Archive for March, 2012

Braves video: Chipper’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer

Is Chipper Jones a first ballot Hall of Famer? CineSport’s Noah Coslov turns to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien for his insight on Chipper’s decision to retire after the 2012 season.

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End of an era: Chipper says he’ll retire after 2012 season

Vivlamore reporting from Florida.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Chipper Jones is going out on his own terms.

The future Hall of Fame third baseman announced Thursday that the 2012 season will be the last of his playing career.

It’s the end of an era.

“There were times when I could have went out on the free-agent market and see if the grass was greener but I really didn’t think that it was,” Jones said in front of family, team executives and nearly 20 current teammates assembled before a Grapefruit League game against the Marlins. “I never wanted to play [anywhere else]. I’m a Southern kid. I wanted to play in a Southern town where I felt comfortable, and I felt comfortable from day one in the Braves organization. … I bleed red, white and blue.”

In an emotional announcement, Jones said he didn’t want a season of constant speculation about his future to be a distraction. He also didn’t want to put the Braves in an awkward position from a public relations …

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Chipper will retire at end of season

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — This will be it for Chipper Jones.

The Braves’ future Hall of Fame third baseball announced today that the 2012 season will be his last. The Jones played all 18 years with the Braves, who made him the No. 1 pick of the 1990 draft, where he won a World Series and a National League MVP award.

Jones, 40, ranks as the Atlanta Braves franchise leader in nearly every offensive category with a .304 career batting average, 454 home runs, 526 doubles and 1,561 RBIs in 2,387 games. His home-run total ranks 33rd in major league history.

Jones’ 18 years of service with the same team leads all active major league players, bettering Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera (17 years with the Yankees).

The Braves and Jones, a seven-time All-Star, are discussing a yet-to-be-determined role with team following the season.

Jones finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1995, the season the Braves won the World Series. He was the league’s Most …

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Hudson, Wilson working toward returns

Vivlamore reporting from Lake Buena Vista, Fla. today.

While the Braves play the Marlins this afternoon at Champion Stadium, two players will be working toward returns not far from the main complex.

Right-hander Tim Hudson will throw another side session today. Shortstop Jack Wilson will be one player to hit against Hudson before he goes to play in a minor-league game at noon.

Hudson is returning from offseason back surgery (lumbar spine fusion). The 36-year-old threw his first side session last Wednesday. He won’t be ready for the start of the season but recently said he believes he will be ready by May 1.

Wilson strained his right calf in offseason workouts at his home in California. The 34-year-old was expected that he would be out 4 to 6 weeks. That timeline seems  accurate as Wilson reminded that he suffered the injury four weeks and one day ago.

“They did a great job getting me back,” said Wilson, who expects to play two or three minor-league games and then be back with …

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Braves rally for win over Nationals

VIERA, Fla. — The Braves rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Nationals Wednesday with a game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth and two runs in the top of the 10th. Pinch-hitter Tyler Pastornicky delivered a key hit in the winning rally.

Jose Yepez singled to lead off the Braves’ 10th. After Pastornicky failed to get a sacrifice bunt down, he singled to right to put runners on first and third. Pinch-runner Christian Bethancourt scored when Jose Constanza reached on an error. Pastornicky, who went to third on the error, scored on Rohm’s sacrifice fly with the winning run.

“For me, Tyler Pastornicky had the best at-bat I’ve seen in camp for awhile,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He couldn’t get the sac bunt over. He battled, battled and got the guy over to third on a base hit. He did a good job going first to third on a possible double-play ball and we were able to add a run. That was big.”

The Nationals led 1-0 after an unearned run in the fourth inning came …

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Hanson says he will be ready

VIERA, Fla. – Tommy Hanson says he will be ready for the start of the season – no reason for concern there.

The right-hander made is third exhibition appearance, and second start, Wednesday after missing the end of last season with a small rotator cuff tear and the start of spring training with a concussion after a February car accident.

Hanson pitched four innings, allowing just one hit and one unearned run against the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium. He did not get a decision as he walked one and hit two batters. He struck out two, throwing 68 pitches (39  strikes).

“I think I will be ready as soon as the season starts,” Hanson said of starting against either the Mets or Astros, the Braves’ opening two series. “Whatever game [manager] Fredi [Gonzalez] wants to put me in.”

Hanson said the only issues he had Wednesday – while working on his new hitch-free delivery – were with his leg-kick with a runner on second and the release point on his curveball. He hit …

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Updated: Hanson gets start vs. Nats

Vivlamore reporting from Viera, Florida where the Braves take on the Nationals in a 1:05 p.m. start.

Tommy Hanson will make his third appearance of the spring, after having the start of his spring delayed by a concussion. He is 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA, after working three innings against the Astros Friday. The right-hander had his initial appearance cut short by rain after only one inning. Hanson, who is working on a new hitch-free delivery, is scheduled to pitch four innings today, although manager Fredi Gonzalez said before the game he could go five innings if he has a low pitch count.

Last season Hanson went 10-4 with a 2.44 ERA and .190 opponents’ average in 17 starts before the All-Star break. Then the shoulder went from merely nagging to aching, and he was 1-3 with an 8.10 ERA in five starts after the break.

He didn’t pitch again after Aug. 6 after being  diagnosed with a small rotator cuff tear.

UPDATE: Hanson pitched four innings. He have up one hit, one unearned …

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Wren: Medlen in bullpen still the plan

LAKELAND, Fla. — Kris Medlen will start a minor league game Friday, and manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Braves haven’t ruled out  Medlen as an option for the fill-in role while Tim Hudson is out in April recovering from back surgery.

Medlen pitched four scoreless innings of one-hit ball Saturday against the Mets and has allowed just one run in 10 innings of three games (two starts) with seven strikeouts and one walk.

However, general manager Frank Wren reiterated that the Braves still plan to have Medlen in the bullpen this season and would choose between prospects Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran to be the fill-in starter in  April.

“That’s always been our plan because he sets up our bullpen very well,” Wren said of Medlen, who has pitched as both a starter and reliever in the past. “He makes our bullpen much better because of his versatility and because of his abilty to get both righties and lefties out better than most guys.”

Wren knows that some fans and …

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Spring struggles continue for Jurrjens (10.13 ERA)

LAKELAND, Fla. — Jair Jurrjens said some of the same things after his alarming start Tuesday as he said after one  five days before: That he felt good despite the results, and needed to start focusing more on hitters and less on his right knee.

The Braves right-hander gave up eight hits and seven runs (six earned) in five innings of a 7-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium,  raising Jurrjens’ bloated spring ERA another half-run to 10.13.

“I know it sounds like excuses,” he said. “It’s my own fault. I just need to try to focus and get back to getting people out, stop worrying about whether everything’s perfect and just worry about the hitters.”

Jurrjens didn’t pitch in September due to a strained knee, the second year in a row he finished the season on the disabled list for a right-knee injury. He wears a brace now when he pitches, and insisted again that the knee felt fine.

His velocity has been a modest 89-91 mph on most  fastballs this …

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Braves’ Vizcaino out for season after elbow surgery

LAKELAND, Fla. – Worst fears were realized when Braves reliever Arodys Vizcaino’s visit to Dr. James Andrews ended with the right-hander undergoing “Tommy John” elbow surgery Tuesday that will sidelined him for the entire 2012 season.

Vizcaino, rated the No. 40 prospect in baseball and top relief pitching prospect for 2012 by Baseball America, faces a 12-month rehabilitation.

The 21-year-old Dominican reinjured the ulnar collateral ligament that he partially tore as a minor leaguer in 2010, an injury that was allowed to heal without surgery at that time.

He hadn’t had any recurrence until this spring, when he was shut down after pitching in the March 3 Grapefruit League opener.

“He had the episode in 2010 that derailed his year, and now he was having trouble at the beginning of spring training,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “Hopefully this will get it taken care of and he’s a young guy who will have a long career.”

After examining Vizcaino on …

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