Archive for June, 2011

Gonzalez wants Uggla to focus on the present

Dan Uggla’s season average sticks out in the Braves boxscore – it was only .177 after a 1-for-4 day on Wednesday. But Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez wants the struggling second baseman to focus on what he can do from this day forward, rather than trying to make up for lost time and average.

On Wednesday, it was help the Braves beat Toronto 5-1 with a two-run home run off Jo-Jo Reyes.

“It’s going to be difficult for him from this point on to put up a .275 batting average, but you can’t worry about April and May right now,” Gonzalez said. “He’s going to have start (focusing on) what’s going on from the middle of June forward. I think at the end of the year some of the numbers are going to be right where you want them to be.”

Home runs are about all he’s got going for him right now. Uggla has 10, second among Braves to Brian McCann (13). He knows it.

“Everything is down,” Uggla said. “Average, homers, RBIs, runs scored. It’s just been a bad year for me individually so far. But we …

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Hanson shoulder improved, gearing up for Tuesday start

Tommy Hanson was encouraged enough by three consecutive days of catch that the Braves sent left-hander Mike Minor back to Triple-A Gwinnett and penciled Hanson in to start Tuesday in Seattle.

Hanson has missed two starts while on the disabled list nursing shoulder tendinitis. A cortisone shot and rest have helped, and Hanson said his shoulder felt good after 50 long tosses and 25 pitches on flat ground Wednesday.

“Felt really good,” Hanson said. “All my pitches actually felt really good too. So hopefully I can stay right there.”

Hanson plans to throw a bullpen session on Friday in San Diego and if need be another light one on Sunday. But the way things are proceeding, he expects to get back on the mound Tuesday.

He said the shoulder doesn’t hurt him unless he throws hard and Wednesday he didn’t feel it when letting loose at about 90 percent effort.

“If I’m going to pitch next Tuesday I’ve got to let it go and see how it feels – if I’m even going to be able to throw a side,” …

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Beachy and Jo-Jo both return to Turner Field today

(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

Beachy's.....back

Beachy's…..back

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 …

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Braves postgame quotes following Tuesday’s win over Toronto

CHIPPER JONES

On Minor:

“He was really good. He stayed on top of the hitters, didn’t fall behind. One intentional walk. His Achilles heel is his control. He would have gotten the win last time out if his location hadn’t left him. Tonight he was on the corners, changing speeds and keeping the ball on the ground, striking people out. When he does that, he can win.”

On holding a four-run lead this time:

“You knew that he learned a pretty valuable lesson his last time out. He was given a lead going to the fifth, all he’s got to do is get through the fifth and he’s eligible for a win. He and I had a talk in spring training and you’ve got to come out of the bullpen breathing fire. That’s how you gain respect from the every day players, and it seems like he was still a little timid up until tonight. He moved the ball in, he moved the ball out, he sank it, he cut it and changed speeds. He’s got good enough stuff when he does that to dominate and he did. He made a couple mistakes in …

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Hudson admits he needs work on home run trot

Tim Hudson couldn’t help but admire a few video replays of the two-run home run he hit Monday night against the Blue Jays, only the second of his career and the game-winner in a 2-0 victory. But he was a little embarrassed about his home run trot.

“It was longer than it should have been,” Hudson said. “Honestly I thought it was normal. Apparently it’s not. Apparently I need to be out of breath whenever I tag home. I don’t know. It’s been a while.”

Chipper Jones was only half-kidding when he was asked about Hudson’s home run and said this about the slow trot: “We’ve got to work on it. It could get him drilled next time we face the Blue Jays.”

The Braves went two years between interleague series against the Blue Jays and have played them only four series over the past six years. Hudson was too busy celebrating to worry much about it. His trot included a fist pump, a wave to his family and a perma-grin.

“He was so basking in his glory last night,” Jones said. “He milked that …

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Jones back in lineup after four-day absence

Chipper Jones returned to the lineup Tuesday, after missing four games with a strained right adductor muscle.

Jones said he felt it a little more batting right-handed than left-handed, but he was able to swing with some authority right-handed during batting practice on Monday. He thought he might be a little cautious running the bases but didn’t plan to pull up unless he felt it worsen.

Jones saw considerable improvement after an injection of sodium bicarbonate after he injured it Thursday night.

“I think without the shot we’re looking at at least a week and possibly a DL stint,” Jones said. “Even with the shot, the first couple days, I was kind of skeptical but the fourth day proved to do the trick.”

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Braves call on Lugo for veteran presence at shortstop

The Braves called up shortstop Julio Lugo from Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday, looking for more of a veteran presence to back up Alex Gonzalez at shortstop.

The move, which sent Diory Hernandez back to Gwinnett, didn’t have anything to do with the bunt sign Hernandez failed to pick up during a seventh inning at-bat Monday night. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he wanted a more experienced player at shortstop to give Gonzalez some time off.

“Some of the guys we’ve been trying are younger players,” said Gonzalez, referring to Hernandez and Brandon Hicks. “I think that role fits more of a veteran guy, a guy who has played shortstop at the big league level and been successful at the major league level.”

Lugo, 35, has played 11 major league seasons for four teams, beginning with the Houston Astros. He’s a career .270 hitter. He hasn’t had an every day job since 2007 with the Red Sox. He hit .240 with 20 RBIs in 93 games last season for Baltimore.

The Venezuela native went unsigned …

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Good luck trying to top Hudson’s performance

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

So tonight it’s Game 2 of the Blue Jays series and the Braves are going to have a hard time topping what went on last night, at least any one individual Brave. Those of us just “fresh in” from traveling back from a trip to Alaska weren’t sure if it was foggy, jet-lagged brain or if Tim Hudson really hit a two-run homer.

Ah, but there it was confirmed in my paper this morning. Right along with Hudson’s eight shutout, two-hit innings. He didn’t walk a batter until the ninth inning and struck out eight in an impressive a win as you’ll see by a pitcher.

I will say I think I ran faster in mile 22 of the Alaska Marathon Saturday than Hudson ran around the bases after his homer but hey, he had been pitching for seven innings, and in weather about 20 degrees hotter than what we got in Anchorage.

Hudson retired 20 in a row at one point, threw a four-pitch inning, got nine ground ball outs hit to shortstop Alex …

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Braves quotes after Hudson beats Jays

***TIM HUDSON

How would you rate it as a career achievement

“It’s hard to say there’s anything better. You know, obviously, throw a shutout and hit a homer, you win the game. It was fun, man. It was a lot of fun. It was nice to go out there and feel good, and feel under control, like everything was in sync.

“We just made a couple of adjustments from the last start. The last few weeks haven’t really felt like I wanted to. We just made a few adjustments and it really felt good.”

On his two-run homer

“Romero’s really good. He was really good. Had a good heater. I just got the [bat] head out. I knew he was going to throw me a fastball with a runner on first base, two out, pitcher up. If there’s a runner in scoring position, I might not be looking for the heater quite as much. But he threw it middle-in. If you know a fastball’s coming – I just threw the head at it, squared it up.”

Is that an argument against the designated hitter?

“No, we suck honestly hitting. I was …

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Chipper could return Tuesday; Beachy starts Wednesday

Chipper Jones’ strained right adductor muscle felt so much better Monday, the third baseman hoped to be back in the Braves lineup Tuesday.

He missed his fourth consecutive start Monday, but said the injury improved to the point he could rule out needing a stint on the 15-day DL to let it heal. He had mentioned that possibility Sunday morning.

“Today was the big day,” he said. “I woke up this morning, first day I’ve thought playing was not too far off.”

It’s official: Beachy starts Wednesday

A day after saying he expected Brandon Beachy would start Wedneday in place of the DL’d Tommy Hanson, manager Fredi Gonzalez made it official Monday.

The rookie right-hander, who has been on the DL five weeks for an oblique strain, will skip a planned second minor-league rehab start and move back into the Braves’ rotation. Hanson is out with shoulder tendinitis, and the Braves hope to have him back to start June 28 after 15 days on the DL.

Beachy was 1-1 with a 3.45 ERA in eight starts …

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