Archive for August, 2011

Braves quotes after Wednesday win over Nationals

***CRAIG KIMBREL

Good to be able to get record 41st save in front of home crowd?

“Oh, definitely. When those two games in New York got cancelled, I started thinking it would be pretty cool to be able to get it at home.”

Record hit you yet?

“No, I’m just going out there each time trying to do my job, trying not to think about what I’ve done in the past or what’s ahead of me. I’m just thinking about outing by outing.”

On two strikeouts in perfect ninth for the save

“I would have been fine with three groundouts or three pop-outs. I guess it is pretty cool to do it on strikeouts.”

On relief of getting the record

“Now I don’t have to think about it, or how many more.”

“I have to thank my team for playing so well this season, because you can’t really have this many opportunities on a team that doesn’t win. Hopefully we keep on winning.”

***DEREK LOWE

On hitting and homer and taking a two-hit shutout to 7th inning

“I’ll …

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Braves acquire Wilson for middle infield

After trading for outfielder Matt Diaz Wednesday morning, adding a right-handed bat off the bench, the Braves acquired shortstop Jack Wilson from Seattle Wednesday night to shore up their middle infield.

They’d been looking for a solid backup for Alex Gonzalez at short and Dan Uggla at second, and they got a 33-year-old veteran and former All-Star for the Pirates. The Braves acquired Wilson along with cash considerations for a player to be named.

Wilson is on the disabled list with a bruised heel but has been cleared by doctors to play when he’s eligible on Saturday. Braves general manager Frank Wren had his special assistant Dick Balderson in Seattle Wednesday to watch Wilson go through his pre-game work and said he looked fine.

Wilson will be eligible for postseason play by virtue of being on the Braves roster as a disabled player before midnight Wednesday night. Since they won’t activate him until later in the week the Braves don’t have to make a corresponding move …

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Moylan passes back-to-back test

Braves reliever Peter Moylan passed the biggest test of his minor league rehabilitation assignment Wednesday night when he completed his first back-to-back appearance for Triple-A Gwinnett. Moylan pitched a scoreless inning in Norfolk, allowing one walk, one night after striking out all three batters he faced Tuesday night in Durham.

Moylan is scheduled to pitch one more time for Gwinnett on Saturday and if all goes well, he’ll return from the disabled list when the Braves open their series in Philadelphia on Monday.

Moylan has been out since April 15, before undergoing surgery for a herniated disc on May 17. He’s maintained that his back has given him no issues throughout his recovery, and he has the numbers to prove it. Moylan has thrown six scoreless innings with five walks and seven strikeouts, allowing only two hits.

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Salazar to join Braves September call-ups

Lynchburg manager Luis Salazar will be among the minor league coaches the Braves reward with a September call-up. He’ll get the sentimental vote, after all he’s been through since losing his left eye in a spring training accident, but that’s not why the decision was made.

“When we looked at the guys that who were deserving, he was one of them,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “He’s done a terrific job with that team.”

Salazar, who was hit by a Brian McCann foul ball in spring training, underwent multiple surgeries but joined Single-A Lynchburg by its home opener and has managed the Hillcats throughout the season. They were 58-74 entering Wednesday but he’s guided the development of multiple top prospects from the 2010 draft.

Salazar will join the Atlanta Braves once Lynchburg’s season ends on Sept. 5 and remain with the club for a week. Typically the Braves rotate minor league coaches for one week each in September.

The Braves haven’t announced …

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Braves place Sherrill on 15-day DL

To make room for Matt Diaz on the 25-man roster, the Braves placed left-handed reliever George Sherrill on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Sherrill has been nursing the injury for several weeks.

Sherrill has pitched only 1 1/3 innings in the past 2 ½ weeks. He hasn’t pitched since Friday in New York, which means he’ll be eligible to return Sunday, Sept. 11 in St. Louis.

“He just needs to rest it and get over it so we can have him the second half of September and hopefully in the postseason,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said.

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Braves still open to a second deal before midnight deadline

After trading for outfielder Matt Diaz Wednesday morning, adding a right-handed bat off the bench, the Braves continued to pursue one more piece heading into the midnight deadline to add players to their system in time to be eligible for the postseason roster.

“I think there’s one more area we’d like to address,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said Wednesday afternoon. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to.”

Wren did not want to get into specifics, but the only significant piece left on their wish list was a backup middle infielder. The Braves were in on discussions early in the day with the Dodgers about infielder Jamey Carroll but the Dodgers were either reluctant to trade him or asking too much.

The Braves upgraded their center field and leadoff spot at the non-waiver trade deadline July 31 with the acquisition of Michael Bourn. They took care of their right-handed relief needs by calling up Arodys Vizcaino and are poised to bring back Peter Moylan from the …

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Diaz returns, maybe can help Braves beat nemesis Nats

The Braves are so desperate to beat the Nationals tonight and avoid a series loss, they traded for old friend Matt Diaz and made sure he’d be here in time to face lefty John Lannan.

Matt Diaz, one of the most popular Braves during his previous stint with the team, is back after less than a season in Pittsburgh.

Matt Diaz, one of the most popular Braves during his previous stint with the team, is back after less than a season in Pittsburgh.

OK, so tonight’s matchup with Lannan wasn’t why they traded for Diaz, but lefties are in general. And maybe he can help them win a game or two against the Nats, who’ve beaten the Braves an astounding 21 times in the past 35 matchups.

Though his numbers have slipped again this season — .259 with no homers, ..303 OBP, .324 slugging percentage — Diaz is still hitting a a solid .295/.342/.362 in 105 at-bats against lefties. He’s 12-for-30 (.400) in his career against Lannan.

The Braves rank dead last in the National League in average (.227) and OBP (.296) against left-handers.

Atlanta pinch-hitters are also 12th in the NL with a .196 average, though they lead the …

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Braves bring back popular OF Diaz (updated story)

When outfielder Matt Diaz walked into the Braves clubhouse  at 4:18 p.m. on Wednesday, it seemed as if he’d never left. Only the Pirates equipment bag he was lugging looked out of place.

The Braves re-acquired  the popular outfielder from Pittsburgh on  Wednesday in a trade for a player to be named. The Pirates also gave the Braves an undisclosed amount of cash to cover a portion of Diaz’s $2 million salary in 2012.

“I couldn’t sleep much last night, thinking about what it would be,” said Diaz, who was told Tuesday night he would likely be traded, but not which team he might be going to.  “Then at 10:30 this morning — Central Standard Time — I got the best news I could have imagined. I got on a plane within an hour-and-a-half, I think.”

He gives the Braves a right-handed bat off the bench to complement left-handed hitter Eric Hinske, and Diaz will also get some starts against lefties. He was immediately inserted in the lineup against Washington lefty John …

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Braves postgame quotes following Tuesday’s loss to Nats

JAIR JURRJENS

On if layoff hurt:

“Not really. I left a lot of pitches up and down the middle. Those things are excuses. You still need to go out there and perform, and I didn’t perform today.”

On if concerned about homers:

“Not really. I just need to fix some things in my mechanics and I’ll be fine.”

On if this start was similar to those since the break:

“Yeah. When you’re going good, everything is falling into place, and when you’re going bad, even you make a good pitch, you get hit, and when you make a bad pitch, they hit it. Just a tough time right now. Keep working, keeping doing what I can do to go out there and try to perform, and hope for the best.”

On struggles with his slider:

“My slider was awful today, slower, a bigger break. I was leaving it in the middle. I think I was trying to get a feel for it, and I didn’t get it, and things slowed down and tried to throw it for a strike and left it up.”

On if push leg is strong since DL:

“Yeah, the …

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Gilmartin among 7 Braves prospects headed to Fall League

Seven Braves are headed to the Arizona Fall League, announced on Tuesday, and none of them include the Braves big minor league guns: Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino and Randall Delgado. Those three have worked plenty of innings this season and will all be busy with the Atlanta Braves during the stretch run.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez confirmed Tuesday either Teheran or Delgado would make the start in the Braves’ Sept. 8 doubleheader against the Mets. He said the Braves will make their September call-ups in stages, so as not to leave the Triple-A Gwinnett roster bare during its playoff run.

Among those invited to the prestigious Fall League include this year first-round draft pick left-hander Sean Gilmartin, right-handers Billy Bullock, Erik Cordier and J.J. Hoover, catcher Christian Bethancourt, second baseman Phil Gosselin and outfielder Todd Cunningham.

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