Archive for July, 2011

Deadline looms as Braves work on potential trades

Let’s hit on a few topics while we wait for any potential moves from the Braves, who broadened their pool of potential trade-deadline pickups after losing out on Carlos Beltran and Hunter Pence, then having another center fielder (Nate McLouth) land on the DL yesterday.

Bourn has led the NL in steals for past three seasons, and is leading it again this year.

Bourn has led the NL in steals for past three seasons, and is leading it again this year.

They’d still like to get corner outfielder/slugger Carlos Quentin from the White Sox, but with Chicago only a couple of games out of first place and Quentin’s potential Triple-A replacement injured, those who follow the White Sox believe GM Kenny Williams will not trade Quentin.

The Braves have turned up discussions with the Astros about center fielder Michael Bourn, who doesn’t bat right-handed but, in my opinion, would be a better addition for them than either  Pence or Quentin, particularly given the rash of injuries. Bourn is a strong defensive player (two Gold Gloves) with blinding speed. Game-changing speed. …

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Braves quotes after Friday win against Marlins

***FREDI GONZALEZ

On Beachy

“Outstanding performance. He went up and down the strike zone, down and away, down and in, breaking ball over the plate, he was dominating today. And I thought Clay was pretty good too there. Danny got him, but (we got a) good pitching performance, Danny with a three-run homer and Freddie continues to swing a hot bat. We were able to add on some runs there late in the game.”

On if it was Beachy’s best start

“If it’s not the best start of the year it’s up there.”

On Uggla’s moment

“Big home run. And Clay was for me, pretty good to that point. Big for us. He kept off balance. He made a mistake over the plate and Danny got him.”

On Freeman and Uggla picking up slack in McCann/Chipper absence

“We’ve got the injuries. I talked to the club. No one person can take over. Everybody’s got to keep the line moving and contribute, make productive outs. (Runners) second and third, hit the ground ball, get the runner in, sac fly.”

On …

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First-rounder Gilmartin nearing Braves debut

First-round draft pick Sean Gilmartin is expected to make his Braves debut late next week in the Gulf Coast League, according to Braves director of player development Kurt Kemp.

Gilmartin, the Braves’ 28th overall pick in the draft out of FSU, signed for $1.134 million three weeks ago and has been building up his arm strength in Orlando after taking a six-week break from the mound. He is scheduled to throw two innings in a simulated game on Monday and two innings in his debut later in the week.

The Braves hope he can get in five or six starts before the season is out, moving up from the GCL to Single-A Rome.

Gilmartin, 6-1, 195 pounds, from Moorpark, Calif., was first-team All-ACC for Florida State. He went 12-1 with a 1.83 ERA last season to tie for the ACC lead in the wins as a junior. He struck out 122 and walked only 20 in 113 1/3 innings.

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Boscan makes touching connection with 10-year-old cancer patient

Braves backup catcher J.C. Boscan was already getting emotional just listening to 10-year-old cancer patient Lily Anderson sing the national anthem at Turner Field on Thursday night. And that was before he realized who she was.

He was standing near her mother and happened to notice she was wearing the same neon green wristband he wears on his right arm. Taking a closer look, he could make out the word “Anderson” on it, just like his.

“I’m like ‘Oh my God,’” Boscan said.

Boscan had met Lily Anderson of Cumming last season in Triple-A Gwinnett when she was invited to the dugout for autographs. Anderson, who suffers from Neuroblastoma, had given him her bracelet in return that said: “Anderson Power, pray for Lily.” He had not taken it off since.

Boscan hadn’t recognized her a year older, with a flowered bandana on her head.

Boscan waited out the extended ovation from the crowd, her emotional embrace with her mother and her conversation with Brian McCann, who …

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McLouth makes it three Braves DL’d in three days

The growing ranks of the Braves’ walking wounded were joined Friday by outfielder Nate McLouth, who went on the 15-day disabled list with a lower abdominal strain.

Injured making a throw from center field Thursday, McLouth became the third Brave and second outfielder on the DL in three days. Catcher Brian McCann (oblique strain) and center fielder Jordan Schafer (fractured finger) were DL’d on Wednesday.

Third baseman Chipper Jones returned from the DL on Monday after arthroscopic knee surgery, then hurt his right quadriceps in his first game back and has since been limited to pinch-hitting duty. Jones might return to the lineup this weekend against Florida.

“We’ll survive it,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of the spate of injuries. “We always talk about how every team goes through it. Whether it’s early in the year, late in the year, the middle of the year. I have all the confidence in our club, that we’re going to be able to survive that.”

To replace …

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Constanza shows speed in major league debut – updated

Outfielder Jose Constanza arrived at Turner Field about 5:15 p.m. Friday afternoon, just in time from a flight from Durham to get in uniform and meet the Braves on the field where they were already taking batting practice.

He had just over two hours to prepare for his first ever major league start, in center field and the leadoff spot in place of the injured Nate McLouth. The Braves hoped he’d do it just like he doesn’t about everything else on the field – in a hurry.

Martin Prado gave a one-word scouting report on Constanza, shortly after greeting him in the dugout with a hug and pleasantries Friday afternoon.

“Fast,” Prado said, looking back to several reporters as he jogged back onto the field.

Constanza showed how a few hours later, just running to first base on three groundouts in his first three major-league at-bats – none of which left the infield. But Constanza found a hole up the middle in his fourth and final at-bat and came away with his first major …

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2 days until trade deadline, will Braves make big move?

With just two days left till the trade deadline, the suspense is killing Braves Country. Hunter Pence? Carlos Quentin? Two legit candidates the Braves have targeted who quicken the pulses of at least a good portion of the fan base.

Josh Willingham? Ryan Ludwick? Two other outfield candidates the Braves have discussed, but who don’t seem to do much for the majority of fans, and can’t say I blame them.

B.J. Upton? Michael Bourn? Two dynamic talents that aren’t perfect fits for the Braves, but who are options nonetheless.

Marlon Byrd? Reed Johnson? A couple of others who might be able to help if Braves want one.

Only thing that’s wrong with Bourn, for Atlanta’s purposes, is that he hits left-handed and would cost good young talent in return, which is fine if you’re going to make a commitment to have him play center field and lead off for you in 2012 as well as the rest of this season.

If the White Sox will trade him, the Braves are interested in Carlos Quentin.

If the White Sox will trade him, the Braves are interested in Carlos Quentin.

But are …

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Braves quotes after Thursday loss to Pirates

***FREDI GONZALEZ

On Lowe after the rain delay

“You’re asking me if the delay did anything? I don’t think so. He was fine, really. His pitch count got little high, but other than that… He gave us five innings, if it wasn’t for the delay he might be going six, seven innings. We just didn’t swing the bats. We had some opportunities. They made a great play on Chipper’s ball, to turn that into a double play. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.”

Outhit them but didn’t string many hits together

“Yeah, nothing together, and they made some nice plays. I thought we hit some balls that had a chance to go out, like Heyward’s. And they didn’t. That’s the way it is sometimes.”

More on Lowe

“He competes. He gives you a chance to win every night. When you give up three runs, that’s a chance to win. And we just didn’t capitalize. They made some good plays on some of the balls, and we just didn’t capitalize on some of the other opportunities.”

Sort …

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Next for Braves: Florida Marlins

Series preview: vs Marlins

When (TV): 7:35 p.m. Friday (WPCH); 7:10 p.m. Saturday (WPCH); 1:35 p.m. Sunday (FSSO)

Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5

Probable starting pitchers:

Friday: Braves RH Brandon Beachy (3-2, 3.58 ERA) vs. RH Clay Hensley (1-2, 2.88)

Saturday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (9-7, 3.42) vs. RH Anibal Sanchez (6-3, 3.60)

Sunday: Braves RH Tommy Hanson (11-5, 3.13 ERA) vs. RH Ricky Nolasco (7-7, 4.04)

About the Braves:

• Batting: Freddie Freeman extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games Thursday night. Freeman has reached base safely in 34 of his past 38 games, going back to June 16. Dan Uggla was batting .303 with seven home runs and 14 RBIs in 24 games since June 28, including a career-high 18-game hitting streak, entering Thursday.

• Pitching: Beachy gave up two home runs in the first two innings of his last outing against the Reds but settled in for four scoreless innings and a quality start. He took a no-decision in the …

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Jones likely to miss another day or two with quad strain – updated

Chipper Jones was out of the lineup for the third straight game Thursday night – this time missing his “Bobblehead Night” – since straining his right quadriceps muscle on Monday night. He is likely to miss another day or two.

“Conservatively-speaking yes,” said Jones, who’d like to return sooner but said he’s playing it safe rather than risk it getting worse. “We can ill afford for me to go back on the DL at this point.”

After he pinch hit for the third straight game Thursday night and continued to feel improvement with treatment, it gave Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez cause to believe Jones might be able to return before the weekend series with the Marlins is out.

“We’ll keep evaluating him,” Gonzalez said. “Maybe this weekend we’ll get him in to play.”

Jones underwent an MRI on his right quadriceps muscle Thursday afternoon and said he was told he had “a little blood dispersed throughout the muscle.”

“We’ve just got to take some time to get it out of …

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