Archive for January, 2012

Braves sign backup SS Wilson to 1-year deal – updated

With the Braves prepared to turn over the shortstop position to a rookie with no major league experience in Tyler Pastornicky, they wanted a veteran to back him up. They filled that need Friday when they signed Jack Wilson to a one-year $1 million deal, with an additional $500,000 in incentives.

Wilson, 34, returns to the Braves after coming to them in a trade from Seattle last August 31. He said he’s glad to have a chance to make a few amends, both team-wise and personally after hitting .220 (9-for-41) with one double and one RBI in 17 games in September.

“It’s always nice, especially when a team trades for you, and they call back,” Wilson said Friday. “I really didn’t perform like I wanted, so this gives me a chance to come back and have a better year for the team and to be the guy they envisioned when they traded for me.”

Wilson was acquired last year to give the Braves a better option than Julio Lugo to back up Alex Gonzalez down the stretch. Now that Gonzalez is gone (he …

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Bout time? Q and A with Braves third baseman Chipper Jones

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

It’s a little less than six weeks from when Braves pitchers and catchers report for spring training on Feb. 19, and I haven’t bugged Chipper Jones all offseason. What’s up with that?

Well let’s say that’s remedied here in a wide-ranging conversation with the veteran third baseman, who just got back from a hunting trip to New Mexico and plans to start into his usual routine of hitting at Turner Field next week.

Chipper taking in a Hawks game Dec. 28

Chipper taking in a Hawks game Dec. 28

Candid as ever, Jones shared his thoughts on everything from when he might make a decision on retirement and how the game is more difficult for him now, to the state of the team, how he’ll feel if the Braves go into spring training with this roster largely as is and his impressions of new hitting coach Greg Walker.

Without further adieu, excerpts from that interview:

Q. How are your knees?

A. Everything is pretty good. I’ve been working out for a month, month and a half. …

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Braves praise new Hall-of-Famer Larkin

The Braves are still two years away from beginning their big push to Cooperstown, but two of those likely bound for that 2014 Hall-of-Fame Class – former Braves manager Bobby Cox and pitcher Tom Glavine – gave rave reviews for the newest member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame: Barry Larkin.

The former Reds shortstop appeared on 86 percent of the ballots, well above the 75 percent required by the Baseball Writers Association, earning entrance in his third year eligible. The announcement was made Monday.

Larkin will be inducted July 22 along with the late Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, who was voted in by the “Golden Age” Committee, Frick Award winner broadcaster Tim McCarver and Spink award winner Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun.

“To me, Barry Larkin was a dream player,’” Cox said in a collection of statements released by the Reds Monday afternoon. “He was an outstanding leader who had great physical skills. When you look at his all-around talent and ability in the field, at the plate …

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“Murph” surprised by low Hall of Fame votes, still hopeful

Braves icon Dale Murphy knows that time has nearly run out on him to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by writers. After this one there will be just one more year on the ballot for “Murph,” who admits being surprised by the low percentage of votes he’s received in the past 13 years.

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Despite being a two-time MVP in the 1980s, Dale Murphy has received fewer than 25 of Hall of Fame votes in each of his first 13 years on the ballot.

With the 2012 HOF class to be announced Monday by the Baseball Writers Association of America, Murphy said he thinks he belongs in Cooperstown and remains hopeful of enshrinement. Fifteen years is the maximum on the writers’ ballot, but there’s always the Veterans Committee if he’s not voted in by writers. (It would require an unprecedented one- or two-year increase in votes for him to make it in via the BBWAA ballot.)

The reasons most often cited by writers for leaving out Murphy were his .265 career batting average and …

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Memorial for Kathy Porter, wife of Braves trainer

In lieu of flowers, the family of the late Kathy Porter has requested contributions be made to Children’s Health Care of Atlanta or First Baptist Church of Loganville.

Porter, the wife of Braves head athletic trainer Jeff Porter, was killed in an automobile accident Saturday when the sport utility vehicle that Jeff was driving was struck by a Georgia State Patrol cruiser at the intersection of Capitol Avenue and Memorial Drive, only blocks from Turner Field. She was 54.

Jeff Porter, son David Porter, 19, and a friend, Courtney Ann Williams, 18, also sustained injuries in the crash. They were treated and released from Grady Memorial Hospital on Saturday. The four were on their way to the Chik-Fil-A Bowl at the Georgia Dome.

Trooper First Class Donald Crozier, a 10-year veteran, was en route to assist in a chase on nearby Interstate 20 when he struck the SUV. Crozier was also treated and released from Grady on Saturday.

A Georgia State Patrol spokesman said the agency’s …

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New year, same question: Will Braves deal?

Back from a week’s vacation, and obviously didn’t miss a thing regarding Braves personnel moves. Or even rumors of such moves, other than one that linked them to infielder Ryan Theriot, which surprised me and which I still question.

It's 2012, and Martin Prado remains a Brave. It's uncertain if he'll be traded before opening day.

It's 2012, and Martin Prado remains a Brave. It's uncertain if he'll be traded before opening day.

Before we go any further, I’ll note that the unsinkable Seth Smith trade possibility, the rumor that refuses to die, is indeed still alive.

The Braves would still like to get the corner outfielder from Colorado, but the Rockies are going to have to include at least a good center-field prospect (Tim Wheeler is one they like) along with Smith in any package for Martin Prado, and probably at least two or three prospects with Smith in a deal for Jurrjens.

In addition to his .287 average, .347 OBP, 56 extra-base hits and 15 home runs in 2011, another point the Braves like about Smith is that he’s first-time arbitration-eligible and will make below $3 …

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