Archive for April, 2012

Braves postgame quotes after Monday loss to Pirates

MICHAEL BOURN

On disagreement with 2B umpire Danley:

“It was just a little conversation, get on the same page. That’s it. I wasn’t cussing at him or anything like that. I wasn’t using any foul language. I know when I’m safe and when I’m out. If I’m out, I’m not going to make an argument about it, I’ll take it. I’m out, simple as that. But three of the calls this year, I’ve been safe. I just want it to be right. I’m not fussing with him. I’m not trying to make a statement to him. I know they’re not perfect. It’s the human eye and sometimes they’re going to make mistakes. Some time they may call me safe when I’m out. I hope I get that call some time too. it’s just your competitive nature. You think you’re safe. You’re going to argue your point.”

On if it’s getting frustrating w/missed calls:

“It is but you’ve got to keep going. Hope they will be in a position where they can see it. I can’t really do too much about it. Go on to the next day.”

On McDonald:

“I always knew he had …

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Braves fall to Pirates, split series

After starting April winless in four games, the Braves had a chance to finish it atop the National League East.

They’ll have to wait, though, after a 9-3 loss on Monday dropped them one-half game behind the upstart Washington Nationals, who were idle.

As downtrodden as the Phillies seem to be so far this season, some things never change. The Braves want to take over first place? They will have to go through the five-time defending division champions, who visit Atlanta for the next three days, their first trip to Turner Field since knocking the Braves out of the postseason last Sept. 26-28.

The Braves spent the last four games of April getting more than they wanted from the Pirates, who came into the wrap-around series with the lowest-scoring offense in the major leagues by 18 runs.

The Pirates scored a season-high nine Monday to split the series 2-2 and break up a streak of five straight series victories by the Braves since their season-opening sweep by New York. James …

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Next for Braves: Philadelphia Phillies

Series preview: vs. Phillies

When (TV): 7:10 p.m. Tuesday (SPSO); 7:10 p.m. Wednesday (SPSO); 12:10 p.m. Thursday (SPSO)

Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5

Probable starting pitchers:

Tuesday: Braves RH Brandon Beachy (2-1, 1.05 ERA) vs. LH Cole Hamels (3-1, 2.73)

Wednesday: Braves RH Tommy Hanson (3-2, 3.00) vs. RH Roy Halladay (3-2, 1.95)

Thursday: Braves RH Randall Delgado (2-2, 6.30) vs. RH Joe Blanton (2-3, 3.81)

About the Braves:

Batting: Michael Bourn had hit safely in 14 of his past 15 games entering Monday, while hitting .424 (28-for-66) with a .486 on-base percentage. The Braves are 9-2 in games in which he scores a run. Rookie shortstop Tyler Pastornicky had hit in five straight entering Monday, while batting 8-for-16, improving his season batting average from .175 to .263.

Pitching: Beachy is 0-3 with a 3.94 ERA in six career starts against the Phillies, and the Braves have lost all six. His toughest out was Raul Ibanez (6-for-12 with one double and one RBI), but he’s now …

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Gattis earns promotion to Double-A Mississippi

Evan Gattis started making an impression with his batting practice home runs as a non-roster invitee in spring training, and he hasn’t stopped. The 25-year-old journeyman, who re-invented himself after a stint in drug rehab derailed his college career, just earned a promotion to Double-A Mississippi.

The Braves had already moved Gattis from catcher to left field for four or five games to try to take better advantage of his offensive prowess. On Monday they saw an opportunity to move him up after catching prospect Christian Bethancourt injured his hamstring on Sunday.

Braves assistant general manager Bruce Manno said Gattis will continue playing predominantly left field but catch occasionally and DH when applicable. Gattis was hitting .385 with nine home runs and 29 RBIs in 21 games for the high Single-A Lynchburg Hillcats.

“This was an opportunity to get him to the next level and challenge him offensively and still continue the process (of learning the outfield),” Manno said. …

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Step in right direction for Jurrjens

The Braves believe Jair Jurrjens took a good first step in his first start for Triple-A Gwinnett Sunday when he pitched seven innings in Toledo, allowing one earned run on four hits, three walks and four strikeouts.

Jurrjens threw 93 pitches, 54 for strikes. The velocity on his fastball topped out at 90 mph, but assistant general manager Bruce Manno said it’s not simply velocity that he should be concerned about, rather the action on his slider and change-up.

“Sometimes there is a little bit of a change when there’s a decrease in velocity,” said Manno, who is the Braves director of player development. “Sometimes your other pitches may not seem as crisp or as sharp. They might not have the same action to them… It’s not so much the velocity as it is how it affects the other stuff. That’s what he’s got to work on.”

Manno said it was a positive outing for Jurrjens, who was optioned to try to regain his form after starting 0-2 with a 9.37 ERA in his first four starts.

“His innings …

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Heyward sits with oblique soreness, considers it minor

Jason Heyward was out of the Braves lineup Monday night after waking up with some soreness in his right oblique muscle. He doesn’t think it’s going to require any more than a day or two out of the lineup, which would mean the Braves have avoided two potential longer-term problems in a span of four days.

Brian McCann felt some tightness in a right ribcage muscle Friday night, and left the game after five innings. But after a day off he was back in the lineup on Sunday.

Heyward said with treatment he figures he’ll be back in the lineup by Wednesday against the Phillies. He said he could be used as a defensive substitution if necessary on Monday night.

Eric Hinske got the start in right field against the Pirates.

Heyward missed three weeks with an oblique strain in the minor leagues in 2009. He said the fact that he couldn’t pinpoint when it happened in the Sunday’s game, that he simply woke up feeling sore, tells him it’s not as serious.

“That was a completely different …

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Braves can take sole possession of first place in NL East

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

The last day of the first month of the season is here. Is it me or is the baseball season actually flying by already? And how much faster has it gone since the Braves recovered from the 0-4 start? Since the three losses in New York and one in Houston, your Braves have won 14 of 18 to move into a first-place tie in the NL East with the Washington Nationals.

Stephen Strasburg and the Nats rotation off to hot start

Stephen Strasburg and the Nats rotation off to hot start

The Dodgers swept the Nats this weekend, so it’s Washington dealing with a four-game losing streak now, even with the arrival of one Bryce Harper.

A win tonight for the Braves against the Pirates to close out the four-game series and the Braves could find themselves alone atop the NL East (The Nats are off tonight). The last time the Braves led the division, tied or otherwise, was April 1 of last season, after they beat the Nationals in the season-opener in DC and then had an off day to follow.

The …

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Braves happy to get their “bulldog” Hudson back

Tim Hudson might have spent a little more time bobbing and weaving – as he would say – than he wanted to Sunday against the Pirates, but he brought maturity, some stability, and a little of fire back to the Braves rotation.

Making his first start since November back surgery, Hudson worked five gutsy innings, allowing two runs on six hits, and collected his first win of the season in a 4-3 victory.

Hudson was on a pitch count of no more than 100 pitches, so he came out after 96 pitches, but his message was sent. The Braves’ ace was back.

“Everybody was pumped up,” said left fielder Martin Prado, who drove in what turned out to be the winning run on a home run in the seventh. “He is one of those guys who goes out there and performs and gives everything he has and gives you a chance. He kept us in the game. He’s a battle guy. We love to have him back.”

Not too long after Hudson took the mound at Turner Field, Jair Jurrjens began his stint with Triple-A Gwinnett – pitching seven …

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Braves quotes after Sunday win over Pirates

**TIM HUDSON

On the day, returning from DL

“It felt great to be back. It was a tough game, well fought on both sides. It was great to come out on the good side of these close games. I felt good. I started off a little shaky but I felt like it ended well.”

On if felt like season opener

“No not really. I feel like I’ve got a few innings under my belt. There are a few things I need to improve on, with my quality of pitches and my location. All in all it’s heading in the right direction. It was a battle out there. Those guys battled me all day, but it was fun to go out there and compete. It was fun to go out there and be successful for the most part and give our team a chance to win.”

On the adrenaline of being in a major league game again

“It was nice. It was exciting. You’ve got the big stadium and the fans and major league hitters over there ready to try to knock it down your throat. It was fun. It’s great to be back and try to earn my paycheck.”

On the exchange with …

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Hudson wins in return; Braves in 1st-place tie

The Braves didn’t give Tim Hudson much run support in his first game off the disabled list, failing to take advantage of prime scoring opportunities. But they were up against Pittsburgh, and it doesn’t take much to outscore these Pirates.

Dan Uggla’s bases-loaded walk in the fifth inning put the Braves ahead and got Hudson the decision in a 4-3 win against the Pirates on Sunday before a crowd of 30,419 at Turner Field.

“It was exciting,” Hudson said after giving up two runs and six hits in five innings in his season debut, five months and one day after he underwent back surgery.

“You’ve got the big stadium and the fans and major league hitters over there ready to try to knock it down your throat. It was fun,” he said. “It’s great to be back and try to earn my paycheck.”

Martin Prado’s seventh-inning leadoff homer added an important insurance run for the Braves, who won for the 14th time in 18 games despite going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-3 in …

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