Vivlamore reporting from Florida while DOB gets a few days to recharge. We will leave his main blog up another day but here are some pregame notes before the Braves take on the Nationals this afternoon from Champion Stadium.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. –Kris Medlen doesn’t want to be a two-pitch pitcher – so he is working on his curveball.
Medlen threw “three or four” curveballs in this spring training debut Tuesday, a 5-2 loss to the Nationals at Champion Stadium. One worked in a first-inning strikeout of Ryan Zimmerman.
“I’m pretty sure he did not expect a curveball coming just because I’m mainly fastball and change-up,” Medlen said.
Medlen worked two innings and gave up three hits and an earned run, an opposite-field homer by Jayson Werth. He threw 34 pitches, 21 for strikes, and also struck out Chad Tracy.
“You can’t just coast along as a two-pitch pitcher when you throw 90 miles per hour,” Medlen said. “You have to throw a little extra in there. … Usually [catcher David Ross] can tell if my curveball is crap in the bullpen. It was breaking a little bit so we decided to work on it during the game.”
The Nationals also got to the Braves’ vaunted relievers Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters . They got a two-run double from Tracy off O’Flaherty in the third and a Mark DeRosa homer off Venters to take a 4-0 lead after four innings. Craig Kimbrel did not allow a run in his inning of work in the fifth.
The Braves (1-3) got single runs on back-to-back doubles by Brian McCann and Dan Uggla in the fourth inning and an RBI single from Matt Diaz in the sixth.
Hanson throws BP
Tommy Hanson, working his way back from a concussion, threw a second batting practice session Tuesday and he could make his spring training debut Sunday. The plan is to throw a 10-minute BP session on Thursday and then start him in place of Medlen, against the Blue Jays, according to Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.
“Hopefully if everything goes well and we don’t see any reason it shouldn’t go well,” Gonzalez said.
Hanson has not thrown from a mound since being involved in a one-car accident on Feb. 20.
Chipper still out
Chipper Jones will get a few more days to rest soreness in his thigh. The third baseman was not in the Braves lineup Tuesday against the Nationals and he is not scheduled to make the trip to Lakeland to play the Tigers on Wednesday.
“Try to get over it and ease my way back into it,” Jones said of the added time off.
Jones said he experienced soreness during the Braves’ first spring training game on Saturday. He had two at-bats, including a walk. I didn’t inform team personnel until coming out of the game.
Jones said beside rest he is doing stretching exercises.
“I’m not really concerned,” Gonzalez said. “… If it was March 15th or 18th than yes I would be. But fourth game of spring training, or miss the first week, I’m not all that concerned about it.”
Right-hander Brandon Beachy will make his spring training debut Wednesday, starting against the Tigers. The Braves also plan to work Cory Gearrin, Todd Redmond, Jairo Asencio and Erik Cordier.
The Braves are expecting a full house for Saturday’s home exhibition against the Yankees. With other events at the same time, officials are expecting 30,000 people at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.