Five-error day raises Braves’ total to 32 in 31 games

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – The Braves’ defense Saturday was as clunky as the name of the New York Mets’ rebranded spring-training home, Digital Domain Park.

Five errors in an 8-2 road loss to the Mets raised the Braves’ spring total to 32 errors in 31 Grapefruit League games. Their 126 errors during the 2010 season was one shy of tying Washington and Pittsburgh for most in the National League.

“Hopefully it was just one of those games in spring training,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Saturday. “We’ve been really good. This is only the second game in spring training that I can think of where we were sluggish, where we weren’t crisp.”

Five errors set a single-game high for the Braves this spring, topping the four miscues in a March 15 game against the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla.

Rookie outfielder Wilkin Ramirez didn’t help his bid for an opening-day roster spot with two errors on consecutive plays in the three-run first inning. He made a bad throw, then a fielding error that allowed David Wright to go to third base on a single.

Brooks Conrad’s fielding troubles continued when a grounder got by him into left field for a two-out error in the third inning. The Braves had errors by third baseman Joe Mather and relief pitcher Jonny Venters in the sixth inning.

“It seems like it’s kind of contagious,” Gonzalez said. “But what are you going to do? We’re going to go tomorrow, and the day after…”

Conrad has a team-high five errors this spring, this after his infamous three-error game in a division-series loss against San Francisco last year. That capped a seven-game stretch in which the bench player made eight errors after being thrust into a starting role.

Conrad could still make the team this spring after leading the Braves in several clutch-hitting categories last season.

Etc.

Rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman and bench candidate Matt Young had two hits apiece for the Braves. Young is batting .293 with a .412 on-base percentage. All of his 12 hits have been singles…. The Braves’ eight hits Saturday included seven singles and Freeman’s first-inning double off Mike Pelfrey…. Venters did not allow a run – earned or otherwise – in nine spring appearances until Saturday, when the Mets scored an unearned run in the sixth inning on a Jose Reyes double and fielding errors by Venters and Mather. Venters has allowed three hits and three walks in 10 innings.

74 comments Add your comment

MIdtown

March 26th, 2011
6:27 pm

Comeon Brooksy! You can dough iiittttt!!!!

Dawgdad (The Original)

March 26th, 2011
6:33 pm

I kinda think the E thing has got into Conrads head and maybe he should play a half season in Gwinnett and spare us a few costly mistakes. He is a better fielder than he has shown but he needs to work out his problems somewhere other than at the ML level.

Geezer

March 26th, 2011
6:40 pm

There is a reason that he has been continuously in the minor leagues.

Jet Legarama

March 26th, 2011
7:02 pm

Why is Conrad even on the team ? His pathetic defense overshadows a few pinch hits that he will get. Cut him loose. At least the errors were by non-starters. The REAL Braves team is showing up now. The error,non-pitching,non-hitting Braves of last year !

austin

March 26th, 2011
7:12 pm

brooks will be a PH and probably wont play much in the field this year, he only played the field last year because both jones and prado were injured..its not that big of deal, hes not a starter or defensive substitution.. hes the guy coming up in the bottom of the ninth.. not the guy whos gonna get 5-6 putout attempts a game

his bad defense is being overplayed on how much it will cost the braves

ABravesFan

March 26th, 2011
7:15 pm

Fielding is the one thing that I worry the most about this year’s team. Hopefully, things will get better once the games start to count.

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]

deezcoons

March 26th, 2011
7:33 pm

brooks conrad will be the new greg norton. hello terrible

Rupert

March 26th, 2011
7:50 pm

Don’t know why to tie one hand behind your back with Conrad on the bench, which is assuming he magically hits like he did last year (which hasn’t been the case yet). For a team with defensive issues to start with, taking a guy as essentially a desiginated hitter on the bench seems short sighted. Hicks has a great glove, Lucas will be serviceable, there are options. They don’t have to paint themselves in a corner.

count_schemula

March 26th, 2011
7:51 pm

“his bad defense is being overplayed on how much it will cost the braves”

But it contributes to the overall team D since we don’t have a glove man like Diorys on the roster. If the overall team D is bad, close games will be lost and innings will be extended.

I’ll always remember the good with Brooks. I think Bobby pulling Kimbrel was the real killer last year and we all know the Brooks was only starting since Chipper and Prado were out.

count_schemula

March 26th, 2011
7:52 pm

“brooks conrad will be the new greg norton. hello terrible”

Norton never came close to hitting the way Conrad did.

worm

March 26th, 2011
7:54 pm

This could get Uggla!

austin

March 26th, 2011
7:54 pm

but hicks might make the team rather than lucas, and with that being said he’s a very good defensive infielder, and of course prado could come in and he isnt that bad either, thus if bad defense came from the bench it would be in the outfield with hinske, but he too plays a servicable LF

JesusisLord

March 26th, 2011
7:58 pm

Brooks makes the team as a pinch hitter; keep him off the field late in the game, though.

austin

March 26th, 2011
7:59 pm

Listen im not arguing that brooks conrad is bad at defense, we all know he is.. and yes it is important, all im trying to say is it is being blown way out of proportion.

In Fredi I Trust

March 26th, 2011
8:03 pm

Get rid of Conrad, his error prone ways loses us more games then his bat wins for us. This team can find a better solution for a backup 2nd basemen then a guy that commits error after error. I like the dude, but this year its all about winning for me so put the best guy out there plain and simple.

zenman

March 26th, 2011
8:07 pm

This team will suck in the field. Get used to it.

Mike

March 26th, 2011
8:20 pm

Guys its 1 bad spring training game.Calm down everyone like seriously.
Health is more important than games, just ask the phillies and their injury prone team.

Matt

March 26th, 2011
8:21 pm

Time for the daily Frank Wren platitude about how “I’m not worried about errors”. Could be a very, very, very long year if this team doesn’t get their fundamentals down. 5 error games should NOT be happening this late in the Spring Training.

westside

March 26th, 2011
8:28 pm

brooks is really being magnified following that horrible series vs. the giants…..i think he should start in AAA maybe just for a month or two and get some more work in… i think this will be a great season but we have to make the in season adjustments as well not just in ST..so jus assuming conrad will b better just bcuz the season starts isnt gonna do the braves any good

N8

March 26th, 2011
8:41 pm

Is anybody really shocked by that total?

Ken Stallings

March 26th, 2011
8:48 pm

Is Brooks Conrade really a good enough bat to be a total defensive liability? It is one thing if his glove is below average. But a player simply cannot be an outright liability!

In my view, he is not a good enough hitter to carry his roster spot merely on the strength of his bat. Day-to-day injuries themselves are reason enough for the bench players to hold their own with the glove.

John Leonard

March 26th, 2011
8:50 pm

Wren said errors don’t matter,so the 324 errors or mopre we make during the season ,will have no bearing on our won and lost record.I will now take my tongue out of my cheek.

Puma

March 26th, 2011
9:06 pm

I agree with Ken above, he just isn’t that good to justify the crappy D. Sure he had some great late inning hits last year, but lightning ain’t going to strike twice. I’d rather have Rafael Belliard coming off the bench than Conrad.

big o

March 26th, 2011
9:15 pm

I agree with you Ken Conrads bat is not all that good. I also can’t understand the talk about what he did last year. What has he done for us lately. Are we going to put him in the game as a late inning defensive replacement for Uggla ? The first error he makes at the Ted it will be a chorus of Boos and probably at Gwinett too. So I say trade him or cut him and lets move on

Day Man

March 26th, 2011
10:17 pm

FREE MATT YOUNG!!!

Get used to hearing the words ‘errors’ and ‘Braves’ in the same sentence this year.

Quicherbichin

March 26th, 2011
10:21 pm

Neither Lucas nor Hicks will provide late inning pinch hit home runs. Brooks Conrad had 7 last year that either tied the game or gave the Braves the lead. Hicks has the power of Rafael Belliard without the average. Lucas will be slightly better. i will take the power bat over the D. Uggla will be better defensively this year because he’s not fielding 81 games at Florida’s ” name of the week ” stadium with their super fast iinfield. so there will be no need for a late inning defensive replacement. go Brooks!! Don’t listen to these people! replace,e

Ralph

March 26th, 2011
10:22 pm

westside,
Brooks has been at AAA for 100 years already, he ain’t gonna get any better.

gcs

March 26th, 2011
10:28 pm

It looks like we have to TWO Greg Norton’s this year, Brooks Conrad and Joe Mather.
I thought after Bobby left we would quit keeping these “nice guy” Crash Davis types.

.

Ralph

March 26th, 2011
10:31 pm

Conrad hit .220 for the braves last year and is a career .231 hitter, I doubt he can equal either of those numbers again.

joe

March 26th, 2011
10:47 pm

averaging an error a game is more than “1 bad game”. Sticking your head in the sand won’t make the problem go away….

gotigers72

March 26th, 2011
10:56 pm

The good thing is that of those 5 errors, 4 were made by guys that won’t be playing in the field much at all. Only Venters error was by a guy that will be fielding regularly.

Of the 32 total ST errors, I’ll bet at least half, probably more, have been made by players that won’t play much in the field.

mike mangan

March 26th, 2011
11:10 pm

basically the infield couldnt catch a cold.Chipper brilliant yet erratic at third,Gonzalez makes great plays yet boots the simple play(Remember the 2-1 loss to the Reds last year where he homers but lets in two in the field)What can you say about Dan Uggla Big bat questionable glove.Freddie Freeman will really be put to the test with his slick fielding (he still reminds me of Wally Joyner ) Brooks Conrad can only wish they had DH in the National League.Memo to Brooks throw away the glove and hope when you come off the bench you can hit the Big Fly…Overall infield leather grade C-

El Bravo

March 26th, 2011
11:15 pm

I think that for Conrad’s sake it is better for him to start the season at AAA and work on his defense. I think it has become mental at this point a la Steve Sax or Chuck Knowblauch… Right now, he can not possibly be trusted with a glove….

austin

March 26th, 2011
11:20 pm

Ralph:
“Conrad hit .220 for the braves last year and is a career .231 hitter, I doubt he can equal either of those numbers again.”

He hit .250 last year not .220. He had 7 go ahead or game tieing HR , and was the top 3 in every offensive category in “late and close situations”.. what statistics are you looking at?

Ralph

March 26th, 2011
11:55 pm

I stand corrected, he hit .255 last year. I still wouldn’t have him on my team but thats just my opinion. Some people don’t seem to understand thats what this blog is for, voiceing your opinion, some people like to say you are not a braves fan if you don’t like something, if I wasn’t a true fan I wouldn’t be reading all this crap that people write.

Chop Chop

March 27th, 2011
12:12 am

The odds of Conrad backing up 2010 with a similar 2011 are very small. I don’t like the idea of relegating an infielder to a strictly pinch-hitting role, but Brooksie is really making it tough to put him out in the field, isn’t he?

billmaier

March 27th, 2011
12:21 am

Everyone forgetting that our general manger said earlier this spring, that errors were not that big a deal and not that decisive in winning or losiing games. that is why brooks makes the team> Also i guess our gm also belives that relief pitching is not that important in game either if sherrill makes the team. and that proctor stillhas not been cut. Wake up frank.

IlliniBrave

March 27th, 2011
1:11 am

Beyond being a “good teammate” and having the potential to hit a handful of clutch hits, what does/will Cinrad bring to the team?

And then why does this guy still suck so bad defensively? I mean, defense is one thing you can improve on with work. Why has this guy not gotten any better in the field? It seems he’s the kind of guy who puts forth effort. So what then could explain such prolonged incompetence? Is the guy just not that great of an athlete – kind of uncoordinated? Or is there an attention/focus thing? I’m kinda baffled that he has just picked up where he left off last year with the glove.

Quicherbichin

March 27th, 2011
1:18 am

Ralph, you are perfectly welcome to voice your opinion. just because we disagree doesn’t make you not a Braves fan. At least you’re not deluded like Mitchell, Robert and Joe Tess Fish Bait. and to ” In Fredi I Trust”…. Don’t you think Fredi would tell Frank Wren if he didn’t want Broos Conrad on the bench? perhaps time to change the handle if you’re already disagreeing before the are done with spring training.

NorCal Brave

March 27th, 2011
1:25 am

Based on the spring he had, Brandon Hicks has earned the opportunity to make this club as number one utility infielder. That means he’s good enough to be a late inning or injured player replacement until proven otherwise. Ditto Matt Young. This stuff about Conrad’s value as a pinch hitter is way overstated. If he’s on the roster, trust me, he’ll be playing infield in key situations, and the ball will find him. He’s a great guy whose let repeated defensive lapses get into his head. Oh, and cut Sherrill.

Greg

March 27th, 2011
1:30 am

I think that normally you would expect late inning replacements for Chipper and perhaps a platoon outfielder. I just do not see defensive replacements available. Wren must have some moves yet to make. Any speed with a replacement player?

Billy

March 27th, 2011
3:27 am

Hicks can’t hit – period. Watched him today against the Mets and he still can’t handle a major league fastball. Maybe in time he will, I thought the same thing about Martin Prado his first year in the bigs when he fouled out to the first baseman every other at bat and he’s awesome now, but Hicks does not hit enough right now to keep him on the major league roster. He’s terrific with the glove but is still overmatched at the plate and keeping him on the roster is roughly equivalent to keeping Diory Hernandez – both are essentially automatic outs at this level. The Braves don’t hit enough as it is, we’re looking at another season of having tons of baserunners left on base, and as horrendous at fielding that Conrad is, he’s shown he can rake in the late innings coming off the bench. Maybe last season was an anomaly, but there’s only one way to find out and that ain’t in spring training. Keep Conrad to start the season, if last season was a fluke then we’ll know soon enough and can make a change. Gwinnett is just a car ride away.

sheeesh

March 27th, 2011
5:35 am

Defense and bullpen will be the downfall of this team unless Wren makes some moves or some young arms slated for minor league rosters prove to be early bloomers. It would be a shame to let a team with this much starting pitching and offensive potential fall flat because of these gaps. I have confidence in Venters and Moylan, but the rest of the bullpen is questionable. Defensive prowess should be the top prerequisite for bench vacancies that need to be filled, assuming that the starting eight are healthy.

deja vu

March 27th, 2011
7:00 am

What’s the definition of insanity?
If you put Conrad back out there after he showed you on the biggest stage what he is….

Bill

March 27th, 2011
7:40 am

Good morning DOB…The picture this morning is like at my house. Yesterdays can’t be beat. Thanks

UGASlobberknocker

March 27th, 2011
7:53 am

Despite yesterday (where most errors came from nobodys), the way I look at it..no way we can be as bad as last year in the field..so I am expecting at least moderate improvement in the regular season.

Justafan

March 27th, 2011
8:08 am

Kids trying to hard to make the team will make errors..ex. Rameriz. The pitching “Lowe” well it sucked and that was worse than the damn errors.
Mather is the biggest nothing. You have lost nothing if he is claimed off waviers, thats how go stuck with him.
Still would keep Lucas, Young and Rameriz are make a trade for rh bat.

Trojan

March 27th, 2011
8:19 am

Bench players should be stonger on defense than offense. Defense wins tight games. Rafael Belliard could not hit a lick by he was always in the game at the end.

Defense wins. Wren, don’t take a shortcut, it will not take many resources ($ or players) to complete this fine team. The bench has needs, the bullpen has needs.

cs95

March 27th, 2011
8:33 am

is it a given yet that conrad will be used only as a PH this season? kinda like greg norton was a few years back.

Chipper's ACL

March 27th, 2011
8:48 am

There needs to be a mix of both offense and defense on the bench same as R and L hitters. Brooks will make it because he switch hits and bets will be made now he performs like last season. If he falters I’m betting he will be on a short rope. We all know Chipper and Gonzo have years of injury issues and will not play 140 games. Thats where Lucas or Hicks steps in. Bet Hicks to start the season in AAA so he can play on a regular basis. I think the one that really does not deserve a roster spot is Mather. I don’t care how many positions he can play he stinks. Give Young the spot. He’s an OB % guy and could spell Uggla late keeping Conrad on the bench where he belongs. Lucas can spell the left side when needed. I’m sure Mather would clear waivers and can get some regular AB’s in Gwinnett.

A

March 27th, 2011
8:55 am

I wonder if Conrad would field any better in the outfield? That we could still use his clutch bat off the bench and still have room to get a glove man…

B RED E

March 27th, 2011
8:56 am

Brooks, humble yourself, and ask for help. Put in all the extra time you will need, to get your head back on straight, and hours and hours of ground balls on your own time and dime. Hire yourself a good shrink and personal trainer and learn how to “BE THE BALL”. Get rid of the damn ego, trust God and help us win a World Series.

RRRRRR

March 27th, 2011
8:59 am

It;s not not just Brooks Conrad—the Braves ranked low at nearly all fielding positions last year. Get ready for a rough season of boots, mis throws, and drops. It is their achilles heel this year.

braveshoo

March 27th, 2011
9:02 am

I’m even more concerned about Mather than Conrad. He had an error too, and he cant hit a lick. My 5 bench guys would be Ross, Hinske, Hicks, Young, and Conrad. Hinske can play 1b & LF; Hicks can play 2b, ss, & 3b; and Young has speed, and can play LF, CF, RF, & 2B. Conrad can switch hit, so he can be both your RH and LH pinch hitter- he should never see the field. If you need another fielder vs. a hitter, then you keep Lucas over Conrad. I think D. Hernandez may be better than both of them, but he has already been sent down.

reckingball

March 27th, 2011
9:24 am

I think that the people that run the Braves know what they are doing. I believe that they will make the right decisions, and do the best with what they have.
I believe that the Braves will make the playoffs, and will probably win the NL East.

D man

March 27th, 2011
9:36 am

Brooks should not play the field. Pinch hitter only please…

David O'Brien

March 27th, 2011
9:42 am

Braves lineup: 1. Prado LF, 2. McLouth CF, 3. Jones 3B, 4. Uggla 2B, 5. Heyward RF, 6. Hinske 1B, 7. Gonzalez SS, 8. Boscan C, 9. Kawakami

David O'Brien

March 27th, 2011
9:44 am

To avoid confusion today about Braves broadcast, we’ve made certain w/ team official: It’s on Fox Sports South (and MLB Network)

varoadrunner

March 27th, 2011
10:01 am

Seriously guys…..
Errors happen!!! BUT – we have a history on Brooks – He cannot field at a major league level!!!

I was all for dumping him. He cannot do this year what he did last your on the field. The individual that suggested that Brooks become a pinch hitter has merit – I think that’s the proposition for Brooks. You pinch hit only or you go to Gwinnett.

Donovan

March 27th, 2011
10:11 am

Conrad won’t engage. Won’t get back in the saddle. He has a confidence problem and he is out of options. Sound familiar? His head is so messed up that he is damaged goods. AAA ball is his only salvation until he can get his confidence back.

Jack P

March 27th, 2011
10:58 am

Time for the Braves to get rid of those “holy” gloves and buy some new ones.

Sweet Old Buck

March 27th, 2011
11:25 am

Conrad is an error waiting to happen. Send him to Gwinnette

wjones

March 27th, 2011
11:30 am

“big o

March 26th, 2011
9:15 pm
I agree with you Ken Conrads bat is not all that good. I also can’t understand the talk about what he did last year. What has he done for us lately. Are we going to put him in the game as a late inning defensive replacement for Uggla ? The first error he makes at the Ted it will be a chorus of Boos and probably at Gwinett too. So I say trade him or cut him and lets move on”

OK, you can’t understand about all the talk about what he did last year? Then why are you harping on his defense? Surely you aren’t basing it JUST on yesterday’s game, or JUST on spring training? Last year’s postseason is on your mind. So YOU are focusing on last year’s negatives and ignoring last year’s positives. He can’t POSSIBLY hit like he did last year, but you know for CERTAIN that he will make errors like last year. How does that compute? Since Conrad wasn’t the only third baseman to make errors yesterday, did you consider the fact that there could have been problems with the field?

I’m not being Pollyanna here, and I certainly think those who are saying that maybe it has become a fielding mental problem might have a point. But, consider also that a person who over the last TWO years has delivered quite a number of clutch hits might also have THAT in his head? To me, a good pinch hitter who is comfortable in his role and productive is much more valuable than a 12th pitcher. That pitcher you only see in blow outs or extra inning games, but that pinch hitter is constantly put in situations with the game on the line, much like the closer. To have, as some have suggested, only glove men on the bench like Rafeal Belliard, is utterly rediculous. How many times did Bobby bat for RB as early as the fifth inning? Lots, if you have a memory of such things. Very few times does our starting pitcher complete a game, and there are so many opportunities for a clutch hitter off the bench to make a difference between winning and losing. I know most of us would agree that Greg Norton’s inability to perform in that role in 2009, and Bobby’s decision to keep Norton and to send Conrad down after he did demonstrate that he had that ability, is probably what kept us out of the postseason, just as Conrad’s ability to perform last year got us INTO the postseason last year. Take away just one of his game winning hits and we miss the postseason. And I figure that by June, if we don’t have someone performing in that role, you same people who only want glove men on the bench will be whining for a hitter to come off the bench. Think I’ll save this post.

nick p.

March 27th, 2011
11:43 am

if you want good attendance, if you want Braves fans to care, please, oh please, either cut Conrad, or send him to minors, you can possibly keep as a major leaguer when half of his game is so flawed, it would be slap in the face any kid who has dreams of making the MLB roster to have this total incomplete of a player being a representative of baseball on the highest level, personally i can do without his hitting if it means having to sse him butcher up in the field! please listen to the fans and do the right thing for the organization and let this guy play for another team or send him to gwinnett where his errors will not mean as much!

63 year Braves fan

March 27th, 2011
11:49 am

Release Conrad & Mather. Keep Hicks, Young, and Lucas. My bench = Ross, Hinske, Hicks, Young, Lucas.

Reality Bites

March 27th, 2011
12:05 pm

Poor Brooks, his talents at the plate are wasted in the National league…trade him to the AL for some pitching prospects.

SCRusty

March 27th, 2011
12:44 pm

My choice for the bench would be Ross, Hinske, and 3 bench players the Braves trade for. Maybe trade KK (let’s hope he has a great day today) for one and some minor league pitchers (other than the untouchables) for the others. Based on what I’ve seen this spring, none of these other guys (except maybe Hicks) deserve a spot on the roster.

Quicherbichin

March 27th, 2011
12:52 pm

well said, wjones. glad to see that someone else sees the need for a proven clutch hitter on the bench. 63yearBravesFan… Your bench should be sent to Gwinnett, Hicks will make Rafael Belliard look like Ty Cobb when it comes to hitting ability. There is no room on the bench for a good field no hit player. his time was in the 70s.

Poorbrave

March 27th, 2011
12:59 pm

Well… Young, Hick, Lucas & Conrad made the team…guess that means Mather is gone and Rameriz? I was pulling for Rameriz to make it.
Hope KK has a good game today…

Coach (2011 and Fredi G. a GO!)

March 27th, 2011
2:56 pm

Hudson, Lowe and Jurrjens, all ground ball pitchers.

2011 Braves, projected to be one of the worst defensive units in the game.

Add the two together and we have a recipe for disaster.

Robert

March 28th, 2011
10:03 am

Relax – How many of the 32 errors were made by guys who wont be on the big leaguie roster this season? 3 of the 5 from the Mets game just as a start.

And besides, at least this year they are acknowledging and addressing the problem

Not saying we are going to be the best fielding team out there – but we’ll be ok

ban colin cowherd from sports

March 28th, 2011
12:12 pm

Reading the ignorance on here makes me think a lot of you jokers are Colin Cowherd fan’s and clones. Don’t know nothing about nothing.

Casual Steve

March 29th, 2011
10:27 am

We need solid defense if we want to seriously give the phillies a run for their money. Anygames we play against them are bound to be low scoring afairs. Since they have a bunch of pull hitting left handers we need to be solid at 2B.

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