Archive for July, 2011

Moylan to throw off mound Sunday

Peter Moylan will throw off the mound on Sunday for the first time since back surgery.

The Braves’ right-handed relief pitcher underwent surgery May 17th for a herniated disc and was expected to miss 12 weeks.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez still anticipates an end of August return for Moylan, barring any setbacks. He said Sunday’s session would consist of all fastballs and last perhaps just five minutes – but it’s an important step in the rehabilitation.

Moylan will travel with the team on 10-day road trip at begins Aug. 1. Gonzalez expects Moylan to throw three or four bullpen sessions during that trip and then hopes to have a better timetable for his return.

“When we get back he may be ready to throw some batting practice and we’ll go from there,” Gonzalez said. “… He said his back feels great. Now it’s just a matter of getting his arm in shape. We have to take our time with him. It’s almost like the first day of spring training.”

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Updated: Chipper likely out of regular lineup several days with muscle strain

Chipper Jones realizes his body is aging, but talking about injuries that are keeping him out of the lineup is really getting old.

Jones said he will likely miss the next several games in the regular lineup after straining his right quad muscle Monday in the series opener against the Pirates. It was his first game back from the disabled list after arthroscopic knee surgery on his right knee.

“I feel more frustration than anything,” the Braves 39-year-old third baseman said. “I’m tired of talking about things that are keeping me out of ball games.”

Jones said he was told the injury was a strained muscle that went into spasm. He said following the game there was a six-inch area of his thigh that was raised. Jones described the area as “pretty sore” after undergoing treatment Tuesday.

Jones will continue to get stimulation treatments on the injured area.

“I guess I will pinch hit for a couple of days until I feel like it’s manageable,” Jones said.

Manager …

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Would Braves bench Heyward if trade’s made?

The ’97 Marlins were a free agent-infused bunch that had an abundance of swagger, plenty of power and speed in their lineup (Gary Sheffield, Moises Alou, Bobby Bonilla, Devon White, Charles Johnson, Jeff Conine), a potent bench (Cliff Floyd, Jim Eisenreich), a deep starting rotation (Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, Alex Fernandez) and strong bullpen anchored by closer Robb Nen.

They also had an extremely young and talented middle-infield duo of shortstop Edgar Renteria, 21, and second baseman Luis Castillo, 20. And while they were a thrill to watch defensively, by midseason it seemed apparent that only Renteria looked fit for a pennant race with the bat.

The '97 Marlins, when Wren was assistant GM, replaced struggling young 2B Luis Castillo with Craig Counsell (above) in a July 27 trade. Counsell helped guide the Marlins to the World Series, where he scored the winning run in Game 7 on an Edgar Renteria walk-off single.

The '97 Marlins, when Wren was assistant GM, replaced struggling young 2B Luis Castillo with Craig Counsell (above) in a July 27 trade. Counsell helped guide the Marlins to the World Series, where he scored the winning run in Game 7 on an Edgar Renteria walk-off single.

When the Marlins were treading water during a 17-17 stretch, …

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Braves quotes after Monday loss to Pirates

***FREDI GONZALEZ

On the wasted scoring opportunities

“It feels like we left a small village out there We had some opportunities with people on base, and just couldn’t get the knock.”

On Hudson, other than the back-to-back walks to start 2nd inning…

“Oh, my goodness, he deserved to win the ballgame. If we get a bloop here, a ball goes through the infield with some of those people on base, some of those opportunities, we may be shaking hands right now. But that didn’t happen. The Pirates got out of some jams.”

On Nate throwing to third in second inning, behind the speedy McCutchen, allowing Alvarez to go to second….

“You can’t assume [a double play by next batter, who grounded out to third], but you minimize the damage in that situation. That put two runners in scoring position. You think with Huddy on the mound, [runners at] first and third, you get a groundball and get the double play. Whether that ground ball that [followed] to third, whether you turn it …

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Schafer has small fracture, but not DL’d

Jordan Schafer has a chip fracture in his left middle finger, but could be back in the lineup within a few days.

Braves officials decided not to place the center fielder on the 15-day disabled list after running Schafer through a battery of tests before Monday’s game against Pittsburgh, and determining that he should be able to play before much longer.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said that if Schafer weren’t hurt, he would have started Monday’s game. Schafer missed his fifth consecutive start since injuring the finger when it jammed into the base as he was stealing second during a Wednesday game at Colorado.

He’s been limited to late-innings defense since then.

“It feels a lot better,” Schafer said. I think I’ll be good in a couple of days. When I got X-rayed together they said I had a chip fracture. That’s the only thing that was bothering me. It’s nothing really serious, it’s just a matter of getting that inflammation out of there. That’s what is causing …

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Chipper content with Braves’ everyday lineup

The trade deadline looms. Speculation is rampant on whether the Braves will make a deal – perhaps for a right-handed bat, perhaps for a reliever.

Chipper Jones said Monday he sees the Braves acquiring bullpen help. However, he is just fine with the every day lineup as is.

“I don’t have a problem standing pat,” Jones said. “I think we have a really good ballclub. Obviously any team would love an injection of new blood, especially top-notch quality. To be honest, I don’t see where we are going to go out and better the ballclub every day lineup wise. You say what you want about the [Carlos] Beltrans and the [Hunter] Pences and the [Ryan] Ludwicks, people like that, but everybody in our lineup contributes to our success each and every day.

“You get us a big outfield bat, who sits? The kid (Jordan Schafer) who has come up and provided us the ability to be able to manufacture runs at the top of the lineup with speed? Do you sit him who was played outstanding defense? …

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Jones activated from disabled list, Ramirez optioned

Chipper Jones had one more person to convince that he was healthy enough to return to the Braves lineup. So, hours before the Braves hosted the Pirates on Monday, Jones was in the outfield going through several drills for head athletic trainer Jeff Porter.

He passed the final test.

The Braves activated Jones from the disabled list and he was in the starting lineup after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery July 9th. Outfielder Wilkin Ramirez was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett in the corresponding roster move.

Jones completed a two-game rehab assignment over the weekend at Class A Rome. His biggest concern was batting right-handed, which he did three times Sunday with a single, walk and RBI sacrifice fly.

“There is some other soreness that I have to get over now,” Jones said before Monday’s game. “From playing five innings [Sunday], the legs and the glutes are pretty sore today. Once I get over that initial coming back and playing nine [innings] soreness I hope I have no …

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Deadline looms, Braves’ needs come into focus

On the one hand, I can see why some would prefer the Braves stand pat and not trade away any of their pitching prospects because, as we’ve seen with recent injuries and slumps, you can never have too much pitching.

And if you’re going to trade away a top pitching prospect, I’m of the opinion that you do it for a player who can help you for more than three months. A player you can at least hope will help you in a couple of pennant races.

On the other hand, there’s the Braves’ performance against left-handed pitchers. Weak and getting weaker.

If Braves don't make big splash, they could still help improve their performance against lefties with someone like Cubs veteran outfielder Reed Johnson.

If Braves don't make big splash, they could still help improve their performance against lefties with someone like Cubs veteran outfielder Reed Johnson.

It’s hard to believe a team with the second-best record in the National League could have four lineup regulars batting .190 or lower, b ut the Braves do: Jordan Schafer (.190), Nate McLouth (.179), Jason Heyward (.159) and Dan Uggla (.140).

Think about that.

But at least Uggla …

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Video: Braves’ needs at trade deadline

CineSport’s Brian Clark and the AJC’s David O’Brien discuss the Braves’ needs ahead of Sunday’s trade deadline, and GM Frank Wren’s tight-lipped approach.

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Braves postgame quotes after Sunday’s loss to Reds

FREDI GONZALEZ

On fighting to get back in the game:

“We had them on the ropes a couple times, we just couldn’t get that big knock to get a couple of runs. I thought Beachy was terrific. We had some opportunities there later in the game. And they came up with some big pitches. This ballpark they say if you’re going to get beat, get beat opposite field. Linebrink did. Obviously with him and Phillips the ball was carrying to right field.”

On if homer was fitting end in this ballpark:

“Maybe we shouldn’t have been in that situation. If we’d scored some runs early in the game and get some add-on runs. It was a good ballgame. Lot of decision-making, lot of good pitches. Beachy first and third against Willis, he’s the pitcher but you can’t take him lightly. He made a nice pitch to get out of that inning. O’Flaherty he gets first and second, two outs in the seventh, made a helluva pitch. It was a good ballgame, it just didn’t end well.”

On the streak of …

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