Signs point to Hanson as opening day starter

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — While the Braves still haven’t announced their opening day starter, signs now point to Tommy Hanson as the man who could get the assignment.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez rearranged the rotation order after the Braves’ day off Monday, and Hanson will make his last spring-training start Saturday against Detroit. That would put him on pace –on  regular four days’ rest — to start the April 5 season opener against the Mets in New York.

Brandon Beachy will start Wednesday’s Grapefruit League game against the Yankees, followed by Mike Minor on Thursday, and Randall Delgado and Jair Jurrjens in split-squad games Friday against Houston.

Indications are Delgado has won the fifth-starter battle with fellow prospect Julio Teheran, who missed a start with a sore shoulder and is scheduled to make his last exhibition start Sunday.

The way that the rotation is laid out, it seems likely Jurrjens will start the second game of the season April 7 at New York. If Minor starts game 3, and Brandon Beachy starts the fourth game April 9, Hanson could pitch the fifth game April 10 on regular rest before the Braves would need their No. 5 starter for the first time April 11.

Hudson to pitch Monday

Delgado would probably make only three or four fill-in starts in April before veteran Tim Hudson’s expected return in the final week of the month.  Hudson is recovering from back surgery and is scheduled to pitch two innings on Monday against the Mets in the Braves’ final Florida exhibition game before they break camp and head north.

It will be the first game action for Hudson since his Nov. 28 surgery.

Fish headed to Dr. Andrews

Left-hander Robert Fish will see Dr. James Andrews next week for a second opinion on his sore pitching elbow.

A Rule 5 draft pick from the Los Angels Angels in December, Fish was scored upon in two of three appearances this spring before being shut down two weeks ago due to soreness.

If Fish does not go on the disabled list to begin the season, the Braves must either carry him for the entire season on the 25-man roster or offer him back to the Angels for $25,000, half the original claiming price paid by the Braves.

But if he goes on the DL, that 25-man roster rule wouldn’t apply until he’s activated

Braves’ bats coming around

It wasn’t all Freddie Freeman (two homers) on Tuesday for the Braves, who built a 4-0 lead on Eric Hinske’s RBI double in the first inning and a a three-run homer from Michael Bourn in the second.

The Braves are 8-4-2 since their 1-10-1 start to the spring, and they’ve scored five or more runs seven times in their past 14 games after scoring three or fewer runs nine times in their first 12.

“The last [two weeks] we’ve seen our guys get better and better at-bats, more aggressive,” said Gonzalez, who also praised at-bats Sunday by Jason Heyward and Drew Sutton, who had two hits as he continued his push for a roster spot as a utility player.

Rough day for Gearrin

Cory Gearrin’s excellent spring hit a rough patch Tuesday when the rookie sidearmer’s control went awry in the fifth inning.

The sidearmer put himself in contention for one of the final bullpen spots, but on Tuesday he faced five batters and gave up two walks, two wild pitches, a single and two sacrifice flies. Twice he had batters in 0-2 counts and threw wild pitches when he tried to strike them out with sliders instead of getting double-play grounders, his strength.

After giving up only six hits and one unearned run in 9-1/3 innings in his first eight appearances, he was charged with two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning against the Mets. One other run that scored against him was charged to starter Buddy Carlyle.

“I know what happened,”  Gearrin said. “That’s the most important thing for me is to continue to grow as a pitcher and continue to pitch. Coming off an off day, I kind of got the juices going a little bit [flexes to demonstrate]. Just one of those days. I need to just stay within myself and make pitches instead of trying to overdo it a little bit on those 0-2s.

“But I feel good. Everything felt healthy, felt strong. Next time out just go back out and do what I’ve been doing.”

Gonzalez said of Gearrin: “Great spring so far. He just got a little ahead of himself and walked two guys. No matter if it’s a spring training game or an A-ball game, you walk guys, you’re asking for trouble. I thought [Yohan] Flande did a helluva job really, coming in to face those left-handers. I think he gave up a 1-2 base hit to … He still gives you a nice feel if you want to go three left-handers in the bullpen. He’s been nails.”

The lefty Flande replaced Gearrin and induced a groundball to get out of the fifth inning, then struck out three of four batters in the sixth. Flande and Jairo Asencio are also competing for one of the final two bullpen spots.

Asencio gave up a run on three singles and a bases-loaded walk in the ninth, then struck out Josh Thole and and coaxed a flyball to end the game with potential tying and winning runs on base.

“I think he’s done that a few times,” Gonzalez said of Asencio, who’s worked into and out of several jams this spring. “He’s got plenty of pitches. You saw him pretty much take care of Thole, which for me was a dangerous [batter], because he’s going to put the ball in play. For him to strike out there, that’s telling you he’s got pretty good stuff.”

Etc.

The Brave had relievers Craig Kimbrel and Christian Martinez get their work in a minor league game Tuesday instead of facing the Mets. Against the Nationals’  high-A team, Kimbrel allowed two walks and no hits in a scoreless inning and Martinez allowed two hits and two runs (one earned) in two innings.

36 comments Add your comment

TheOnlyBravesFan

March 27th, 2012
8:07 pm

Hanson deserves it out of who we have available. Can’t argue with that. 1st

ace

March 27th, 2012
8:08 pm

gotigers72

March 27th, 2012
8:08 pm

Happy to see Big Red as the Opening Day starter. Some day that will be a regular job for him. As the ace of whatever team he is playing for [somewhere in SoCal would be my guess, unless Liberty is no longer the Braves' owners, effn' cheapskates], he will get that call every year.

bulldozer

March 27th, 2012
8:53 pm

Enter your comments here

bulldozer

March 27th, 2012
8:53 pm

John

March 27th, 2012
8:56 pm

DOB-any news on what the Braves Future Stars roster may be?

Bla Bla Bla

March 27th, 2012
9:12 pm

i know this wasn’t discussed, but if simmons ends up prevailing over pastornicky, then the braves have serious decision-making flaws

Justin

March 27th, 2012
11:34 pm

@BlaBlaBla, what has Pastornicky done to convince you he should start over the defensively (far) superior Simmons? They’re hitting about the same (.220 vs .205) and Simmons actually has a better OBP and Slug than Pastor. I’d take the better defense/range/arm any day when offensive stats are a wash.

TomahawkChoppin'

March 27th, 2012
11:40 pm

I wouldn’t mind seeing the Braves carry a third lefty because there are a lot of lefthanded sluggers in the East. It would be nice to have a situational lefty to use instead of burning O’Flaherty or Venters early in the game. Still wish Medlen would be considered for a rotation spot, and I’m definitely not counting out a mid May switch to the rotation. Meds is lights out.

Good to see the sticks come around the past 10 or 14 days. Sure hope we can keep Bourn because he is such a good fit at the top of the lineup. Now with Chipper’s money freed up after this year, we should have money to give Mac a new contract and resign Bourn as well. It doesn’t leave much money on the table to go after a star left fielder, but keeping those two pieces is more important than getting a name for left.

I still see a trade deadline deal sending away one of our young pitchers, but that is fine with me as long as we get a great return and a young pitcher or two. Trading away one of these pitchers isn’t going to hurt the staff.

Sure hope Huddy can hop back into the rotation without any rust. If he can come in and keep it rolling the staff will be strong. Back surgery cannot be easy to recover from. He provides leadership to a young staff, and may be counted on to eat innings a la D Lowe. Even though Huddy is better than an inning eater. See ya D Lowe, glad someone was willing to have you.

All in all, looking forward to an exciting season of Atlanta Braves baseball. I know we have the talent to reach the playoffs, but can we put it together between the lines. I know come September 30th I will be there to see my favorite player ride off into the sunset. A tear or two will definitely be shed, but here’s hoping that September 30th game will not be the last for Chipper. Playoffs will give the city of Atlanta a few more opportunities to see a great ballplayer.

Go BRAVES!
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHOOOOOHHHHOOOO

JNick

March 27th, 2012
11:45 pm

I’m all for Simmons starting…he at least shows offensive potential – won a batting title in low minors…

Brandon

March 27th, 2012
11:47 pm

Personally i would choose pastornicky over simmons at this point as well. In Rev’s last 10 games, he is batting .345 Simmons is batting .176 in his last 10 games. Although we only have a short sample to go off of, pastornicky looks like he has settled in and is relaxed. He has also proven that he can hit at the AAA level while simmons has never played above single A. Simmons is definitely the better defender, but pastornicky is solid. I think pastornicky is better right now. However, maybe halfway through the season, if simmons develops more experience in AA or AAA, i think he will be the better option. I don’t think that atlanta should rush simmons

Pee Wee Coach

March 27th, 2012
11:57 pm

I know I’m not qualified to make major league decisions, but if it were based on the way we do it in the pee wee leagues, I would find out how good an outfielder Freeman could be during the spring, work McCann out at 1st, plug Prado in at 3rd in Chipper’s absence and start D. Ross at catcher, because he is far superior defensively than McCann. What that does for you is give you the bat in LF we’re missing in Freeman, keeps BMac in the cleanup spot playing a less demanding position, gets a good catcher behind the plate to call the games for our above average staff, and fills the hole left by Chipper’s injury most adequately with an all star in Prado. Of course when Chipper returns, it’s back to normal with Prado in left and Freeman at 1st and D.Ross coming off the bench and catching every 5th day with Hudson.

Bourne CF
Prado 3B
Uggla 2B
McCann 1B
Freeman LF
Heyward RF
Ross C
Simmons SS
Pitcher.

If 3 straight lefties in the 4,5,6 worries you, Freeman or Heyward can be inserted in the 3 hole with Uggla in the cleanup spot.

That’s how we do it in the Pee Wee leagues….but then again, in the pee wee lineup we are pitching Heyward and Freeman and Simmons every chance we get.

JNick

March 27th, 2012
11:59 pm

@Tomahawk, Agree with just about everything you said – except the comment about Lowe eating innings. Lowe was a nightmare to the bullpen – he was lucky to make it 5 innings in most of his starts…but yes, good riddance.

TomahawkChoppin'

March 28th, 2012
12:04 am

J he definitely didnt eat many innings, but that was one of his strong points when we signed him, but he never lived up to it

Puma

March 28th, 2012
7:53 am

Some good thinking Pee Wee Coach!

bill

March 28th, 2012
8:18 am

I like a little out of the box thinking. However the Braves do not will not and can not think outside the box. Fredi cannopt find the box.

Hugo

March 28th, 2012
8:25 am

Haven’t seen Simmons name on the roster. Has he been demoted? A shame if so.

DePort

March 28th, 2012
8:34 am

Sooo now everyone is worried about McCanns defense… Last time I checked… I would much rather have the best hitting catcher in the league than the best defensive catcher… how many times does a catchers defensive plays determine the outcome of the game?

The Bravenator

March 28th, 2012
8:38 am

All bravado notwithstanding, Wren is betting on the come and trying to hit a double trifecta. IF Heyward shows up and Uggla rebounds….IF a platoon of career bench players can hold down left field….IF Chipper plays 100 games….IF a rookie SS at least provides defense….IF sore arm disease stays away….IF Fredi has magically learned how not to burn up a bullpen….IF, IF, IF….THEN the Braves are a team to like for the post-season. Too many IFS and not enough budget. New ownership is a must if the Braves are to recapture past glory.

alanfalcon

March 28th, 2012
9:02 am

Wake up guys, Simmons is not ready and your call for him to start is pre-mature at the least. The Braves plan to start the Pastor is a smart move espically as he has progress here toward the end of ST and we have Jack Wilson and Drew Sutton as back ups..
Simmons needs more seasoning and a chance to move up sucessfully into AA and AAA instead of having to much pressure put on him and failing ( its called growing into the position) he has the tools now give him the time !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ……………………………………………

Fog

March 28th, 2012
9:11 am

I think it is best for us fans to sit back and watch for at least most of the first half. The team is starting to play pretty good baseball now in the later stages of ST. Chipper’s surgery is a concern depending on how he returns. Wasn’t expecting more than 120 games from him this year. Let’s give Fredi, staff and team some time to see if moves need to be made. We definitely have IFs, but so does every other team, especially in our division.

Mark's for the Braves

March 28th, 2012
9:32 am

Glad Hanson got the start! It is really going to be interesting to see if the Braves sign Hanson whose contract is up after this year, I believe. Will the Braves use their freed up cash to sign him in 13?

Nick

March 28th, 2012
9:39 am

Have you seen Freddie run? He would be lost in LF and you would give up too much defensively at first base, which will be important with a rookie short stop and Prado at 3rd rather than Chipper. I personally like the idea of going out and getting a cheap LF, maybe Johny Damon who can help out in LF.

cutty

March 28th, 2012
9:40 am

“How many times does a catchers defense determine a games outcome?” Seldom in slowpitch,hundreds of times a game in the higher levels of baseball, Organizations that constantly hoist pennants have figured that out. Maybe you should fill out a job application next time you’re at the stadium- you’re definately on the same page with the brass.

Richie

March 28th, 2012
10:48 am

I like the direction of Tommy Hanson’s motion & delivery to the mound. Still has a ways to go however his delivery is getting bet

Eddie Matthews' Ghost

March 28th, 2012
11:55 am

Fish hurt. YET another Braves pitcher with a bum elbow. What the heck is it with all these hurt arms and the Braves? They continue year after year to have pitchers with arm problems. I am surprised that Chipper has survived without blowing his out. Oh, wait, he has to catch a ball to be able to throw it. So, since he does not catch many, his arm is fresh.

Fastball

March 28th, 2012
12:17 pm

Chipper returns as player/manager

bobby cerasuolo

March 28th, 2012
12:35 pm

Did the Braves sign Jack Cust bc I read where a NL team signed him and I am hoping he did sign with the team

jek

March 28th, 2012
12:42 pm

Here is an interesting and perhaps optimistic thought–although the Braves have known and unprovided for weaknesses that they have done nothing to address, the fact that theMarlins and Nationals have improved means that the NL East will be more competitive overall. These teams will beat the Phillies more often and may drag each other to the middle where we are likely to find the Braves. No playoffs for the Braves since the wild card team will come from the NL Central, but maybe it will be a more interesting season than we might expect.

Bravo

March 28th, 2012
12:50 pm

I think our pitching will be decent this year as usual. It’s the lack of offense that’s the issue… and if Heyward has a similar season to 2011, we’ll end up 4th in the division.

Heisenberg

March 28th, 2012
1:00 pm

Uggla needs to bat 4th. His numbers are better there than other spots in the lineup. FF or BMac can hold #3 until Chipper returns.

STRETCH

March 28th, 2012
1:35 pm

Cust signed with the Yankees~!

Fats OKelly

March 28th, 2012
6:23 pm

Forget Bones Jones……………..Dude needs to protect his knees for his family . Nuts for him coming back. What if he screws his knees again? Then what?

Andy

March 29th, 2012
10:10 am

Tell your headline guy that “Hudson” needs to be changed to “Hanson” on the Sports home page.

[...] was battling Yahan Flande for the final spot in the Braves’ bullpen and apparently lost the battle as he is headed to [...]

BrandonLee49

March 30th, 2012
2:02 pm

Seems Peewee Baseball Coach has more Baseball Savvy than the Pros… WHy is it every other Team utilizes Spring to Find-out Where Players can be used in time of Need, and Not waste a W that Counts…. Braves Act like they have everything Cemented into Stone when of Course They Don’t.. The Braves Waste an intire Spring Not Stretching Players to where they might excel somewhere Other than Last-yrs scouting rpt… Sept Swoon Starts Early !!!!

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