Kawakami’s next stop is Double-A Mississippi?

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Kenshin Kawakami gave up three runs and five hits in four innings of a 6-1 Grapefruit League loss to the Phillies on Sunday, then was re-assigned to minor league camp when the Braves announced their 25-man roster.

General manager Frank Wren said unless something chances – presumably a trade or injuries  – then reassigned starter Rodrigo Lopez would begin the season in the Triple-A Gwinnett rotation and Kawakami would start at Double-A Mississippi.

The 35-year-old is owed $6.67 million in the final season of a three-year contract, and his salary might be enough to pay two entire Double-A rosters in most cases.

Kawakami is 8-22 in two seasons since signing a $23 million deal with the Braves, including 1-10 last season when his ERA climbed from 3.86 to 5.15.

The Braves have been trying to trade Kawakami since last fall, and had interest from three Japanese League teams that might have picked up close to half of his salary. Kawakami told the Braves he would refuse to accept any of those deals, which any major league player has the right to do when a transaction involves an overseas team.

Kawakami said he wanted to remain in the United States to prove he could pitch in the major leagues. He reiterated that stance when asked about it after Sunday’s game.

“I really do want to pitch in the majors,” he said through his translator. “Of course I’d love to pitch here [with the Braves]. But that’s not in my control.”

He was dropped him from the 40-man roster and outrighted to Double-A during the winter. Efforts to trade him were made even more challenging when he missed the first two weeks of camp because of visa issues in Japan.

Kawakami pitched in his fifth spring game (second start) Sunday and gave up two runs in the second inning and a Raul Ibanez solo homer in the third as the Phillies jumped out to 3-0 lead. He had one walk and two strikeouts and threw 40 strikes in 58 pitches.

Kawakami said he was bothered by a stiff neck in the early innings. He said the neck pain started a few days ago after he slept on it wrong, but that it had improved before Sunday.

He said the uncertainty of where he’ll be pitching was not a problem when he’s on the mound.

“My concentration is on pitching,” he said. “For me, I just need to give my 100 percent effort and I think things will go well.”

Etc.

The Braves will start minor league pitcher Todd Redmond against Washington on Monday night in their last game in Florida, before returning to Atlanta for exhibition games against Minnesota Tuesday and Wednesday at Turner Field. They open the season Thursday at Washington…. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Braves regulars would get only one or two at-bats in Monday’s game. Some could be excused early to go back to Atlanta before the game…. The forecast calls for rain and thunderstorms in Orlando on Monday, and it’s unknown how long Disney/ESPN Wide World of Sports officials would ask the Braves to stay before calling the game if it appears the field would be unplayable. Because it’s the last game of spring training, simply issuing rainchecks to ticker-buyers might not be an option.

89 comments Add your comment

ACE OF HEARTS

March 27th, 2011
8:04 pm

ACE OF HEARTS

March 27th, 2011
8:05 pm

Send KK to Rome.

Stevo DeG

March 27th, 2011
8:13 pm

Any update on the outfield situation? I was wondering after reading up on Beachy winning the 5th spot and seeing Matt Young and Co. win the final spots on the 25 man roster. Mclouth has won it, correct? And Schafer is going back to the minors?

RHR

March 27th, 2011
8:15 pm

I’m sure his Maserati will be a hit in Pearl. :lol:

Milt Famey

March 27th, 2011
8:21 pm

Stevo,you are correct. Schafer has already been cut. Hope he does well at Gwinnett this year and is ready for the majors next yr.

Milt Famey

March 27th, 2011
8:23 pm

Maybe once KK lives in Pearl, Miss for a while, he’ll be ready to accept a trade back home.

Kenshin Kawakami

March 27th, 2011
8:34 pm

I’m sorry to disappoint a you all. I tried my bestu ):

Howard

March 27th, 2011
8:37 pm

I saw the Braves last week against the Mets down here…these wizards of sports smarts who are annointing the Phillies the NL East crown had bgetter keep an eye on the Braves…if Atlanta’s pitching lives up to potential and the lineup ESPN Magazine calls the league’s deepest hits the ball and stays healthy…don’t bet against Braves and Phils battling it down to the wire. Oh, ESPN rated the Braves schedule as the 8th most difficult in NL…while the Phils had the 2nd easiest schedule…that’s the only downer to this race. And from watching Freddie Freeman up close I’ll say I wouldn’t want to throw a ball to this guy from 120 feet away much less 60. He almost took off the Mets’ pitcher’s head with a routine single to center. And with Bobby Cox finally gone and Gonzalez in now?? Braves could make a run this year.

bruce

March 27th, 2011
8:40 pm

Let the minor leaguers play the disney game, send the 25 man roster home tonight!

JoeBravesFan

March 27th, 2011
8:42 pm

I agree with Milt! We could really use the salary relief! Glad to see Proctor was released…I kind of wish Lopez would be traded, but maybe he can get his stuff together in Gwinnett.

Bill

March 27th, 2011
8:48 pm

I was at the game today and honestly wanted my $$ back when I heard he was pitching. He just doesn’t have big league stuff and wasn’t just hit, but hit HARD. It was an interesting juxtaposition with Halladay going for the Phils and Kawakami for the Braves. Nothing personal, but he is awful.

A-Ville Ranger

March 27th, 2011
8:58 pm

It’s wise of management not to just keep him because he’s making big money. We simply have too much good young talent to waste a spot on Kawakami. If he pitches well and we need him, we know where to find him.

SportsRadio PD

March 27th, 2011
9:42 pm

Can anyone clear this up for me, are there going to be any games EXCLUSIVELY on Peachtree TV?

Thanks

Quicherbichin

March 27th, 2011
9:51 pm

Send Firstie Aceof@hearts to the Rome Braves blog.

Bob the Blogger

March 27th, 2011
10:03 pm

@SportsRadio PD,

According to this MLB site, there are no games exclusively on Peachtree TV.

http://mlb.mlb.com/schedule/broadcast/index.jsp?c_id=atl

Bob the Blogger

March 27th, 2011
10:16 pm

I don’t understand exactly what happened to KK. I thought he pitched up to expectations in his first year. His ERA was under 4, and he hung in there with some of the best pitchers in the league. His W-L record just didn’t reflect it. If you add in the transition to living in the US and adjusting to MLB baseball (different ball, 5 day rotation), it was even more of an accomplishment.

Then last year the train pretty much derailed. I haven’t heard if the problem was physical, such as a possible injury or mechanical problem, or mental. Just wondering.

StingerSplash

March 27th, 2011
10:29 pm

“Of course I’d love to pitch here [with the Braves]. But that’s not in my control.”
Um, yeah it is. You could pitch better than you have. A lot better. That is in his control.
His next stop doesn’t need to be Mississippi. He needs to get a Greyhound bus ticket to pitch for the Shreveport-Bossier Captains.

Go Braves

March 27th, 2011
10:45 pm

Sometimes you get steals in players like Heyward, other times you bust. Hope he gets it right and makes it in the big leagues

Tokyobrave

March 27th, 2011
11:32 pm

Ken shin
You are a low class scumbug to even say that. Dumb a—.

Billy Jack's Barbecue & Shrimp Co.

March 27th, 2011
11:35 pm

KK will at some point help the Braves. On or off the field. At least he is not Mike Hampton…….

birdbrain

March 27th, 2011
11:53 pm

He should just change his middle name to Kurt. In no time he would have loads of friends and feel right at home in Mississippi.

Nagoyabrave

March 28th, 2011
12:00 am

Yeah that earlier poster is trash. Anyway, they should just outright release KK so he has a chance somewhere else. First, not having his visa ready, then sending him to AA. And now the fans making fun of his English. Classless if you ask me.

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

Darrell In Myrtle Beach

March 28th, 2011
12:29 am

Nagoyabrave I couldn’t agree more.. geez ppl

ISH

March 28th, 2011
12:32 am

What english? He can’t any english that I’m aware of…

gcs

March 28th, 2011
12:49 am

I don’t blame KK. I blame Wren. This was a stupid deal from the beginning. He was 33 when they signed him and his best years – which were mediocre – were behind him.

.

Him Tudson

March 28th, 2011
1:27 am

Well, that’s 6.6 mil loss absorbed, but at least that’s 10 losses the Braves WON’T absorb this season…

ed simmons

March 28th, 2011
5:28 am

Eric in Tampa

March 28th, 2011
6:42 am

I’m curious if he only went 4 innings because of scheduling other pitchers, or if thats all his arm is stretched out to? Visa issues or not, I’d like to think he would have found a way to get his arm conditioned and ready to step in to a rotation – here or elsewhere – if he really thinks he’s ML caliber pitcher.

Notso Fast

March 28th, 2011
6:59 am

Yes, we can’t blame KK. If someone give you a 3 year contract for that kind of money, why would you not want to collect? Mr Wren just didn’t make a good decision in this case.

Paddy

March 28th, 2011
7:05 am

Nagoyabrave….don’t believe KK speaks any English.

KK said if he just gives 100%, his pitching will be fine. Makes you wonder about the last 2 seasons of effort?

Marvin Mangrum

March 28th, 2011
7:06 am

Just so KK understands, pitching in the majors is entirely under his control, actually that seems to be the problem. What a doofus!

In Fredi I Trust

March 28th, 2011
8:02 am

One big difference between the Braves and Phillies. The Braves groom Superstars, the Phillies buy them. I would rather go the Braves route and have some self respect. The Phillies are nothing more then the Yankees Version 2.0.

I never wish injury on any player because they have mouths to feed at home like we all do. I will just say this, if Halladay, Lee, Utley and/or Howard miss any significant time this year, lets see what they do then. I am tired of hearing about the Phillies and their attempts to BUY a WS Title every year.

Bubba

March 28th, 2011
8:20 am

Whoever thought this guy had major league stuff….should be fired.

Had the “pleasure” to see him live again yesterday, the Dude might be a good mid-tier D-1 pitcher. Thats about it.

Geezer

March 28th, 2011
8:45 am

We don’t want him in Rome!!!!….if they send him here we got a great place to put him….A porta potti (so his lousy pitching if you can call it that won’t stink up our new stadium) out by the water detention pond next to the River.

RBrave

March 28th, 2011
9:00 am

Love KK’s quote , “Would love to pitch for the Braves , but it is out of my control “. Well, If you could pitch worth a %*ht . it would be in your control. Bye Bye

Puzzled

March 28th, 2011
9:22 am

Best thinhg for KK to do…completely dominate at Mississippi. If he’s major league stock, then he should pitch to an era of sub 2.00, give up no homers, high strike out total, and goes deep into the games.

Five starts like this, and he’ll be pitching some place else.

Lemke's Knuckler

March 28th, 2011
9:24 am

If I were playing in Rome, I’d buddy up with Kenshin for trips to the steakhouse. KK’s buying!!!

reckingball

March 28th, 2011
9:26 am

DOB mentions KK’s visa problems, in all of his articles about KK.
I was wondering, what kind of problems did KK have, and if there was any way that he could have anticipated those problems arising beforehand?
And if KK did, or could anticipate problems, why did he not begin the visa process earlier?

reckingball

March 28th, 2011
9:30 am

I think that KK will wind up on another club, and the Braves will get a couple of million, in salary relief for him.
I think that the Braves made the right move in sending him to Miss., for now.

wjones

March 28th, 2011
9:36 am

Don’t know what happened to my original post, but let’s try again. A couple of quick questions about KK and his neck:

1. Is this something the Braves were told about by KK? Before the game? During the game? If yes, then did he pooh-pooh it to them, so he could continue to pitch? Or did they just tell him to suck it up?

2. I don’t begrudge any player (or anyone else) getting as much salary as they can, but I’m thinking it I’m making over $6 million this year, and the team doesn’t cover a chiropractor/accupunturist/therapist/whatever to help me relieve my neck enough to pitch effectively, you best believe I will open my fat wallet, and ask my interpreter to pick up my cell phone and get me an appointment with someone. Especially if my career is hanging by a thread. Am I missing something here? It seems strange to me. Especially the “several days” part. I know he is foreign to the American stuff and all, but gee whiz!

bruce mac

March 28th, 2011
9:43 am

I love the Braves and MLB but this labor agreement that includes huge guaranteed money with no results is absolutely bogus and guess who pays for it? That would be you and I. It cannot be sustained forever and MLB will not be successful in the long run because of it. IMO

PMC

March 28th, 2011
9:47 am

We should change Kenshin Kawakami’s name to Goldman Sachs.

PMC

March 28th, 2011
9:48 am

Next labor agreements in pro sports should eliminate guarenteed money contracts completely.

Puzzled

March 28th, 2011
9:49 am

KK is “a Rock Star from Mas!” He’s not like everybody else!

Puzzled

March 28th, 2011
9:50 am

David O'Brien

March 28th, 2011
9:54 am

wjones, did you miss this paragraph:

“Kawakami said he was bothered by a stiff neck in the early innings. He said the neck pain started a few days ago after he slept on it wrong, but that it had improved before Sunday.”

He had received treatment for three days, hence the improvement. Soreness returned in first inning.

We’re not talking major injury here, but a stiff neck, which he himself said was better until the first inning.

In my opinion, you’re trying to make a big deal out of something that’s not a big deal.

mullking

March 28th, 2011
9:56 am

I think Wren created those “visa” problems thinking perhaps KK couldn’t come back.

David O'Brien

March 28th, 2011
9:56 am

reckingball, there were at least a couple of dozen players that had visa problems this spring in at least three countries.

Robert

March 28th, 2011
9:56 am

He’s gonna be the highest paid player in the indepeendent leagues before long

Hopefully he can do something in AA to get some team – any team – to offer anything for him

Not holding out much hope.

Bravesin11

March 28th, 2011
10:03 am

DOB-
What is the level of concern without a real viable option off the bench from the right side? Thoughts?

Brave New World

March 28th, 2011
10:03 am

When I first saw the video of KK a few years ago, I thought the Braves had acquired a potential ace. Sometimes things just don’t work out. KK certainly gave his best, but the results suggest this one was a bust. And yet, I’d rather be The Braves with KK than the Mets with Ollie Perez. KK has 8 wins in 2 years, while Ollie just 3 wins in 2 years (@$12 mill/per).

ChillyMutt

March 28th, 2011
10:22 am

Kawakami is delusional

PMC

March 28th, 2011
10:28 am

Meh, he’s not a hard thrower. He’s got to hit his spots to be effective. Last year he was getting way to much over the plate or he was walking guys. He’s got decent talent he’s just going to be horrid if he can’t locate his pitches. That’s what happened. It’s pretty difficult to be a major league pitcher and he didn’t get any run support either. Wren thought he could get a decent middle to back of the rotation guy for a few years. Thankfully we have better options. It just didn’t work out for KK unless he suddenly starts locating again.

AGTFan53

March 28th, 2011
10:29 am

Sometimes reading the posts on this blog, I become ashamed of being a Braves fan. Not because of the team, but some of my fellow fans act like real jerks.

Trojan

March 28th, 2011
10:48 am

Bloggers act like KK is the worst signing in history. He is not by a mile. His era in the first year was under 4. His 2nd year was over five. That is about average for a fifth starter in the major leagues.

He has a good work ethic, he is not a bad person, why all the venum? The Braves are still good without him. Perhaps he gets in a grove and improves enough to be traded or even pitch when needed for the Braves.

Some bloggers have vent up meanness that is ready to be spouted at the slightest thing.

Geezer

March 28th, 2011
11:02 am

Most of the anger is built up at Frank Wren for giving this no talent pitcher such a contract that we are stuck with him and probably have to eat that money when it could have been put to a lot more productive uses.

BraveMan

March 28th, 2011
11:44 am

Dave: Here’s a question…KK’s signing is one of the worst deals the Braves have made in years. Who scouted him? Who came up with the idea he was up to MLB standards?

Trojan

March 28th, 2011
11:50 am

He was above “ML standards” his first year, below the 2nd year.

DOB: Give us some Braves news that is not KK related.

Thanks

Skeezix

March 28th, 2011
12:09 pm

The K.K. decsion was hard to understand when it was announced and still stands as probably Wren’s dumbest move. His paycheck is like an anchor to the organization.

USAF Retired

March 28th, 2011
12:34 pm

Trojan has it right…

john

March 28th, 2011
12:34 pm

Stop talking KK Trash

- Real Question-

What are Braves Hitting Averages against Phillies.and Mets Pitching this Gapefruit ?

Ken Stallings

March 28th, 2011
12:41 pm

I also had a strange disappearance of my first post here! Here goes again …

I am surprised he would have turned down the two trade options to Japanese League teams. I realize playing in MLB has a lot of appeal, but life at AA is not going to be as nice as life in the Japanese League, and the money would be exactly the same at both locations.

Being sent to AA should tell him that the Braves have given up on him. He is not even on their short list for injury call ups.

john q

March 28th, 2011
12:49 pm

Only reason Phillies are “Yankees 2.0″ is because theyve been winning. Winning leads to fans. Fans lead to money. Championships lead to money. If Atlanta fans showed up like Phillies fans do, we would have a larger payroll too. Time to start blaming other teams and show up to support your own.

john q

March 28th, 2011
12:49 pm

time to stop*

krishatl

March 28th, 2011
12:50 pm

From Michael Beller’s article on si.com:
“11. The Atlanta Braves will win the NL East: OK, one prediction for the standings. Everyone is handing the NL East to the Phillies, but with the uncertainty surrounding Chase Utley, I’m not sold that they’ll be able to score consistently enough to hold off the Braves. No one can match Philly’s starting rotation, but Atlanta’s is nothing to sneeze at with Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens and Derek Lowe.

Provided Chipper Jones can stay healthy, they should have the best offense in the division. Martin Prado, Jason Heyward, Jones, Brian McCann and Dan Uggla give them a really nice top five in the order. Those five should be enough to keep the pressure off Nate McLouth, who had a dreadful ‘10, and rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman. Both the Braves and Phillies will make the playoffs, but I like the Braves to nip the Phils in the division.”

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/fantasy/03/25/fantasy-baseball-predictions/index.html#ixzz1HuijsDsi

Couldn’t agree more… Go Bravos!

Rupert

March 28th, 2011
1:21 pm

DOB, sending him to Miss. is so much more inconvienent than to Gwinnett, is this trying to put a little pressure on him to either accept a deal to Japan or possibly a buyout. The idea being that a month or so on buses, living in a hotel might make him more willing to negotiate. At some point the Braves will make him an offer to walk away, one would think, since no major league team wants to eat much of his salary.

Bravesfan

March 28th, 2011
1:22 pm

Why is wagner on the 40 man roster?

reckingball

March 28th, 2011
1:25 pm

He might be their secret weapon.

Chuck

March 28th, 2011
1:34 pm

I understood that the Braves were the reason KK had visa issues – that they didn’t apply soon enough, or something. Sending KK to AA instead of AAA insures that he can’t live at his place in Atlanta. The Braves hate him for some reason that has never come out publicly. Wonder if Chipper hates him? Probably is irritating the way he throws a ton of pitches to each batter and works slow also. KK could make a date to the park the best or worst day of your life, as you would probably know everything about that person before the 6th inning.

BobDawg

March 28th, 2011
1:39 pm

Hey Dave, What do you think of “Hangar Queen” Hampton calling it quits?? Doesn’t he owe the Braves some money??? like Millions when we oversaw his rehab???? Geez, Had to laugh as my Dad said that planes always broken down in WWII were called ‘Hanger Queens”…. Perfect for Hampton…

wjones

March 28th, 2011
1:55 pm

IlliniBrave

March 28th, 2011
1:56 pm

Red Sox had to make a similar decision re. an esteemed veteran pitcher from KK’s home nation – Hiedcki Okajima sent to AAA Pawtucket. The following article notes how difficult this must be for a guy with such a resume.

Is there a lesson here about signing aging veterans from other leagues/countries? Other sports have had to address similar issues – the NBA and MLS in particular. Two factors seem to be key: the wisdom of signing guys that are in the waning years of their career, and the degree to which success in one country translates into similar succes in our leagues.

http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/mlb/news/story?id=6265998

IlliniBrave

March 28th, 2011
1:57 pm

Wow, sorry about the several spelling errors.

admiral

March 28th, 2011
2:17 pm

i wish bruce’s comment from yesterday could be true – give this last game to the minor leaguers – get the big boys home! and please please please, baseball gods….keep chipper hot!

bascogcjs

March 28th, 2011
2:21 pm

Braveman, it has been reported that no Braves scout ever saw him pitch live.
And they still signed him, anyway.

Skeezix

March 28th, 2011
2:26 pm

KK had a pain in the neck? He has given Braves fans a pain in the arse.

Skeezix

March 28th, 2011
2:32 pm

Re: Hampton—I love the Hanger Queen moniker for Hampton–it’s perfect. What I want to know is what did he retire from? To retire, don’t you have to be doing something productive first, then retire?

JERRY C.

March 28th, 2011
2:36 pm

The only sushi fish available in Mississippi are catfish and mullet…KK will be on the next plane home…

Poorbrave

March 28th, 2011
2:43 pm

DOB did Braves just get Scott Diamond back from Twins?

eskippy

March 28th, 2011
2:48 pm

Billy Bullock

Kawasucki

March 28th, 2011
2:48 pm

I agree with esteemed quarterback Terry Bradshaw – Sushi look and smells (alot like my pitching) like fish bait….

Poorbrave

March 28th, 2011
2:48 pm

Ok we got Billy Bullock..6′6″ 98 mph pitcher.. from aa Twins.

bobby mizelle

March 28th, 2011
4:30 pm

The Braves are a good team and are capable of making a strong run at the Division and League titles. Let’s stay behind them all year(even thru a bad series or two) and watch them reach the top once again.

northbeach Scott

March 28th, 2011
8:50 pm

The hindsight on KK is very silly. You have to go back to the context of how pitching poor the Braves were after the 2008 season.

As the Braves prepared for 2009 in Oct/Nov 2008 1)Hudson was out until Aug with TJ. 2) Jair Jurrjens was coming off his solid rookie season. 3) Javier Vasquez deal with the White Sox happened in Dec and was not widely popular. 4) Lowe was signed as a FA in Jan. If the Braves had not signed Lowe, we would have likely ended up with Oliver Perez. 5) Kawakami was also signed as a FA in Jan. 6) Tommy Hanson was just a prospect with a solid AFL showing.

The Braves were delighted to ink a solid, but long in the tooth former Japanese CY Young Award (eqivalent) winner to be a #4/#5 starter. Turned out KK was better than average in 2009, but stunk in 2010. The Braves needs and pitching options have improved dramatiacally in two years.

Again, it is easy to whine in hindsight, but it is not very pretty, especially with the self-righteous ‘tude.

northbeach Scott

March 28th, 2011
9:11 pm

For those of you disparaging the Kawakami signing, you should recall the context of where the Braves were in Oct 2008 as they planned for 2009 starting pitching.

1) Tim Hudson was out with TJ surgery until August 2009. 2) Jurrjens had just completed a solid rookie season and was the default #1 starter. 3) the mostly unpopular Javier Vasquez deal with the White Sox was not completed until Dec 08. 4) F.A. Derek Lowe was not signed until Jan 09, and the Braves very nearly lost Lowe to the Mets. If they had lost Lowe, they likely would have signed Oliver Perez as he was the next best FA alternative. 5) Kawakami was also signed in Jan to be a #4/#5 starter. 6) Tommy Hanson was a prospect that had a good Arizona Fall League audition.

Kawakami was a good signing at the time as the alternatives were lousy. He rewarded the Braves with a decent 2009. Now, I am happy he will be sent to AA and hopefully he will be dealt for some salary relief when the time comes. To use hindsight to judge the signing is not pretty and ignorant.

rbrave

March 28th, 2011
9:46 pm

How come when a player has a good year, they raise heck and get their contracts renegotioated with a big raise. Why can’t the team renegotiate after a bad year or two, namely Hampton, Macclouth, KK and many more ? And they always call the teams greedy. Sounds like we have a very solid team with a deep bench and a very good staff and pen. I hope we get off to a good start , a loss in April still shows up in October ! Go Braves!!!!!

JRW7

March 28th, 2011
10:33 pm

KK sent to AA Miss, not quite like ATLANTA, maybe he will QUIT, and go home?

Twila Youla

July 5th, 2013
6:47 am

A stiff neck isn’t usually an indication of a serious medical problem, but it can impede your daily activities and make it hard to get to sleep. Although most often caused by poor posture at work, a stiff neck can also be caused by sleeping wrong or straining through exercise. Read on for some practical tips on how to relieve the pain.-;….

With best regards
<http://wellnessdigest.co/

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