Archive for May, 2012

McCann returns to lineup after six-day absence – updated

Brian McCann returned to the Braves starting lineup Monday for the first time in a week, after spending six days battling a flu-like virus. It was a good sign for a team that’s been playing without three middle-of-the-order hitters and has lost a season-high eight in a row.

McCann planned to catch all nine innings and did without any problems.

“I felt fine,” he said after going 0-for-4, on a day when the temperature was 82 degrees at first pitch. “I couldn’t have picked a better day to come back.”

McCann plans to be back in the lineup Tuesday and hopes to get “back on a regular schedule where I catch five or six in a row and then take a day off.”

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told McCann since they are carrying a third catcher, J.C. Boscan, he could come out at any point if he didn’t feel well.

“I thought with the temperature and the humidity he was going to struggle,” Gonzalez said. “But that’s a good sign. I kept checking with him every inning or so, …

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Braves postgame quotes after Sunday’s loss to Nats

BRANDON BEACHY

On his command problems:

“I took a few steps backwards from where I want to be tonight. I didn’t control my fastball and that caused a lot of problems.”

On if affected by being sick this week:

“No, not at all. I pitched poorly. The team put me in a position where we could win the game, and I didn’t execute.”

On losing streak:

“We’re scuffling right now. There’s no secret to that. Getting healthy will obviously help. I had the opportunity tonight to come through and help us get over that hump. Hopefully Tommy does that for us tomorrow.”

On the play at second:

“I should have never jumped and hit that ball. Who knows? It probably would have been a routine double play had I not deflected it.”

On upset with the walk before and after:

“That’s not conducive to winning ball games. Those guys more often than not are going to score. I just can’t do that. It’s inexcusable.”

DAN UGGLA

On the play at second:

“Rather than just concentrating …

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Next for Braves: St. Louis Cardinals

Series preview: vs. Cardinals

When (TV): 1:10 p.m. Monday (SPSO); 7:10 p.m. Tuesday (SPSO); 7:10 p.m. Wednesday (SPSO)

Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5

Probable starting pitchers:

Monday: Braves RH Tommy Hanson (5-3, 3.12 ERA) vs. RH Lance Lynn (7-1, 2.54)

Tuesday: Braves RH Randall Delgado (2-5, 4.53) vs. RH Jake Westbrook (4-3, 3.38)

Wednesday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (3-2, 4.12) vs. RH Kyle Lohse (5-1, 2.90)

About the Braves:

Batting: The Braves have cooled since their three-game sweep in St. Louis May 11-13, when they hit .290 and averaged 7.7 runs per game. They’d hit only .237 with 3.3 runs per game in 13 games since entering Sunday. Michael Bourn went 8-for-17 (.471) in that series, with a double, a home run and three RBIs. Martin Prado had 12 multi-hit games in his previous 18 games entering Sunday, while hitting 437 (31-for-71).

Pitching: Hanson got the better of Lynn and the Cardinals three starts ago, allowing one run in five innings, walking three and striking out nine. The …

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Prado back at third base

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field with your Braves report.

Martin Prado was at third base Sunday night, his second game at the position this season and a move from his left field position. It could be an indicator that Prado will move to third base on a regular basis while Chipper Jones is on the disabled list.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was wary about moving hot-hitting Prado between the two positions. Gonzalez said he wanted to give Juan Francisco another game or two to at third base before making a decision.

Francisco had three hits against the Nationals Saturday night. However, he suffered a “minor” hamstring injury during the game. He was held out of the starting lineup Sunday, although he was available to pinch-hit.

“Yesterday, before Francisco’s bat spoke to us and got three hits, I was thinking about putting [Prado] at third base for a while,” Gonzalez said. “And maybe so. We’ll see.”

* With a day off on Thursday, Gonzalez said he does not expect …

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Chipper undergoes surgery to help left leg contusion

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field with your Braves report.

Chipper Jones underwent a surgical procedure Saturday morning to have fluid removed from his left leg.

Jones, on the 15-day disabled list with the contusion, said he had 120 ccs drained from what he describes as a hematoma.

“I feel so much better now,” Jones said. “It was throbbing. It let me know with everything that I did. Now, we’ve relieved a lot of the pressure down there and I can’t feel my heartbeat [in the ankle] anymore.

Jones said he was told my doctors that had he not had the surgical procedure he would have been dealing with the issue into September. Although he would have been able to play prior, he would have faced more problems had the area suffered another hit, such as from a foul ball.

Jones suffered the injury after being hit by a one-hopper off the bat of the Ray’s B.J. Upton on the artificial turf in Tampa on May 18th. He hopes to be able to return soon after being eligible to come …

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Freeman still plagued by blurry vision

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field with your Braves report.

The Braves were also without first baseman Freddie Freeman Sunday night as he continues to battle blurry vision caused by dry eyes.

Freeman, who also missed Saturday’s game, told team trainers before the game he was still experiencing the issue. Eric Hinske started at first base.

Freeman has tried different combination of contact lenses, sports goggles, eye drops and diet to try to alleviate the issue, which first arose in Colorado at the beginning of the month.

“We are going to take our time,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “The doctor said it’s a process. It’s a process of getting the right glasses and the right contacts and the right mixture of [eye] solution. … He has to be patient. He can’t go through 12 pairs of contacts in one night. That isn’t going help.”

Both Under Armour and Oakley are working on a pair of prescription wrap-around goggles for Freeman that the team hopes arrive …

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Venters suddenly victim of the long ball

Jonny Venters had given up only three home runs in his first two seasons in the major leagues (over 164 outings). Now he’s given up three in his past two weeks, including a solo shot to Bryce Harper in Saturday’s 8-4 loss to the Nationals.

For Venters it’s an indication that his sinking fastball isn’t sinking like it should, which Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez thinks aid is a function of his hand position.

“The sinker is coming out sideways instead of going down, and for me that’s just tinkering a little bit with the hand position,” Gonzalez said. “The thing we can do as managers and coaches, you’ve got to keep running him out there (to build) confidence. He’ll be fine.”

Venters said he and pitching coach Roger McDowell have been working on the mechanical adjustments in bullpen sessions and he thinks it’s just a matter of repetition and getting comfortable with them.

“It’s getting better,” Venters said. “I felt great (Saturday) physically and …

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McCann hopes he can return to lineup Monday – updated

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field with your Braves report.

Brian McCann was out of the Braves starting lineup Sunday night as he continues to battle flu-like symptoms. The catcher was nearly back for the nationally televised game against the Nationals, according to manager Fredi Gonzalez, but wasn’t quite ready after going through pre-game running drills.

There is a possibility McCann could return for Monday’s afternoon series-opener against the Cardinals, but may sit one more day as a precaution and return Tuesday.

Gonzalez said he would leave it to McCann whether he will be able to play to was going to take into account what is forecast to be a day with 90-plus degree temperature.

“(I’ll do what) I’ve been doing this whole time I’ve been down – wake up and hope for the best,” McCann said after Sunday’s game. “I’m going to show up here tomorrow and hopefully get in there.”

McCann was available to pinch hit or serve as a late defensive replacement Sunday night. …

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It’s Beachy vs. Gonzalez in ESPN Sunday night game

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

You know that nosy neighbor or “friend” who can pop in at the most unwanted times? Tonight’s Braves-Nationals series finale seems to have that feel to me. The ESPN trucks are here and tonight at 8:05 p.m. the national spotlight will be shining on the Braves, who just happened to be mired in their longest losing streak of the season at six games now.

The Braves are struggling just to get through games healthy right now, with Chipper Jones on the DL with a nasty calf contusion, Freddie Freeman battling dry eyes and blurry vision, Brian McCann trying to build his strength back after missing four of the past five games with a virus, David Ross nursing a strained hamstring, and Matt Diaz just getting over strep throat. So hm, take a breath.

And here the Braves are, having lost four in a row in Cincinnati and the first two games in this series against the Nationals, only to show up at the

Gonzalez has been best pitcher on Nats staff

Gonzalez has been best …

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Sloppy loss extends Braves’ losing skid to six games

Mike Minor put the skidding Braves in another hole after giving up a three-run run homer and four runs in the first two innings Saturday against Washington, but that wasn’t even the worst part of their day.

The Braves rallied to tie on Dan Uggla’s two-run homer in the fifth, but that was before the faltering bullpen faltered again, and the defense turned shoddy, and the patchwork lineup failed to produce any more runs.

The net result was an 8-4 loss to the Nationals at Turner Field that extended the Braves’  losing streak to six games, longer than any losing streak they’ve had since April 2010.

“We’re not playing particularly well right now,” said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose injury- and illness-deplted Braves have gone from first to fourth place in under a week, and hit .191 with 16 runs in their six-game skid. “No excuses. We just need to get it going.”

They need a win Sunday to avoid being swept for the second consecutive series, after dropping …

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