Braves GM Wren on some of the final roster decisions ahead

Wren

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

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Greetings from Port St. Lonely (as our friend Tom Glavine used to say) on a beautiful day in South Florida, where it’s oddly not very breezy and the humidity is low.

The Mets writers have been busy this morning writing about second baseman Luis Castillo’s release. He’s gone but he’ll still make his $6 million. Seems the cash-heavy Mets will stay that way.

For the Braves, meanwhile, Jason Heyward is back in the lineup today. That shows you how the back is holding up, to return to the lineup last night after five games out, then play a day game after a night game with a two-hour bus ride mixed in.

“I don’t think he would have missed a game if we’d been in the regular season this past week,” Braves GM Frank Wren said this morning. “It’s just precaution.”

We talked to Frank for a while this morning by the batting cage, on a variety of subjects, including some of the roster decisions to come, so I’ll just try to hit them quickly and get this blog posted by game-time.

Wren said during Wednesday’s ESPN broadcast that in keeping with his philosophy of always tinkering with the roster and looking around for what the team needs, he’d like to add another right-handed bat off the bench to complement left-handed Eric Hinske.

He clarified this morning that he meant that more in the big picture – something he’d like to have ideally – than something that might happen in the next two weeks before the Braves break camp.

“I think in a perfect team, that would be something that we would look for, but that may not be now,” Wren said. “That may be over the course of the season as we (go) because it’s also got to be the right guy; it’s not just any right-hand bat. We like our options that we have internally.”

The way things are shaping up right now, Hinske, David Ross and Joe Mather are pretty much givens (DOB has covered extensively why the Braves like Mather, despite his lack of production this spring), leaving the last two bench jobs down to, I’m guessing, Diory Hernandez or Ed Lucas for one spot – to assure the Braves have a true shortstop to back up Alex Gonzalez, and the other spot is Brooks Conrad’s to lose, given that he’s a switch-hitter, proved to be a clutch hitter last year, and is adding a little first base to his duties this spring (he played in a B-game at first a few days ago, and said he played nine or 10 games there for Gwinnett in ’09.)

Also in consideration there would be Matt Young and Wilkin Ramirez.

Conrad is gunning for one of final two bench spots

Conrad is gunning for one of final two bench spots

The way Nate McLouth is playing this spring, you figure the Braves will want to get Jordan Schafer at-bats every day in Gwinnett and can call on him easily if McLouth goes down.

Here’s what Wren had to say about Conrad this morning when I asked if they were happy with how he’s handled himself this spring, despite his .194 (6-for-31). He got two hits the other day vs. Boston in one of the rare games where he got a handful of at-bats.

(Conrad has had a slow offensive start and two errors, but doesn’t seem to have let the three-error nightmare to end last season bog him down)

“Brooks has handled himself very well,” Wren said. “He got so many big hits for us last year. We’re happy with what we’ve seen.”

Wren said these next 10 days or so will be big for players battling for the final bench, bullpen and fifth starters spots.

“Guys will start separating themselves and will aid you in making those final decisions,” Wren said.

I did ask Wren about reliever Scott Proctor, who gave up five runs in 2/3 innings last night to watch his spring ERA rise to 9.35. Cristhian Martinez seems to have moved into the lead for the last bullpen spot.

“Last night (Proctor) couldn’t get it going, but up until last night I thought the two times before he threw the ball very well,” Wren said. “Spring training, guys have nights where it just doesn’t work, and you can’t base too much on one outing. Over the course of the spring how are they trending, are they coming around, is their stuff getting better? And Scott Proctor I think we’ve seen his stuff get better over the course of the spring.”

What Martinez brings, though, is more versatility as a long man and potential spot starter, if needed.

“He can do a variety of jobs, from a multi-inning to spot start to getting some guys with that changeup,” Wren said. “He has some versatility which definitely makes him intriguing.”

 

Braves lineup:

1. Prado LF

2. McLouth CF

3. Heyward RF

4. Ross C

5. Hinske 1B

6. Mather 3B

7. Conrad 2B

8. Hicks SS

9. Jurrjens P

Jair Jurrjens is on the mound today and will attempt to go six innings. Getting to that time where things are serious. Following him will be Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel.

1,142 comments Add your comment

Mike S

March 18th, 2011
1:12 pm

Game’s on MLB Network, YES!

Venice Jim

March 18th, 2011
1:15 pm

Thanks, Carroll! Go, Devils!

rob from sc

March 18th, 2011
1:16 pm

up and in gives Heyward a little trouble

wheelz007

March 18th, 2011
1:17 pm

What time does the game start?

BFChris26

March 18th, 2011
1:17 pm

New Bloggage 8-)

rob from sc

March 18th, 2011
1:18 pm

He’ll adjust

P'cola Brave

March 18th, 2011
1:18 pm

I wish there was a way to give Ross more at bats off the bench. The guy is a pretty good hitter. Especially off the bench.

rob from sc

March 18th, 2011
1:19 pm

that wasn’t a strike. Ball never came back

JC from DR!

March 18th, 2011
1:20 pm

Hinske Ks. Inning over.

bravesgrl4life

March 18th, 2011
1:22 pm

Not exactly a slow start, but too bad we couldn’t get anything really going there.

MFin04

March 18th, 2011
1:23 pm

I’m hoping for Diory and Ramirez. Wouldn’t be too upset if Lucas made it though.

LAG

March 18th, 2011
1:25 pm

Conrad showcasing the leather.

P'cola Brave

March 18th, 2011
1:25 pm

Can’t believe my eyes. Conrad just made a diving play.

ncscoots

March 18th, 2011
1:25 pm

I wish there was a way to give Ross more at bats off the bench. The guy is a pretty good hitter. Especially off the bench.

I fear you would be disappointed. The Braves have used him just about perfectly in his two years: enough appearances to keep him fresh and not so many as to overexpose him. Don’t mess with a good thing, LOL.

Fred

March 18th, 2011
1:26 pm

If Mather, Conrad and Schafer make the team then Spring Training don’t mean crap because they sucked.

BFChris26

March 18th, 2011
1:26 pm

Not too much longer till I go to the festival tonight :)

Roman Gal

March 18th, 2011
1:26 pm

Well that was a quick half-inning.

enz

March 18th, 2011
1:27 pm

Why must I be at work!? Thanks Carroll…this blog should take your name…

Mike S

March 18th, 2011
1:27 pm

Range has never been a problem for Conrad defensively…

bravesgrl4life

March 18th, 2011
1:28 pm

Which one, RG?

GT Alum

March 18th, 2011
1:29 pm

Radio link or PBP for those of us stuck at work?

Roman Gal

March 18th, 2011
1:29 pm

The bottom of the first…not that I can watch the game. It just seemed that way with Gameday.

Mike S

March 18th, 2011
1:29 pm

…he’s too gritty not to get dirty laying out for balls…

Fred

March 18th, 2011
1:29 pm

way to go Mather..k baby

JC from DR!

March 18th, 2011
1:30 pm

So far it seems Mather cant hit ML pitching.

bravesgrl4life

March 18th, 2011
1:30 pm

I thought that about the first for the Mets, too RG. Gameday seems stuck for me at this point.

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:30 pm

Mather strikes out,Conrad liner to right.

MFin04

March 18th, 2011
1:31 pm

Mather killing the ball with the .133 average. He is quite versatile. He can play left bench, center bench, right bench, maybe even some water boy.

Carroll Rogers

March 18th, 2011
1:31 pm

Mets started R.A. Dickey is pitching in a minor league game today rather than face the Braves twice in the past two starts.

Beltran got a cortisone shot in his left knee today…

I’m here for you, with the Mets news…ha

Fred

March 18th, 2011
1:32 pm

See why Cards cut him loose…….

Mike S

March 18th, 2011
1:32 pm

You know who Mather looks like when he’s in the box? Richie Sexson.

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:32 pm

Hicks quick out. Going to bot. of 2nd.

Fred

March 18th, 2011
1:33 pm

Looks and acts like FRENCHY !

Roman Gal

March 18th, 2011
1:34 pm

Our beat writers can multi-task!

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:34 pm

Davis grounder to 2nd

bravesgirlnc

March 18th, 2011
1:34 pm

Anyone find a radio feed?

JC from DR!

March 18th, 2011
1:34 pm

I like Mather’s batting stance. So far the only thing I like about the guy.

Roman Gal

March 18th, 2011
1:35 pm

I think I’m going to go drive somewhere so I can listen to them on the radio.

Arkansas Transplant

March 18th, 2011
1:35 pm

Sounds to me like Proctor is just about a given right now unless he just completely falls apart and it looks like there’s really only one spot up for grabs. The last bench spot.

LAG

March 18th, 2011
1:35 pm

A couple of nice throws by Hicks today.

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:35 pm

Hayes with grounder to short. 2 out.

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:36 pm

Duda Duda grounder to 2nd.

Roman Gal

March 18th, 2011
1:36 pm

Ok, bravesgrl4life, Gameday says JJ has only thrown 5 pitches. I’d say that counts as a quick inning. The second was pretty dang quick, as well.

Carroll Rogers

March 18th, 2011
1:37 pm

Six straight groundball outs for Jurrjens. Looking sharp

JC from DR!

March 18th, 2011
1:38 pm

RG – Gameday’s pitch count is not accurate during ST.

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:38 pm

Jurrjens grounder to 2nd.

Roman Gal

March 18th, 2011
1:39 pm

It will be a happy season if JJ can stay healthy. I didn’t realize just how much I missed him last season.

Look at me, gettin’ all sentimental…

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:39 pm

Prado grounder to SS.

Roman Gal

March 18th, 2011
1:40 pm

JC-

Oh well. They still seemed quick, nonetheless.

Fred

March 18th, 2011
1:40 pm

Young busted his butt for nothing….Ramirez and Lucas should have made team.

cabravesfan

March 18th, 2011
1:40 pm

I’m really not sure I can handle these announcers saying “Duda” 46 times in 2 minutes… (yes, I’m secretly 12 ;) )

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:41 pm

Nate grounder to 2nd. 3 out.

bravesgrl4life

March 18th, 2011
1:41 pm

RG, ain’t gameday just the best? Read that with a lot of sarcasm.

Arkansas Transplant

March 18th, 2011
1:42 pm

cabravesfan, at least it’s Duda and not Duty.

Roman Gal

March 18th, 2011
1:42 pm

(yes, I’m secretly 12)

You’re really bad at keeping secrets, ya know?

Arkansas Transplant

March 18th, 2011
1:42 pm

bravesgrl4life, should invest in MLB.tv.

cabravesfan

March 18th, 2011
1:42 pm

AT-

It might as well be….it makes me giggle :D

JacketFan

March 18th, 2011
1:43 pm

David, why are they batting Heyward 3rd, when all of the talk has been that he’ll most likely be in the six spot?

cabravesfan

March 18th, 2011
1:43 pm

RG-

only the important ones

JC from DR!

March 18th, 2011
1:44 pm

This game is flying by!

Arkansas Transplant

March 18th, 2011
1:44 pm

that was almost the Mets first hit.

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:44 pm

Turner for Mets top of third flies out to right.

Roman Gal

March 18th, 2011
1:44 pm

bg4l-

I’m not used to watching via gameday. I thought it was better during the regular season. Alls I can say is – why are there no spring training games on FSS?!

Arkansas Transplant

March 18th, 2011
1:44 pm

bravesgrl4life

March 18th, 2011
1:44 pm

AT – wouldn’t do me any good at work. I’m in a bank and they probably block it.

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:45 pm

Nicheas lines to center.

Roman Gal

March 18th, 2011
1:45 pm

cab-

I wonder if this revelation will make mixxo try harder for your affection…

Probably.

Gil In Mechanicsville

March 18th, 2011
1:46 pm

JJ is not exactly fooling them is he? Of course that’s better thana lot of walks…

cabravesfan

March 18th, 2011
1:46 pm

Carroll’s manning the Inmates today, JacketFan (and even though you didn’t ask me, I suspect Jason’s hitting 3rd today because Chipper, Mac & Uggla didn’t make the trip and we need someone to hit 3rd…)

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:47 pm

Paulino lines out to left. Going to top of 4th. No score.

cabravesfan

March 18th, 2011
1:47 pm

RG-

First….no. Just. NO. That’s creepy.

Second…according to the schedule, the game on the 28th is on FSS and the ones in Atlanta on the 29th & 30th are on SPSO

baxter my little gentleman

March 18th, 2011
1:48 pm

top 4 already

Roman Gal

March 18th, 2011
1:48 pm

JJ is not exactly fooling them is he? Gil

I dunno. According to Gameday he’s only thrown 9 pitches through 3 innings. ;)

Chris from the Rock

March 18th, 2011
1:49 pm

So Fran is looking for a RH guy for the bench? Troy Glaus. Yes, I went there.

Arkansas Transplant

March 18th, 2011
1:49 pm

There’s nothing like sitting in your cubicle at work watching baseball.

Dutchieeeeeeee

March 18th, 2011
1:49 pm

Welcome on a grey fridaynight in NL, being shown upon by a nice performance by JJ so far!

Radiofees: http://www.freebaseballradio.com/mlb.html
Streaming (Stream Torrent needed): http://www.myp2pforum.eu/threads/53701-Streaming-MLB-Spring-Training-Friday-18-March?p=1221876#post1221876

9 up, 9 down. Niiiiice.

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:50 pm

Heyward up. Isrihausen in to pitch. Heyward walks.

baxter my little gentleman

March 18th, 2011
1:51 pm

heyward with a bb

abwright

March 18th, 2011
1:52 pm

richbrave is making a last minute push to oust cabravesfan on the old blog.

Roman Gal

March 18th, 2011
1:52 pm

cab-

Screw FSS and SPSO!

(Am I fitting in with the game time crowd now?)

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:52 pm

Ross strike out.

baxter my little gentleman

March 18th, 2011
1:53 pm

Roman Gal

March 18th, 2011
1:53 pm

abwright-

Now that’s just cheating.

Arkansas Transplant

March 18th, 2011
1:53 pm

bravesgrl4life, yeah they probably would frown on that.

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:53 pm

Wild pitch,Heyward to 2nd. Hinske up.

baxter my little gentleman

March 18th, 2011
1:53 pm

WP jason to second

CB

March 18th, 2011
1:54 pm

Hinske strikes out.

baxter my little gentleman

March 18th, 2011
1:54 pm

hinskie continues to bark at blue on the pitches

baxter my little gentleman

March 18th, 2011
1:55 pm

now the rest of the dugout get into it with blue

love it…in mid season form

Arkansas Transplant

March 18th, 2011
1:55 pm

Mather swings at one up around his shoulders.

MFin04

March 18th, 2011
1:55 pm

MLBTV crash for anyone else?

abwright

March 18th, 2011
1:55 pm

Whenever Duda gets a double, I want to say, “Duda drops a deuce!”

Gil In Mechanicsville

March 18th, 2011
1:56 pm

There is pitching to contact where guys are hitting weak ground balls and there is pitching to contact when guys are hitting line drives but at people… JJ is doing the latter

P-Town Brave ©

March 18th, 2011
1:57 pm

Good God Frank!

You’re obviously blind!

First off, that hat you wore on tv yesterday should be buried forever!!

Second, what more does Matt Young have to do to make this team?! Brooks Conrad sucks and should have ZERO shot to make the team when you have a guy like Matt….

It should be Matt and then down to Diory and Ed for the last spot…

Then again, Joe Mather hasn’t exactly done anything to earn his spot either so what does ST really mean if guys that hit below .200 make the team and guys that are raking or doing everything necessary like stealing bases, getting timely hits, and making diving plays don’t make the team…

Just makes no sense whatsoever!

Roman Gal

March 18th, 2011
1:57 pm

hinske continues to bark at blue on the pitches

I wonder how Fredi’ll handle these types of situations going forward. It was almost automatic with Bobby. I’m not sure I would be ok with a manager that sits idly by…

Arkansas Transplant

March 18th, 2011
1:57 pm

MFin04, no working fine for me right now.

P-Town Brave ©

March 18th, 2011
1:57 pm

Hell, I went to give Brooks a ball to sign for me the other day and he dropped the dang thing!

Arkansas Transplant

March 18th, 2011
1:58 pm

P-T, what’s up? you back from your crusade to Fl?

baxter my little gentleman

March 18th, 2011
1:58 pm

it will be intersting to see how freddie is differnt from bobby when it comes to gettin on blue

P-Town Brave ©

March 18th, 2011
1:58 pm

No, but really, the guy has been flat out outplayed….

Just be honest and say its because he has no options!

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