Jones homers, doubles, declares he’s ready to break camp

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - With two weeks to go before Opening Day, Chipper Jones declared himself ready now, surgically-repaired left knee and all.

He hit his third home run of spring Thursday on a solo shot to center field, doubled, and made two nice plays in the field – one a bare-handed play on a slow-roller, another on a stab of a line drive.

“I’m not even thinking about the knee because it’s not an issue,” Jones said. “I have no pain in the knee whatsoever…I feel like I turned a corner about 2 ½ weeks ago. I’m just really excited to get this season started right now.”

Jones leads the Braves in homers (three) and RBIs (11) this spring. Freddie Freeman followed his homer four batters later with his first home run of spring on a two-run shot to center as well.

But it was Nate McLouth who drew Jones’ highest praise after the game. McLouth had two more hits Thursday to raise his spring batting average to .367 (11-for-30).

“Nate’s swung the bat outstanding down here so far,” Jones said. “And what everybody was deeming question marks before we got down here – namely myself and Nate – I think we’ve put those to rest.”

Marek, Gearrin among roster cuts

The Braves announced a second round of roster cuts Thursday, optioning pitchers Cory Gearrin, Stephen Marek and Anthony Varvaro to Triple-A Gwinnett.

They reassigned five more to the minor league camp: left-hander Yohan Flande, catcher Wilkin Castillo, infielder Shawn Bowman and outfielders Brent Clevlen and Jose Constanza.

Marek is the most notable because he’d been in the conversation for the final bullpen spot. Marek have given up only one in 6 1/3 innings this spring but walked five.

“Marek is a guy that during the course of the year – this is what I told him – we’re going to need pitching,” Gonzalez said. “I would feel comfortable for him to pitch in a major league game right now. He’s a big part of this organization, and I think we’ll see him in the major leagues.”

Etc.

Scott Proctor nearly spoiled a 7-0 lead for the Braves in the eighth inning, allowing the first four batters he faced to reach, including a two-run double by former Brave Adam LaRoche. He was ultimately charged with five runs, including two that scored after he’d been relieved by Cristhian Martinez. Martinez gave up two hits and had center fielder Jordan Schafer commit a double-error behind him allowing another run to score, before escaping the inning with a 7-6 lead.

Proctor’s ERA for the spring rose to 9.35 and his candidacy to win the final bullpen spot took a hit.

“He had a tough time getting his breaking ball over today,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He probably could have got out of that inning but he was right at 30 pitches. We didn’t want him to get hurt to get out of that inning.”

108 comments Add your comment

eskippy

March 17th, 2011
2:51 pm

Fish Bisch

March 17th, 2011
2:56 pm

Designate Jones for assignment.

bbkorbel

March 17th, 2011
3:00 pm

Fish Bish…you give the great Furman Bisher a bad name!

Alex

March 17th, 2011
3:01 pm

What does Marek have to do to get a spot? Put on a Scott Proctor mask?

wjones

March 17th, 2011
3:08 pm

Designate Fish Bisch for assignment. Doubtful if even the Marlins would pick him up.

Shaggy1973

March 17th, 2011
3:12 pm

I agree Alex. I don’t get it.

Garbonza

March 17th, 2011
3:12 pm

When will Jordan Schafer get demoted to the minor league camp?

DaveInDallas(NC)

March 17th, 2011
3:14 pm

Alex, good stuff. I agree. I hope Atlanta doesn’t continue its pattern of being faithful to players at the expense of others and until it’s too late. Both apply in this situation.

Garbonza

March 17th, 2011
3:14 pm

Marek has looked solid every time. Maybe he should put on Proctor’s or Schafer’s uniform to get noticed.

retired

March 17th, 2011
3:18 pm

Fish Bisch it gets old your just a nabob of negativity! to paraphrase Spiro Agnew.

Crazylegs

March 17th, 2011
3:23 pm

Hey Dave in Dallas…If Raw Dog makes the club, you’ll have your answer. That seems to be one of the worst qualities of the Shurholtz/Cox regime! The list is long! Lets pray its different now. If Wilken Ramirez and Ed Lucas make the team…We are looking at a new age!

JT Grace

March 17th, 2011
3:23 pm

I hope Marek gets traded. It’s obvious that the Braves have zero plans to give him a chance on the big club. Keeping the useless Proctor and sending Marek back to the minors….makes no sense at all.

Braves82

March 17th, 2011
3:25 pm

Fish Bisch is a troll. He wants the attention thats why he keeps posting. Just ignore the teenager!

Bigbrave

March 17th, 2011
3:26 pm

Costanza….Thought he worked for the Yankees

Matt

March 17th, 2011
3:29 pm

The Braves would give Chipper another job on the team before they dfaed him FBisch. But to the rest of us ignoring him Who else feels we will have a great team? Barring injuries of course knocks softly on wood.

T-Bone

March 17th, 2011
3:44 pm

Constanza? I thought it was “can’t stand ya.”

Dennis Reynolds

March 17th, 2011
3:52 pm

Constanza should have been kept.

tim

March 17th, 2011
4:02 pm

How’s your mom’s basement Bisch? It’s either that or you live on a motorized scooter…Either way, hope your luck changes real soon!

Hammond

March 17th, 2011
4:05 pm

hey fish breath you have been cut you are not good enough for the minors IDIOT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hammond

March 17th, 2011
4:07 pm

Fish Breath is not a teenager he is just a PUNK

Furman Fan

March 17th, 2011
4:18 pm

Fish Bisch makes as much sense as I do.

DCBrave

March 17th, 2011
4:40 pm

Constanza — good one, Carroll. I’m sure you did it with a reason.

Cannot agree more with those Marek posts. Dude was really solid, unlike Proctor.

Tom

March 17th, 2011
4:47 pm

Hopefully Lucas makes it, he can play a lot of positions and has been hitting real well. What do you guys think

willy

March 17th, 2011
5:03 pm

I read something today that made me think, I was reading MLB.Coms post on Chase Utley. Ruben Amari wants to avoid surgery if at all possible. I think if this washeyward on the braves they woulg have surgery so he could be healthy for the playoff push. but Ruben amaro know that the braves are right there with the phillies and doesn’t want to get behind us, anyone agree?

LAG

March 17th, 2011
5:06 pm

Hey, anyone know if this evening’s game will be blacked out on MLB Network in Athens? CSS is available on Charter, but I have DirecTV.

Brava

March 17th, 2011
5:21 pm

I agree with the others here about Marek. Can’t understand why he would be sent down because the dude has dealt when pitching.

Also not happy that Conrad wasn’t sent down, but I said I wouldn’t say anything else about him so ignore what I just wrote.

Arkie

March 17th, 2011
5:29 pm

I agree with several of you guys – What does Marek have to do win a job. I hope Fredi is not mirroring Bobby and JS – Keeping older has beens and letting our younger talent exit. Come on Fredi – If this is your team to manage, you have a chance to keep several younger players that can become good ML players. Give them a chance.

Tom

March 17th, 2011
5:32 pm

All Conrad can do is provide a timely hit off the bench, we have that with Hinskie, If hinske and Diory H, are on the bench, those are two who struggle on D….Keep Lucas with the big boys, he can play all infield positions

Tom

March 17th, 2011
5:34 pm

*If conrad and Diory H I meant…

Ralph

March 17th, 2011
5:52 pm

Carroll, do you have any idea what there is about Stephen Marek that management doesn’t like, he had a terrific season last year at Gwinette, 1.23 era with 9 saves and has been lights out this spring, he would be a good possibility as a right handed set up man. Also they used up an option on him, you only get so many of those options before you have to put him on the roster or place him on waivers I beleive.

Ralph

March 17th, 2011
6:01 pm

Year before last we were all complaining when Conrad was called up and hit around 380 while soneone was on the DL then when the injured player returned management sent Brooks back down and kept Norton as the primary pinch hitter, you all know how that turned out.

Carroll Rogers

March 17th, 2011
6:04 pm

Ralph, Marek hasn’t used any options, he’s never been up. I think the Braves like him, and he was in the mix for that final spot. Guess with all these guys fighting for that one spot he just missed the mark. A lot of those contenders are putting up good numbers this spring.

olddawg

March 17th, 2011
6:11 pm

I do believe Marek is lefthanded , it would be very odd for a team to carry 4 lefties in the bullpen

Ralph

March 17th, 2011
6:11 pm

Carroll, according to his stats on MLB braves site he played in 4 games in 2009 and 3 games in 2010 and in the press release today it says he was “optioned” to Gwinett today. Where am I going wrong?

Ralph

March 17th, 2011
6:15 pm

olddawg, Marek bats left handed and throws right handed.

olddawg

March 17th, 2011
6:17 pm

Sorry Marek is right handed he just bats lefty, my mistake, but since I have never been a Manager or GM I have to trust those who have.

olddawg

March 17th, 2011
6:19 pm

Maybe they want to have a young freash arm to bring up later in the year when our BP is getting tired

olddawg

March 17th, 2011
6:21 pm

not sure maybe we will carry only 11 pitchers anyway

Carroll Rogers

March 17th, 2011
6:21 pm

Not sure what you’re looking at Ralph but to my knowledge Marek has yet to make the major leagues so you don’t lose an option for sending him down until he’s actually been on the 25-man roster during the regular season, not spring training.

double down the left field line for the resurgent Nate McLouth

olddawg

March 17th, 2011
6:23 pm

If so BP will Kimbrell , Morlyan, Linebrink, Venters, O Flattery , Sherril

Ralph

March 17th, 2011
6:33 pm

Carroll, your right as always, I was looking at his spring training carrer stats.

JaxBrave

March 17th, 2011
6:51 pm

Is Billy Wagner still on the 40 man roster?

Ralph

March 17th, 2011
7:28 pm

Awesome Pitching ERA: Lowe=.064, Minor=.090, Hudson=1.29, Hanson=1.29, JJ=3.86

Chip

March 17th, 2011
8:02 pm

Could be Marek was sent down to get extended work ? Proctor maybe be just insurance in blow outs ?

ray

March 17th, 2011
8:27 pm

I agree with prior posts. sending Marek down at this stage is nonsense.
I could see it if they were down to final cuts, but not getting down to 38.
Marek is last remnant of disastrous Teixeira trade. so Braves want to make sure they get aboslutely zero from the deal. making a horrible deal as bad as possible as if it wasn’t one of the worst trades ever already.
a bad joke.

predsjack fom Smashville

March 17th, 2011
9:00 pm

We have contenders for the final bullpen spots and some will be filled with pretenders.

bkinkennesaw

March 17th, 2011
9:19 pm

Anyone still think Proctor should stay? 6 runs in 2/3rds? We got better arms in Rome….

billmaier

March 17th, 2011
9:33 pm

carroll: Good numbers???? proctor and sherrill still on the team, good numbers????????????????

billmaier

March 17th, 2011
9:36 pm

Was proctor throwing b.p.— 9.36 era for the spring–

ncsu

March 17th, 2011
9:45 pm

Yeah there is nothing good about Proctor’s numbers. MLB teams sure work in strange ways…

Chopdawg

March 17th, 2011
9:49 pm

lol Retired! (you can be a Nabob, as long as you’re not Nattering…)

Carroll Rogers

March 17th, 2011
9:57 pm

billmaier i was thinking more along the lines of Ascanio and Abreu when I said that about five hours ago….but you got me. ….I’m the one who cut Marek today (smirk)

kelly

March 17th, 2011
10:06 pm

BYE PROCTOR.
Please do not let him pitch in the regular season.
MK

granndpa peckinpah

March 17th, 2011
10:33 pm

“And what everybody was deeming question marks before we got down here – namely myself and Nate – I think we’ve put those to rest.”

Do it in a game that matters and we’ll put those questions to rest.

Lowcountry Brave

March 17th, 2011
10:34 pm

I will be stunned (and devastated) if Proctor makes the roster. Unfortunately he is done for.

billmaier

March 17th, 2011
10:41 pm

carroll: I didnt say you cut marek, just that you were defending it?.

billmaier

March 17th, 2011
10:44 pm

carroll: I agrre ascanio and abreau, especially have looked good, But will this organization admit their Gm has made mistakes and give sherrill and proctor bus tickets and admit their mistakes?

billmaier

March 17th, 2011
10:51 pm

So if we went with performance, and who can get the job done over major league experience– bullpen oF Kimbrel, Venters, Moylan, Oflaherty, Linebrink, Marek, and Abreau

Ralph

March 17th, 2011
11:10 pm

It seems that if the braves have a couple of bucks invested in some has been they will keep him on the active roster come hell or high water and it seems that winning is not their primary goal.

Ralph

March 17th, 2011
11:12 pm

Having said that, I guess KK will end up being the 5th starter.

Dennis Reynolds

March 17th, 2011
11:25 pm

Chipper Jones is the man

chs98

March 17th, 2011
11:44 pm

marek goes down to get morr work plain and simple. with a few games left work is limited in major league camp. so if he goes down he can get more work and be ready for season. he can be brought back up at beginning of season. just sit back and let the smarter people do thier jobs

Carroll Rogers

March 17th, 2011
11:56 pm

billmaier, i’d think Proctor could well get a bus ticket….Sherrill can at least get lefties out still. And they like his leadership capabilities.

and i wasn’t so much defending the Marek decision as trying to figure what the Braves’ reasoning was for why they made the decision, you know?

Lennox

March 18th, 2011
12:10 am

Carrol, that isn’t how options work. If a player is on the 40-man roster but not on the 25-man active roster then he is considered to be on optional assignment to the minors and it uses up one of that player’s 3 options.

Since Marek has been on the 40-man roster since the 2009 season, this would be his third and final option year.

AD

March 18th, 2011
6:57 am

Enter your comments here

AD

March 18th, 2011
6:59 am

Lennox: Carrol is right. Marek is on the 40-man roster but not currently on the active roster. They can move him freely as many times as they want without losing an option year. http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/team/roster_40man.jsp?c_id=atl

Paddy

March 18th, 2011
8:15 am

JT Grace….You didn’t understand the article and the reference to Marek. FG said to be ready for a call up when we need pitching. I would say they have all the interest they need to include him in their plans for 2011. Try reading slower.

UGASlobberknocker

March 18th, 2011
8:36 am

Fish Bisch has tarter sauce on the brain. and is obviously stewed to the gills.

Tech Sucks

March 18th, 2011
8:54 am

CHIPPPPPPPPPPPPERRRRRRRRRRRRR

Hell yes.

wjones

March 18th, 2011
9:07 am

AD & Carroll, Lennox is right. Once a player is placed on the 40 man, they have to use an option to send him down (unless they designate him for assignment, which normally they would not want to do). So every year Marek has been on the 40 man and thereafter sent down, that constitutes an option (per year, not per occurance). So if Marek was placed on the 40 man in 2009, then later sent down, an option was burned. But if he was called up during 2009 and stayed up, then no option was used. In 2010, rinse and repeat. Same for 2011. So if an option was used in 2009, then we just used his last option (but can call him up and option him all this year if we desire). If he wasn’t optioned in 2009, then he still has one bullet left after this year.

reckingball

March 18th, 2011
9:08 am

I believe that the Braves will win the East.

Fols

March 18th, 2011
9:17 am

Nate’s confidence did a few things…..gave us one hell of a batting order and turned Jordan into puddnig! The kid crumbled!

Don

March 18th, 2011
9:21 am

In the competition for the final Bull Pen spot – How does one of the contenders who has allowed only one run all spring get sent down while another who almost blew a 7 run lead yesterday and has a ERA of over 9.00 is still here. I thought that Cox retired. There may be a good logical reason for this — but I hope that it isn’t the same old, old Cox procedure of using a veteran that he likes regardless of performance. Obviously, it is too early to judge yet.

Don

March 18th, 2011
9:36 am

So Chipper declares himself all the way back from the knee injury –PROBLEM IS – All the way back to WHAT – What does all the way back to where he was before the injury MEAN???? With him all the way back to where he was before the injury gives us a part time Third Baseman with very limited defesive range, who was already in a two year significant downhill age slide relating to prodiction (and is now a year older), and who had not really been productive offensivly for two seasons (especially for a third place hitter – driving in about 60 or so runs) – and will probably be costing the Braves a huge chunk out of their salary budget for the next two years and keeping them from being able to use this money to improve the team.

TB

March 18th, 2011
9:41 am

Proctor, Conrad & Schafer to the minors.

MB

March 18th, 2011
9:47 am

People like Fish Bisch and Joe Tess Fish House over on Schultz’s blog will go away if people simply don’t respond to them. That’s the easiest way to get rid of troll: make him bored. Works every time.

reckingball

March 18th, 2011
9:52 am

GO BRAVES!!!!!!

Sgt. Joe Friday#714

March 18th, 2011
9:55 am

MB @9:47……Do you think that would work with Don?

MB

March 18th, 2011
9:57 am

Our season is sure looking bright, eh folks? I sure hope Chipper continues to swing like this in the regular season. I think our lineup will be fine even if he’s not swinging so hot, but everyone knows that when Chipper is swinging well, the Braves are winning. Our lineup is capable of producing 20+ home runs 1 through 8. Not many teams can boast that. And our rotation is looking great. I know it’s only spring training, but our starters have looked pretty darn good, particularly Hanson and Lowe. I think our bullpen should be fine as well. I bet we could challenge the Phillies for the division. We are a much younger team, and the Phillies are already starting to get injured. If Utley has to have surgery on his knee, their lineup will have another gaping hole to go with the one they now have in right field. If the Braves stay healthy, this year could be special.

reckingball

March 18th, 2011
10:05 am

The Braves will challange the Phillies for the NL East.
The Phillies are not unbeatable, or invinceable.
The game is not play on paper.
The Braves are fully capable of taking the East.
I believe that it will all depend on which team stays the healthiest.

reckingball

March 18th, 2011
10:06 am

The Phillies could wind up coming in 3rd in the East.

joedub

March 18th, 2011
10:12 am

proctor’s the odd man out here. i still can’t figure out why he got a contract in the first place.

wilken ramirez has career minor league batting average of .258 in almost 3000 plate appearances. why is everyone so stoked about this guy again? because he can run? sorry no dice here, no way i add him over ed lucas OR brooks conrad.

D man

March 18th, 2011
10:16 am

Good for chipper. Go BRAVES!!!

shmoe

March 18th, 2011
10:27 am

don, you’re a DONkey. If a HOFer says he’s back, he’s back, got it?

braves are gonna rage it this season.

Joshua

March 18th, 2011
10:27 am

Even on paper I think we have a better team than the Phillies.

Joshua

March 18th, 2011
10:29 am

Don – it means we have our third baseman, who is significantly better than anyone else we could replace him with in the line-up, either from our system or via a trade/free agency. Sorry if you don’t like it.

Don

March 18th, 2011
10:48 am

Shmoe – That is exactly the point – He is “Back”. Problem is “Back” to where he was before the injury. You seem to be pretending that he was in his prime at the time of the injury – not already in a huge downhill two year production age slide. Not to even mention that he is now another year older. It would be great to have Chipper back in his prime – he was a great great hitter – hitting great agaisnt the best of pitchers, and in close game situations and in late innings of close games — But that ain’t reality.

AdirondackDave

March 18th, 2011
11:20 am

Don — You’re way overly pessimistic in your assessment of Chipper. Time will tell, of course, but there’s a reason why he, the club, and so many fans are high on Chipper this year and it’s not hero worship.

I don’t really want to compare him to Ted Williams, nobody matches up there, but Williams was pounding the ball until he was about 42 and then retired. Why would you think Chipper who is 38 and about to turn 39 won’t be a big offense asset this year if he can stay reasonbly healthy? Oh, wait, don’t answer that. It would be a “that ain’t reality” answer.

Jared

March 18th, 2011
11:30 am

Proctor is terrible so they cut Stephen Marek… huh?

Why is Proctor still on this team and why is he being paid $750,000????? Does he have pictures of Wren in a compromising position with a 13 y.o. Panamanian “prospect?”

Don

March 18th, 2011
12:01 pm

AdirondackDave, Hope you are right – No question, in his prime he was one of the great hitters (no Ted Williams, but great). But that was in his prim – and that ain’t now. As to “why would you think Chipper won’t be a big offensive asset this year”??? Do you think that it might possible be – because it has already been two seasons since he was a big offensive asset – and now he is also a year older on that big downhill age slide.

Nick

March 18th, 2011
12:10 pm

All right – why in the world are we going to keep Proctor on the roster and cutting Marek? It makes no sense. At all.

JoeFan

March 18th, 2011
12:22 pm

Its Bobby 2.0 Decisions like sending Marek down and keeping older players based on hoping they recapture their prior form is typical Bobby ball. Let the go of the past and welcome the future.

DV

March 18th, 2011
12:25 pm

Guys, I know this is just Spring Training season, but have any of you negatives looked at the Grapefruit standings lately? The Braves are blowing everyone out, and this includes putting in guys like Proctor who allow tons of runs when they come in, and others who won’t make the team. We’re going to be ok! By the way, I haven’t seen any postings about Philly Lee getting bombed yesterday. Compare the Big Philly four with the Braves four. Starting ERA best in baseball. (Braves, not Philly)

reckingball

March 18th, 2011
12:34 pm

If Marek continues to pitch in AAA like he has in ST, he’ll be back with the Big team this year.
I think that the Brave’s managemant knows what they are doing.

Brave New World

March 18th, 2011
12:43 pm

Me thinks Chipper might still have some fuel left in his tank.

Brave New World

March 18th, 2011
12:46 pm

Braves starting pitching has been awesome (even though one should not get too excited in spring training). How’s that other staff from Philly doing?

chris

March 18th, 2011
12:48 pm

It’s not whether Chipper is ready for game #1 that matters. What matters is will he still be able to play at game 100, 130, 162 and beyond if this is a playoff team????

Chris White

March 18th, 2011
1:11 pm

Chipper is 38, one month from 39, for him to be performing at this level in spring training is impressive enough, then you remember he had knee surgery last year. Everyone who doubts his abilities are ignorant of his off season work ethics. This guy knew how hard it was going to be. Chipper will make you doubters look stupid.

I feel

March 18th, 2011
1:18 pm

Chipper will have a GREAT season

Keep him away from HOOTERS

EB

March 18th, 2011
1:43 pm

@Chris White-TOTALLY agree, very well said!

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