Archive for August, 2011

Heyward gets start vs. Hernandez

Jason Heyward was back in the lineup for the third time in four games for the Braves, as manager Fredi Gonzalez said he’ll play that decision according to match-ups and hunches.

Heyward was 4-for-15 in his career against Tuesday night’s Nationals starter Livan Hernandez with seven walks, two homers and a double. Jose Constanza was 1-for-2 against Hernandez.

“(You) try to match up and try to play them both,” Gonzalez said. “I think Jason, you see some games where you see that swing improve and you don’t want to sit him out for three or four games in a row.”

Heyward went 3-for-4 with a grand slam Tuesday in Chicago.

Gonzalez said Constanza will return to the lineup Wednesday night against left-hander John Lannan.

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Minor available in bullpen for two days

With the three-day layoff from Hurricane Irene and Monday’s scheduled off day, the Braves Mike Minor will have a 10-day break between starts when he returns to the mound Saturday against the Dodgers. As the fifth starter, he’s getting the longest layoff between starts.

The Braves considered sending Minor to the minor leagues for one tune-up start, but the Braves’ only minor league affiliate whose season ended in time to get Minor back on the major league roster by Saturday without the 10-day holdover was the rookie league Danville team. And the Braves couldn’t send Minor there by virtue of his accumulated service time.

So Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Minor would be available in the bullpen Tuesday and Wednesday nights against the Nationals and might get some work in there.

Brandon Beachy will be pitching on seven days’ rest when he faces the Dodgers on Friday. He plans to throw an extra bullpen between starts but said it won’t be an issue.

Beachy has thrown 114 1/3 …

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Andrews calls Hanson’s shoulder problem normal wear and tear

Tommy Hanson came away from a visit with Dr. James Andrews encouraged about the state of his right shoulder and was cleared to begin rehabbing again. He’s has no timetable on a possible return, but Hanson said he could begin some light throwing in a matter of a few days.

A dye-contrasted MRI taken on Friday showed that Hanson has a small “undersurface” rotator cuff tear, which typically doesn’t require surgery. Hanson said Andrews just called it normal wear and tear for a pitcher when Hanson visited him in his Pensacola, Fla. office on Monday.

“Andrews said there are a lot of guys that are way worse off than me,” said Hanson, who was told by Braves orthopedic surgeon Xavier Duralde that 75 percent of pitchers have something similar. “Just hearing it’s normal wear and tear (that) just for whatever reason got inflamed definitely gives me some peace of mind and I’m a lot happier after seeing (Andrews) than I was over the weekend.”

Hanson last pitched on Aug. 6 against the Mets …

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Look who’s back? It’s Braves vs. (G)Nats

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

Well, well, well. We have baseball again today! What a weird stretch, three days away for the Braves because of Hurricane Irene – their own little All-Star break take two, to break up the dog days. So looking back, now, can it be a good thing? (For the players, I mean. I know you natives are restless!)

Extra rest for the Braves rotation over a four-day (and real) All-Star break seemed to mess the Braves rotation up

Jurrjens returns to mound tonight

Jurrjens returns to mound tonight

for a few weeks afterward, with the exception of Tim Hudson. But now it’s only an extra day or two of rest for Jair Jurrjens, Derek Lowe and Hudson. Brandon Beachy (seven days rest) and Mike Minor (10 days rest) will have some challenges with rust this weekend vs. the Dodgers, but the Braves are going to try to get them some work in, maybe a simulated game.

This was also a chance to recharge and rest up for guys who’ve been battling some injuries of late like …

Continue reading Look who’s back? It’s Braves vs. (G)Nats »

Next for Braves: Washington Nationals

Series preview: vs Nats

When (TV): 7:10 p.m. Tuesday (WPCH); 7:10 p.m. Wednesday (WPCH); 7:10 p.m. Thursday (FSSO)

Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5

Probable starting pitchers:

Tuesday: Braves RH Jair Jurrjens (13-5, 2.71 ERA) vs. RH Livan Hernandez (7-12, 4.36)

Wednesday: Braves LH Derek Lowe (8-12, 4.63) vs. LH John Lannan (8-10, 3.59)

Thursday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (13-8, 3.10 ERA) vs. RH Chien-Ming Wang (2-2, 3.82)

About the Braves:

• Batting: Chipper Jones went 5-for-15 (.333) with a home run on the Braves’ five-game road trip and is hitting .386 with four homers and 11 RBIs in August. He is 8-for-24 (.333) vs. the Nats this season but hasn’t faced them the past two series because of knee surgery and quadriceps soreness. Brian McCann broke up an 0-for-15 stretch with two homers in the Braves last game in Chicago, an 8-3 win.

• Pitching: Jurrjens is pitching on three extra days’ rest after the Hurricane Irene layoff. He is coming off 6 1/3 shutout innings against the …

Continue reading Next for Braves: Washington Nationals »

Will Braves sign Bourn to big extension? Should they?

The Braves had been looking for a dynamic leadoff man since Rafael Furcal left after the 2005 season, and they had lacked a superb center fielder (who could stay healthy) since Andruw Jones left a couple of years later.

Bourn, a two-time Gold Glove winner, has made a few brilliant plays in center field since being traded to the Braves on July 31.

Bourn, a two-time Gold Glove winner, has made a few brilliant plays in center field since being traded to the Braves on July 31.

In Michael Bourn, they have both Furcal and Andruw. And have neither of them. Because while he brings some of the best attributes of those two, including strong defense and big-time disruption on the bases, he is also unlike either of them in other ways.

With Bourn eligible for free agency after the 2012 season, the question becomes: What is he worth? And probably more importantly, what will his agent, Scott Boras, think he’s worth? (We can assume the Boras initial asking price will be a deal of at least five years with an annual salary far higher than any team thinks he’s worth, then go from there.)

Bourn is making $4.4 million this …

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Braves set rotation after unusual break

After an unsually long and idle weekend caused by Hurricane Irene, Braves manager Fredi Gonazlez had a chance to re-set his pitching rotation for the final month and lined up his three veteran pitchers against the Nationals.

Jair Jurrjens will pitch the opener of the series on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. against the Washington Nationals. Following Jurrjens will be Derek Lowe on Wednesday and Tim Hudson on Thursday.

When the Los Angeles Dodgers come to town for a three-game weekend series, the Braves will start Brandon Beachy on Friday and Mike Minor on Saturday. Jurrjens will finish out that series Sunday before the Braves travel to Philadelphia.

Barring further injury or bad weather, the rotation would be set for Lowe-Hudson-Beachy against the Phillies.

This way the Braves’ most veteran pitchers can pitch on as close to normal rest as possible, while rookies Beachy and Minor might work in a simulated game or possibly a minor league outing to stay sharp.

Jurrjens, who was originally …

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Braves quotes after Friday loss to Mets

***DAN UGGLA

On Capuano, you seen him that good before?

“Oh, yeah. If you look at my numbers against him, he’s that good all the time. No, but that’s the first time I’ve seen him like that since he’s come back. His fastball was better and he was moving it in and out along with his changeup. He made his pitches, and when a guy like that that’s got a plus pitch – his changeup is a plus-plus pitch – and he made ‘em. There’s very little you can do.”

“He’s battled and battled over the last couple of years and worked his butt off to get back to this point. I heard that he’s had some rough outings over the last four or five starts, but sometimes you’ve got to go through that to find it again. Everybody always says, it’s gets worse before it gets better.”

“But he did, he looked great. Looked like the Capuano I saw when I first came into the league.”

“He was around 88-90 [mph] all night tonight, and his two-seamer had a lot of life to it. He threw me a couple late in the count that …

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Hurricane postponement creates hectic Friday for Braves

NEW YORK – Hurricane Irene reduced the Braves’ three-game weekend series with the Mets to just one game Friday, and created a  strange and hectic day for Braves players and coaches.

The Saturday and Sunday games were postponed because of the storm approaching the New York area, and will be made up as Sept. 8 doubleheader at Citi Field that will start at 4:10 p.m. The Braves will squeeze that in between road series at Philadelphia Sept. 5-7 and St. Louis Sept. 9-11.

“You just go with the punches and play it,” Braves second baseman said. “That’s the way it’s going to be. It’s not the first time we’ve done it before. Not that big a deal. We’re going to have September callups then, so we’ll be able to stay fresh – hopefully.”

But having the next three days off – including Monday’s open date – was not what the Braves preferred. Not after winning 15 of their past 20 games before Friday, including three of four in a series against the Cubs in Chicago to begin the …

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Sore-shouldered Hanson has tear in rotator cuff

NEW YORK – Tommy Hanson had another MRI on his sore shoulder Friday, after which he and Braves heard words no pitcher wants to hear: tear in the rotator cuff.

The Braves, however, said the specific type of injury that Hanson has – a small undersurface rotator cuff tear – usually doesn’t require surgery, and general manager Frank Wren said the team remained hopeful that Hanson “can return in the next few weeks.”

But with just 30 games left in the regular season, it’s uncertain if there’s enough time left for Hanson to make it back even if he has no further setbacks. He’s been on the disabled list nearly three weeks and hasn’t pitched since Aug. 6.

Two other words that raise red flags when it comes to pitchers’ injuries:  James Andrews. The renowned orthopedic surgeon will meet with Hanson on Monday at Andrews’ clinic in Pensacola, Fla. Andrews will presumably look over the MRI and give his recommendation.

Hanson has been on the disabled list since Aug. 7 with what had been …

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