JUPITER, Fla. – We’re coming to you from a place that has nothing to do with what Earth, Wind & Fire sang about, and we’re way behind and not going to take much time to get this blog out.
We’ll keep it brief, because a 2-1/2-hour drive, followed by a ‘B’ game on a backfield and watching some batting practice on the main field, doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for, ahem, composing.
The facts you need to know: Jason Heyward is out of the lineup again today with his sore lower back. He’s missed two games in a row with the ailment, after having a regularly scheduled day off Saturday, which is when the back first stiffened on him.
Heyward had hoped to play today, had planned to, but it was still tight after the bus ride down, and just as he was beginning to get it loose, here’s what happened:
I was at the cage to watch him take BP while ago, and he said he’d let me know after he finished how he felt (there was still a chance he’d play at that point).
About 45 seconds after he said that, on maybe the third or fourth swing of his third round in the cage, he felt it pinch and nearly dropped his bat. That was all for the day, in terms of him hitting.
“All was well until that swing,” he said after coming out of the cage. “This is not the time to push it.”
He said there’s a “great chance” he’ll play tomorrow, when the Braves face these Cardinals for the second time in two days (they stay here overnight tonight, their only overnight trip of the spring, same as every spring).
If it was the regular season, Heyward reiterated that he’d play.
“It’s uncomfortable, for sure, but in the season you’re making it work,” he said, meaning you play with such nagging injuries when the games count.
A long, early morning bus ride never helps much when you’re 6-foot-5 and dealing with back tightness.
“I got up and walked around every 30 minutes,” Heyward said. “But other than that, it is what it is.”
What it is is cramped, even the high-end buses that the Braves charter for their trips around Florida in spring training.
On the way off the field, I asked Fredi Gonzalez if he’s at all concerned about Heyward. The first-year Braves manager said he was not. He knows there are probably going to be nagging injuries, aches and pains, for his strapping right fielder.
I also mentioned that it must be a bit like owning a Ferrari.
“What the trainers have told me and Bobby [Cox] has told me, those Ferraris, like you say, are a little temperamental, their bodies,” Gonzalez said. “Right now, it’s March 15. You rest. If he plays, maybe it becomes more a problem.”
BRAVES LINEUP for ‘A’ game
♣ Beachy brings it on backfield : Brandon Beachy brought his ‘A’ stuff to the ‘B’ game this morning. (OK, it’s spring training, we’re just getting our work in like the players, so I had to use that easy one once).
But really, he was impressive. In the Braves’ 3-0, six-inning win, Beachy limited the Cards to two hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in five innings.
Ex-Cardinal Joe Mather hit a long home run over the left-center fence for the Bravos against a team comprised of many of his former Triple-A Lousville teammates, one day after fourth-outfield hopeful Wilkin Ramirez drove a ball off the batter’s eye beyond center field at Dark Star.
Beachy, with pal (and fellow 5th-starter candidate) Mike Minor looking on from a left-field foul territory vantage point a few feet from me (and from GM Frank Wren and asst. GM Bruce Manno), was pretty much dominant against the Cardinals.
“I thought he was outstanding,” Gonzalez said. “Command was good. Breaking ball was nasty. Punched out seven, and he got himself out of a man-on-third, nobody-out jam in a one-run game.”
Beachy got out of that one early jam with a groundout to short, a strikeout and another groundout.
Fifth-starter longshot Rodrigo Lopez pitched a simulated game back at Lake Buena Vista this morning. His line: 5 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 7 strikeouts.
Now we’ll watch Minor do his thing in the regularly scheduled game against the Cards on the main field at Roger Dean Stadium. It’s a perfect day, temps in the 70s and sunny, breezy.
Wish you were here.
Actually, wish you could’ve driven my rented Camry down here, then I could have got a couple more hours of sleep. But we got through, with coffee, Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge of Town, Willie Dixon’s I Am The Blues, and the second disc of Jamey Johnson’s The Guitar Song.
Let’s close with the title cut from the aforementioned masterpiece by The Boss, and you can watch him do it live in typical riveting style here (you gotta check out this video).
“DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN” by Bruce Springsteen
They’re still racing out at the Trestles,
But that blood it never burned in her veins,
Now I hear she’s got a house up in Fairview,
And a style she’s trying to maintain.
Well, if she wants to see me,
You can tell her that I’m easily found,
Tell her there’s a spot out ‘neath Abram’s Bridge,
And tell her, there’s a darkness on the edge of town.
Everybody’s got a secret, Sonny,
Something that they just can’t face,
Some folks spend their whole lives trying to keep it,
They carry it with them every step that they take.
Till some day they just cut it loose
Cut it loose or let it drag ‘em down,
Where no one asks any questions,
or looks too long in your face,
In the darkness on the edge of town.
Some folks are born into a good life,
Other folks get it anyway, anyhow,
I lost my money and I lost my wife,
Them things don’t seem to matter much to me now.
Tonight I’ll be on that hill ’cause I can’t stop,
I’ll be on that hill with everything I got,
Lives on the line where dreams are found and lost,
I’ll be there on time and I’ll pay the cost,
For wanting things that can only be found
In the darkness on the edge of town.