(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien today.)
Top of the sunny morning to you, and let’s keep it that way all afternoon, shall we? Today marks the return to the mound at Turner Field for two guys – Brandon Beachy, who makes his first start since coming off the disabled list with an oblique strain and Jo-Jo Reyes, the former Brave traded to Toronto last year as part of the Yunel Escobar-for-Alex Gonzalez deal.
First, Beachy. Originally today was the day he was going to make his second and final minor league rehabilitation start for Triple-A Gwinnett. But with the injury to Tommy Hanson, who is working his way back from some shoulder tendinitis, the Braves needed Beachy a little earlier.
Beachy was fine with that of course, but he’ll be on a little bit of a strict pitch count I’d imagine. He was originally set to max out about 100
pitches today, plus with the heat of a steamy day game on top of it, I’d bet the Braves would be happy to get five or six innings and call it a day.
Beachy hasn’t pitched for the Braves since walking off the mound on May 13 against the Phillies, after trying to warm-up for the third inning but realizing it was a no-go. He’d strained his oblique swinging at a pitch in the bottom of the second.
Trainers are getting used to this oblique business apparently, and Beachy has had a smooth recovery, with no setbacks to speak of. Jair Jurrjens had the oblique thing to a milder extent and we’ve seen the nice recovery he made. Beachy wouldn’t mind a little piece of that action as well.
This is his first interleague start in his 12th major league start. For those who didn’t see it late last night, the Braves optioned Mike Minor back to Triple-A Gwinnett to make room for Beachy on the roster.
So really, Reyes is Yo-Yo no more. You might recall our old affectionate nickname for the Quadruple-A tendencies Reyes showed when he was here with the Braves – up in the majors for a while, down in Triple-A for a while. He has found a permanent home in the Blue Jays rotation this season. While it was a bumpy ride to start, Reyes seems to have settled in here of late.
He made national headlines when he snapped a major-league record streak of 28 consecutive starts without a win, dating back to June 13, 2008 with the Braves. He had gone 0-13 with a 6.59 ERA since that win over Anaheim. He broke out of it with a bang – a complete game victory against the Indians 11-1 on May 30, the first complete gave win of his career.
Reyes has won three of his past four starts with a 3.21 ERA over that time. He’ll bring a little extra energy today against his former team, the one that drafted him in the second round in 2003 out of Riverside (Calif.) Poly High School in 2003. I’m sure it’s a big day for him.
The big knock against him as a Brave was not trusting his stuff, nibbling, instead of being aggressive. When he had success, he went at hitters, and he has the stuff to do it. There are a few Braves who’ve faced him before. Dan Uggla is 3-for-5 with three doubles and an RBI against him. Of course Uggla’s struggles against left-handers this year have been pretty well documented. Nate McLouth is 1-for-3 with an RBI off him and David Ross is 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.
The more home runs he hits the more kudos Brian McCann has for his brother Brad McCann, who gave him some pointers about an adjustment he should make at the plate prior to a game against the Astros in mid-May.
Since that time, and the surreal two-homer game he had off the bench on May 16 against Houston, McCann has hit 10 home runs in 28 games, while maintaining a .327 average entering Wednesday’s game. He has nine doubles and 21 RBIs in those 28 games.
“Ever since we’ve talked I’ve been able to really let the bat fly through the zone,” said McCann, whose father and brother both teach hitting at the Windward Academy in Alpharetta. “I’m lucky to have people in my family who understand the game of baseball and understand hitting. I go to them quite a bit.”
It was a fairly quiet morning in the Braves clubhouse today, with one notable exception. The player bopping around the room, most eager to get to action, was Julio Lugo who will debut with the Braves today at shortstop today, while giving Alex Gonzalez only his fourth day out of the lineup this season.
Lugo hasn’t started a game in the majors since Oct. 1 of last year with the Orioles. He played second base that day. This is his first start at shortstop since Sept. 1, 2010. (Lugo can play short, second and to a lesser extent third.)
He was raring to go, saying yesterday he was “bananas” about a shot to play with the Braves.
We let Chipper Jones, a guy with a pretty amazing recall of all things baseball, give a scouting report on Lugo.
“Solid player. A guy that can play all the infield spots. Guy that we can rely on to be able to give Gonzo a day off every once in a while, a solid right-handed bat, a guy who’s going to make some contact and can run a little bit. So we look for positive things from him. The other guys have done a good job, now it’s Julio’s job to step back into the major leagues and prove that he’s still got some mileage left.”
1. Schafer CF
2. Heyward RF
3. Jones 3B
4. McCann C
5. Freeman 1B
6. Uggla 2B
7. McLouth LF
8. Lugo SS
9. Beachy P
July 4th weekend
The Braves announced yesterday that they will give away free tickets to military personnel during the Fourth of July weekend. For all the games Friday July 1 – Monday July 4, active duty, reserve military and veterans can show military ID at the Turner Field ticket window to receive a free Upper Box Ticket. Family members can buy additional tickets for half price. Military folks can get tickets at the Turner Field ticket windows either in advance or the day of the game.
The Braves did a similar promotion for Memorial Day weekend and it added a special feel to the crowd those days.
So you know the dream you have where you show up for a test and you are totally unprepared? I learned this morning that baseball players have that dream to varying degrees themselves.
Tim Hudson said he has a recurring dream where he’s out on the mound at the start of a game and hasn’t warmed up a lick in the bullpen. Chipper Jones said he has a recurring dream where it’s 7:03 p.m. and he’s late getting his uniform on, is running down the tunnel and realizes he’s forgotten his glove.
Just kinda funny to hear that version of our own worst nightmare. I guess truth be told, I’ve had my share of dreams where I show up at the ballpark late, miss batting practice, physically can’t see the game and am expected to write a bunch of stories.
And with that important tidbit, I’ll post this thing and get us going.