We know conrad,bowman,clevelen are in trouble. We know we have some good young arms getting ready for their turn in the bigs. We also know nate is having a good start in ST. Other than that we know nothing, Wait till the last days of ST, then we will know who stays, who goes, and where we may need to trade up. Every veteran player has been in their first ST trying to make a team, no better example than martin prado. I wonder how many people were saying that prado kid doesnt have speed,power,poor arm, and cant hit. He will never make the big team.

Mark's for the Braves

March 9th, 2011
1:45 pm

If McClouth returns to being Pittsburgh Nate and Chipper gives us 120 games at third, I think our offence will be just fine. With our pitching, I’m sure we’ll be right in the thick of things in at the top of the NL East this year.

wayne hunnicutt

March 9th, 2011
3:12 pm

I spend a little time here to escape politics. Then here comes an idiot like foghorn. I get it, you hate god, you hate people you go out and work for a living, hell, you probably in the man caused global warming hoax. You must be a really brain dead mall zombie to voice your whiny opinions. Go to some of the conservative sites and spit out your tripe. I will look forward to seeing you there.

Marty "Taco" Perez

March 9th, 2011
3:39 pm

Foghorn makes alot of arguable points…………but they don’t belong on THIS blog!

ramblingman

March 9th, 2011
4:46 pm

Arguable points? In a loony bin perhaps. He quotes Don, for goodness sake, and references “embiciles”.

You are very correct that he doesn’t belong on this blog. I will leave where he belongs to the imagination of anyone who is willing to consider that.

J. L HARRIS

March 10th, 2011
3:43 pm

WREN LIKES WHERE SCHAFER IS???? IS HE KIDDING?? SCHAFER IS BATTING .145….

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