Archive for July, 2011

Constanza could stick around

The Braves’ trade for center fielder Michael Bourn on Sunday doesn’t mean the end of Jose Constanza’s major-league stay.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said following Sunday’s 3-l loss to the Marlins that Constanza would make the road trip and the two speedsters could be in the lineup Monday at Washington. The Braves open a three-game series against the Nationals.

Constanza had three hits Sunday and is batting .308 since being recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett when Nate McLouth went on the 15-day disabled list.

“I think there is a good chance you get both of those guys in the lineup together on this road trip,” Gonzalez said. “It will be fun to watch both of those guys run the bases. Constanza changes the game because you have to defend him. Now you have [Michael] Bourn. He is the same way. I’m looking forward to [Monday] lineup wise and maybe get them both in there.”

The Braves will make a roster move Monday to create a spot for Bourn, who will wear No. 24. They will …

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GM Wren on art of the (Bourn) deal, where Braves stand

Braves general manager FRANK WREN on Sunday’s trade for Michael Bourn

“Last night we came to the conclusion that we were close to something on Bourn, and we were able to finish it off. We finished it up early this morning. We think he’s a perfect fit for our team.

“He really fits what we were trying to do, as far as the basic needs for our team. He’s a great addition.”

Did injuries to center fielders the past week change your focus before trade deadline?

“Not really. As we analyzed our club — and this is from a strategy standpoint, we didn’t want to be transparent as for what we were really looking for – but as we looked at our club we felt that the most glaring need was center field. Even before the injuries, we felt that was an area where we could really improve our club. And so we were involved in everything, but getting a guy like Michael Bourn was a priority.

“Like I said, were involved in everything, but we weren’t really into everything.”

Open to evaluating next season …

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Next for Braves: Washington Nationals

Series preview: at Nationals

When (TV): 7:05 p.m. Monday (SPSO); 7:05 p.m. Tuesday (SPSO); 1:05 p.m. Wednesday (SPSO)

Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5

Probable starting pitchers:

Monday: Braves RH Jair Jurrjens (12-3, 2.38 ERA) vs. RH Livan Hernandez (5-10, 4.19)

Tuesday: Braves RH Derek Lowe (6-9, 4.52) vs. LH John Lannan (7-7, 3.63)

Wednesday: Braves RH Brandon Beachy (4-2, 3.27 ERA) vs. RH Chien-Ming Wang (0-1, 9.00)

About the Braves:

• Batting: Dan Uggla extended his career-high hitting streak to 22 games Sunday with an infield hit. His streak is the longest in the majors, and includes eight homers. By the numbers, he’ll have his work cut out to extend the streak against Hernandez, who has limited Uggla to 5-for-33 (.152) in his career. But Uggla doubled off Hernandez the last time he faced him July 15.

• Pitching: Jair Jurrjens has been “stuck” on 12 wins for his past three starts on three no-decisions, but the Braves have won each of those starts on their way …

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Braves reactions to Michael Bourn trade

***JORDAN SCHAFER

On when he found out

“Frank called me this morning and told me, probably around 9.”

“It hurts, no doubt. It’s the only place I’ve know, so obviously it hurts. I thank the Braves for sticking by me the entire time. With everything I’ve been through, they’ve been great to me. It’s a business. They have to do what’s best for the team. They have to what’s best to try to win a World Series this year.

“It sucks, truthfully. I was comfortable here. At the same time I’m excited to go there. Any time you get traded the team obviously wants you. I’m excited to go over there and start fresh and try to start winning.”

“I don’t know if the injuries had anything to do with it. The first one set things back quite a bit. Like I said, it’s a business. It happens. I’m not the first player to be traded. I’m not going to be the last. I’m thankful for the opportunity they gave me.”

***ERIC HINSKE

On Bourn

“Good player, good leadoff hitter. Happy to have him.”

“He’s the fastest …

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Braves trade for Bourn, the leadoff hitter they’ve lacked

What the Braves got in Sunday’s trade for Astros center fielder Michael Bourn was the high-octane leadoff hitter they’ve lacked since Rafael Furcal left six years ago.

A two-time Gold Glove winner and All-Star last season, Bourn has hit .303 with a .363 on-base percentage and National League-leading 39 stolen bases, with 26 doubles, seven triples and one homer. He led the NL in steals the past two seasons, with 61 in 2009 and 52 in 2010.

“He gets on base and creates havoc,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

“He’s a game-changer,” Braves veteran Eric Hinske said. “When he gets on first base, it’s fits for the pitchers.”

Bourn, a 28-year-old Houston native, has a .271 career average and 212 stolen bases in 662 games over parts of six seasons.

The Braves got him from the Astros in exchange for center fielder Jordan Schafer and minor-league pitchers Juan Abreu, Paul Clemens and left-hander Brett Oberholtzer. They finalized the deal Sunday morning before the 4 …

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Updated with reaction: Braves trade for Bourn

The Braves have made a trade hours before the deadline, acquiring outfielder Michael Bourn from the Astros.

The left-handed center fielder was acquired for center fielder Jordan Schafer and three minor-league pitchers, left-hander Brett Oberholtzer and right-handers Paul Clemens and Juan Abreu.

Schafer is currently on the disabled list with a finger fracture. The Braves are also without centerfielder Nate McLouth, who is on the disabled list with an abdominal strain.

“I thank the Braves for sticking by me the entire time,” Schafer said while packing up his locker. “With everything I’ve been through, they’ve been great to me. It’s a business. They have to do what’s best for the team. They have to what’s best to try to win a World Series this year.

“It sucks, truthfully. I was comfortable here. At the same time I’m excited to go there. Any time you get traded the team obviously wants you. I’m excited to go over there and start fresh and try to start winning.

“I don’t know if the …

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Braves quotes after Saturday win over Marlins

***FREDI GONZALEZ

On Hudson

“Outstanding. He gave us what we wanted. Seven innings. He was really, really good.

“He’s been nails. He is one of those guys who competes. He competes his butt off every day. Every start, whether he is down or up, every pitch he competes.”

On Hudson’s record of 140-5 when team scores four or more runs while he’s in

“He takes every game like it’s 1-0. He doesn’t care what the scoreboard says. He is going to pitch and compete and give you everything he has. He doesn’t pitch to the scoreboard. Some pitchers, they are pitching to get the win in the fifth. He just pitches.”

On Uggla and Hinske home runs

“Danny got a big three-run homer and [Hinske] added on there. It was big. Any time to get a chance to add on runs it’s huge.”

On Uggla’s second-half surge

“This is the right time. It really is. You get him going hot and Freddie [Freeman] is staying hot. We are inching to getting closer to some health. We are winning ball games with [Brian] McCann on the …

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Tidbits: Chipper still a pinch-hitter, McLouth had “mild” issue before DL

Chipper Jones was out of the lineup again Saturday, still battling a strained right quadricep. Jones has been available to pinch-hit but likely won’t return to the lineup by the weekend, as Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had hoped.

“He is feeling a little better,” Gonzalez said. “I would like to get him on the field and work him out a little bit before we decide [when he can return]. … The thing we worry about is when you get him on the field, he has to react one way or another. You can’t really control that. We worry about that a little bit.”

Jones is 0-for-3 as a pinch-hitter since returning from the disabled list after knee surgery and then suffered the strain in his first game back.

* Gonzalez said that centerfielder Nate McLouth had a “mild” issue with a lower abdominal strain that landed him on the 15-day disabled list Friday for much of the season. The manager said McLouth has been playing with the issue since “the second or third day of the season” but it wasn’t …

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Braves still looking for outfield help as trade deadline nears

Fredi Gonzalez heard the news on his way home Friday night. The Phillies had acquired all-star outfielder Hunter Pence, whom the Braves had also pursued heavily.

When the Braves manager arrived home, he sent a text message to pitching coach Roger McDowell.

“Pitch your [butt] off,” Gonzalez wrote.

“They got a pretty good player,” Gonzalez said Saturday, less than 24 hours before Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline. “There is no question about it. They’ve made themselves a pretty good team. That’s a good piece to add in that lineup.”

The Braves players are well aware of what the Phillies, who lead the National League East, have done.

“They’ve made every move you can make in order to try to go for it,” second baseman Dan Uggla said. ” They got Cliff Lee in the offseason, they got Hunter Pence now, they’ve got unbelievable depth if somebody goes down; they’ve been picking each other up all year long. They’re a good team. But we are, too. And there’s a lot …

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Moylan set to throw off mound Sunday

A little more than 10 weeks removed from back surgery, Braves reliever Peter Moylan is ready to throw off a bullpen mound.

He is scheduled to throw 15 pitches on Sunday at about 50 percent effort.

“Knowing myself I think it’ll probably be 15 pitches at 80 percent,” Moylan said with a smile. “I’ll tell them it’s 50.”

He says that, but Moylan acknowledged the Braves have kept him tempered all along his recovery from May 17 herniated disc surgery. And now he’s nearing the target recovery range of 12 weeks feeling good.

“I feel really strong,” said Moylan, who has been playing catch for the past two weeks.  I haven’t felt my back the whole time. It hasn’t even been a thought. Plus all the (core) work I’ve been doing, I think it’s paid off.”

Moylan will spend the next couple of weeks building up arm strength and eventually head out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said again Saturday he thought Moylan could return by the end of August or …

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