Archive for May, 2011

Braves sign Lugo to minor league deal, Beachy update

The Braves signed shortstop Julio Lugo to a minor league deal Monday, adding some veteran depth to the middle infield. Lugo will work his way back into shape at the Braves complex in Orlando before reporting to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Lugo, 35, was originally drafted by the Astros and played the first four of his 11 major league seasons in Houston. The career .270 hitter played his last full season with an every-day job for the Boston Red Sox in 2007. He hit .249 (60-for-241) with no homers and 20 RBIs in 93 games last season for Baltimore. He plays primarily shortstop and second base.

He will reportedly make a pro-rated portion of $650,000 for time spent in the major leagues.

Beachy update

Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy expects to begin playing light catch in the next few days as he continues his rehabilitation from a strained left oblique. He hasn’t picked up a ball since May 13 when he was injured in a start against the Phillies.

Beachy is working out with Braves physical …

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Braves disable McLouth and recall Schafer

As much as the Braves hoped to avoid it, they were forced to place center fielder Nate McLouth on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a strained left oblique, meaning they’ll open the Pirates series Tuesday without two-thirds of their starting outfield.

The Braves put Jason Heyward on the disabled list Sunday with lingering right shoulder soreness.

With an off day Monday amid their three-city trip, the Braves held out slight hope that McLouth would see improvement overnight, but he didn’t. They recalled center fielder Jordan Schafer from Triple-A Gwinnett, and he’ll join the team in Pittsburgh.

McLouth injured himself four pitches into Sunday’s game against the Angels in Anaheim checking his swing on a pitch in the dirt. He immediately doubled over in pain. After a few minutes, he tried a few swings to see if he could continue but was in too much pain.

Schafer will return to the major leagues for the first time since 2009 when wrist injuries derailed the promising …

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Braves quotes after Sunday loss to Angels

***FREDI GONZALEZ

“I thought D-Lowe pitched good enough to win. He kept us in the game. It didn’t happen.

“We had some chances. One chance, actually. He [Angels starter Tyler Chatwood] made the pitch and we couldn’t get it done.”

“They got the big hits when they needed to, and we didn’t.”

Has your team played better or worse than its 26-23 record?

“We’re above .500. Our pitching has carried us pretty much this entire way, and we’ve had some spurts of offensive productivity. I think that’s going to get better.”

On McLouth getting hurt first at-bat of the game

“It happens. I think the teams that can survive those injury bugs – we’re going through it now a little bit – are going to be there at the end. If you don’t, then you’re going to be in trouble. I think this team, mentally, the way they grind stuff out, is going to survive that.”

On McLouth injury

“It’s a left oblique strain, and we’re going to reevaluate him tomorrow.”

*** …

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Heyward (shoulder) goes on disabled list

ANAHEIM – Jason Heyward was placed on the 15-day disabled list for recurring soreness in his right shoulder, the latest in a series of injury setbacks for the Braves’ prized right fielder.

Injuries are mounting for the Braves, and they didn’t want to go into the two-day Pittsburgh series that starts Tuesday not knowing if Heyward would be ready.

They purchased the contract of outfielder Wilkin Ramirez from Triple-A Gwinnett, creating a 40-man roster spot for Ramirez by moving relief pitcher Peter Moylan from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. Moylan had back surgery last week and is expected to be sidelined for about three months.

The Braves will likely go with hot-hitting Joe Mather in right, although Ramirez could see some playing time. Ramirez, 25, was hitting .248 with 15 extra-base hits (seven homers), 16 RBIs and six stolen bases in 33 games at Gwinnett, with a .513 slugging percentage but a skimpy .294 on-base percentage.

“Going into the National League …

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Heyward goes on the disabled list

ANAHEIM – Jason Heyward was placed on the 15-day disabled list for recurring soreness in his right shoulder, the latest in a series of injury setbacks for the Braves’ prized right fielder.

Injuries are mounting for the Braves, and they didn’t want to go into the two-day Pittsburgh series that starts Tuesday not knowing if Heyward would be ready.

They purchased the contract of outfielder Wilkin Ramirez from Triple-A Gwinnett, creating a 40-man roster spot for Ramirez by moving relief pitcher Peter Moylan from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. Moylan had back surgery last week and is expected to be sidelined for about three months.

The Braves will likely go with hot-hitting Joe Mather in right, although Ramirez could see some playing time. Ramirez, 25, was hitting .248 with 15 extra-base hits (seven homers), 16 RBIs and six stolen bases in 33 games at Gwinnett, with a .513 slugging percentage but a skimpy .294 on-base percentage.

“Going into the National League games, you …

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Minor to replace Hudson; McLouth to DL?

ANAHEIM – Braves pitcher Tim Hudson will have his stiff back examined in Atlanta on Monday, and rookie Mike Minor will be recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to start in the veteran’s place Wednesday at Pittsburgh.

The plan is for Hudson to rejoin the rotation for a May 30 start, and for Minor to make another start May 31, a spot-start date where a replacement was needed for injured fifth starter Brandon Beachy.

Hudson’s back stiffened in Friday’s game against Anaheim, when he allowed eight runs in 3-2/3 innings in one of the worst starts of his career.

He had said he would do everything he could to make his next scheduled start, but the Braves took that out of his hands, making the decision not to let him push too hard trying to get back so quickly.

“We want to make sure the stiffness calms down,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “It’s stiffness; it’s not spasms. He’s flying back to Atlanta to have doctors look at him tomorrow, to have X-rays or an MRI… We just …

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McLouth joins Braves’ walking wounded

ANAHEIM – Injuries are mounting for the Braves, who lost center fielder Nate McLouth to a strained left oblique on the fourth pitch of Sunday’s 4-1 loss against the Los Angeles Angels.

The leadoff man hurt the muscle in his side checking a swing in the opening at-bat at Angel Stadium, and Diory Hernandez finished the at-bat by grounding out.

McLouth could be placed on the disabled list Monday or Tuesday if his side doesn’t improve quickly.

After he left the game, Hernandez moved to third base, Joe Mather switched from right field to center, Martin Prado from third base to left field, and Eric Hinske from left field to right field.

There was plenty of other injury news with the Braves, who announced that Tim Hudson (back stiffness) will miss his scheduled start Wednesday at Pittsburgh and be replaced by rookie left-hander Mike Minor from Triple-A Gwinnett.

Minor will also make a May 31 start, and Hudson is scheduled to return to the rotation on May 30 if his back responds …

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Braves quotes after 12-inn. win against Anaheim

***FREDI GONZALEZ

On Mather

“Good for him. This is a guy who didn’t make the club out of spring training. He went down to Triple-A and worked on his swing.

“Not just today, but a couple of other days he’s got some big hits for us, and he has versatility. He plays all the outfield positions, both infield corners, and now he’s swinging the bat like we saw him swing it a little bit in St. Louis. It’s a big plus for us.”

On winning after some tough losses

“It’s good. The losses we take are so hard – extra-inning games, one-run games – and for us to pull this one out is big. Hopefully tomorrow we get the momentum going and we go D-Lowe and swing the bats.We’ve got the hits, 17 hits we got, and only got five runs. You’d like to put bigger numbers in the run column with that many hits, but we’ll take it.”

On the bullpen

“The bully was outstanding, from O’Flaherty all the way to Kimbrel, and Johny going two innings, and Proctor and Georgy. Big, kept us …

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Heyward scratched, shoulder’s sore again

ANAHEIM — Braves right fielder Jason Heyward was scratched from the lineup again on Saturday night with recurring soreness in his right shoulder.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez was concerned by the recurrence after only three games played by Heyward since he had a cortisone shot, but said he was relieved to hear the report after Heyward was examined again Saturday night.

Heyward was checked by renowned orthopedist Lewis Yocum of Los Angeles,  who concurred with last week’s diagnosis by Atlanta doctors:  rotator-cuff inflammation, no structural damage. Heyward played defense in the 12th inning Saturday and is otherwise listed as day-to-day.

“We used him for defense, and we’ll probably do the same tomorrow, give him a breather,” Gonzalez said. “ We’ll go day-to-day and see what happens.”

Heyward said the shoulder became sore again while he was sitting on the bench Friday during the series opener against the Angels, shortly after taking batting practice.

He didn’t play …

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Hudson (back) questionable; lineup shuffle Pt. II

ANAHEIM – A day after Tim Hudson had back stiffness in one of the worst starts of his major league career, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said it was too soon to know if the veteran pitcher would be able to make his next scheduled start Wednesday at Pittsburgh.

Hudson allowed eight runs, seven hits and three walks in 3-2/3 innings of Friday’s 9-0 loss to the Angels, the first time in his career that he allowed as many as eight earned runs in fewer than five innings. He also hit three batters to match a career high, and his ERA climbed by nearly a run, from 3.03 to 3.95.

Gonzalez said afterward that Hudson had lower-back tightness during the game. Hudson later confirmed that, but wouldn’t elaborate or use it as an excuse. He said he would do everything he could before Wednesday to try to make the start.

When asked how Hudson felt Saturday, Gonzalez said, “Just OK.It’s not even 24 hours removed. So we’ll see.”

Gonzalez said the Braves would …

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