Archive for May, 2012

With McCann sick, Ross hurt, catcher Boscan gets start

With starting catcher Brian McCann still weak from a virus and backup catcher David Ross out with a strained groin, the Braves called J.C. Boscan from Triple-A Gwinnett and thrust him into their patchwork starting lineup Saturday.

Boscan took the roster spot of Chipper Jones, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list after Friday night’s game. Boscan went 1-for-4 with a single and an RBI in Saturday’s 1-0 loss.

Jones has a severe contusion on his lower left leg that looks even more grotesque today than it did a week ago. The veteran third baseman was injured May 18 when struck by a hard-hit one-hop off the bat of Tampa Bay’s B.J. Upton. His DL assignment was retroactive to Thursday, the day after he pinch-hit against Cincinnati.

Using him to pinch-hit one time potentially cost Jones five games because his DL assignment could have otherwise been retro’d to May 17. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said it didn’t matter because he was told Jones would not be available to play again …

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Braves quotes after Saturday loss to Nationals

FREDI GONZALEZ

On Minor

“There were some hurdles that he cleared. The first inning gets second and third and minimized that damage, just one run. And then after we scored he came back and gave us a shutdown inning. He gave us five innings; obviously you want six or seven from your starters. But I thought those two hurdles were OK, and we just keep going forward with it.”

What about the defense today?

[Looks as if wants to know which specific play]

Bourn’s play, lose it in sun not wearing sunglasses?

“No, I don’t think he lost it in sun. Bourney catches that ball 100 out of 100 times. I think the ball and him arrived at the same time, the ball hitting his glove and him hitting the wall. It kind of jarred him a little. And then Jonny fielding his position, gave them an extra run right there. We’re not playing particularly well right now. No excuses. We just need to get it going.

“I like the fact that we battled back against Strasburg and end up tying the game up. …

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Freeman scratched again for dry-eyes problem (updated)

The hottest stretch of Freddie Freeman’s brief career ended abruptly by a dry-eye problem that has continued unabated for three weeks despite exhaustive efforts to find a solution.

The first baseman was a late scratch from the already depleted  lineup Saturday, the second game in three he’s missed due to blurry vision. It’s caused by his tear-less eyes and inability to find contact lenses that don’t irritate them or glasses that he’s comfortable playing in.

He had a pair of sports glasses made Friday in Atlanta after returning from a week-long road trip, and also got more contact lenses as he seemingly tries every known model of contacts, so far to no avail.

The glasses he had made Friday were supposed to serve as a temporary solution until a special pair is shipped from an equipment manufacturer. But minutes before the start of Saturday’s game, the Braves announced he’d been scratched from the lineup.

Gonzalez said he made the decision to …

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Prado won’t alternate at LF and 3B while Chipper DL’d

Martin Prado might stay in left field or he might move to third base while Chipper Jones is on the disabled list, but he won’t move back and forth between positions the way he did last season.

So says Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who doesn’t want to do anything that might adversely affect his hottest hitter. Gonzalez thinks that Prado alternating between left field and third base in 2011 might have been a factor in his career-worst season.

Jones was placed on the disabled list after Friday night’s game with a slow-healing contusion of his lower left leg, which remains painful and grotesquely discolored more than a week after he was struck by a hard one-hop grounder in a game at Tampa Bay on May 18.

“With Chipper down for 15 [games], he’s going to play left field the rest of the way,” Gonzalez said of Prado, “or he’s going to play third.”

Gonzalez wanted to wait at least a couple of more games to make that decision after seeing how backup third baseman Juan …

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Braves’ Bourn at least as big a factor as Chipper

Much has been made here and elsewhere about the Braves’ record with and without Chipper Jones in the lineup, and more will be now that he’s on the 15-day disabled list due to the slow healing process of his nasty lower-leg contusion.

The Braves' offensive runs at a  higher level when Michael Bourn gets on base two or three times a game and puts pressure on the opposing team and its pitcher. (AP photo)

The Braves' offensive runs at a higher level when Michael Bourn gets on base two or three times a game and puts pressure on the opposing team and its pitcher. (AP photo)

But one could make a strong case that the Braves’ fortunes have been tied at least as much to leadoff man Michael Bourn as to Chipper. Or, as manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Bourn recently, “As he goes, we go.”

Here’s what I mean:

The Braves have hit .180 and scored 12 runs during a five-game losing streak, and are 4-8 with a 3.66 ERA, .236 team batting average and 39 runs their past 12 games (3.25 runs per game).

This 12-game slide began May 14, after the Braves had gone 22-9 in their previous 31 games, with 4.15 ERA, 2.80 team batting average and 179 runs (5.8 per …

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Braves postgame quotes following Friday’s loss to the Nats

FREDI GONZALEZ

On Hudson’s first inning:

“The ball kept coming back over the plate. He settled down …He’s killing himself right now for walking the pitcher with two outs in the seventh. That almost hurt more than Zimmerman’s 0-2 bases-clearing double. It is what it is. After the first inning his ball started sinking. You saw the groundballs. He was good.”

On if considered taking him out in seventh:

“Obviously there are all kinds of options that run through your head. But no, with the matchup with Zimmerman there, you felt like it was good. 0-2 ball got over the plate on him. That ball sinks, breaks another inch or something, we wouldn’t even be talking about that. I thought the way Huddy pitched, he deserved to be out there for that at-bat. I really felt that good, felt confident he would get him out.”

On two-out hits for Hudson:

“For me it was a pitcher gives up four runs, he kept battling, kept us in the game, had a chance to win the game. Or at very …

Continue reading Braves postgame quotes following Friday’s loss to the Nats »

Updated: Braves place Chipper on 15-day DL

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field with your Braves report.

The Braves placed third baseman Chipper Jones on the 15-day disabled list with a left leg contusion following Friday’s game against the Nationals. The move is retroactive to Wednesday when Jones pinch-hit, his only appearance in the past seven games since suffering the injury in Tampa Bay on May 18th.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Braves will call up a catcher to replace Jones on the roster. The team will announce the player Saturday. They are in need of a catcher after backup David Ross suffered a right groin strain during a second-inning at-bat Friday and is day-to-day. Ross started the past four games for Brian McCann, who was out with flu-like symptoms.

“It’s not getting better and we are starting to play a little bit short-handed,” Gonzalez said of placing Jones on the DL following the 7-4 loss to the Nationals. “It’s not fair for him and it’s not fair for the team.”

J.C. Boscan is a likely …

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Updated: McCann returns after Ross injured

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field with your Braves report.

Brian McCann (flu-like symptoms) and Chipper Jones (left leg contusion) were again out of the starting Braves lineup Friday as they began a three-game series with the NL East leading Nationals. McCann wasn’t out for long.

After missing the past three games, McCann was inserted into Friday’s game  when David Ross injured himself checking a swing on a second-inning at-bat. After Ross drew a walk, McCann entered as a pinch-runner and remained in the game to catch. Ross  suffered a right groin strain and is listed as day-to-day although he will be re-evaluated tomorrow.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had originally wanted to rest McCann, who was symptom free Friday, and play him in the final two games of the key series on Saturday and Sunday.

It appears Jones will miss more games, although he is available to pinch-hit or play one inning of defense in an emergency. He has missed the past seven games, save for one …

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Chipper says Strasburg has best repertoire he’s seen

Chipper Jones has faced a host of nasty pitchers over his 18-year career, from Curt Schilling to Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez to Justin Verlander, but he said the young Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg is the nastiest of them all.

“He’s got the best repertoire of pitches that I’ve seen on any one single pitcher,” Jones said Friday.

Strasburg takes on the Braves and Mike Minor on Saturday.

Jones called Strasburg a hybrid of Kerry Wood in his prime and Verlander, with a similar fastball and breaking ball. But the difference to Jones is how good Strasburg’s change-up is.

“Verlander’s got a good change-up, but his is a circle change that just kind of fades away,” Jones said. “(Strasburg’s) is a 90-plus mph split that falls off the table. When you’re going up there getting geared up for 95, 96 mph and he throws you 90 and the bottom drops out of it, it’s a pretty lethal combination.”

Strasburg is 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA in two starts against the Braves but …

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Freeman continues to search for solution to eye problem

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field with your Braves report.

Freddie Freeman admits he’s had “no chance” trying to hit and field with dry eyes caused by contact lenses in the past month.

“I’m seeing two balls and I’m just guessing, even when I’m hitting,” the Braves first baseman said. “It got to the point where I couldn’t do it anymore.”

Freeman spent several hours Friday morning with team eye doctors. He was fitted with yet another pair of contact lenses, a set he hopes won’t dry out his eyes which has led to blurry vision. He was also fitted with a pair of prescription glasses, assembled in two hours, which he can wear if the contacts don’t work.

“I just go up there swinging and hope for the best,” said Freeman, who was substituted for Wednesday and rested Thursday with the eye issues. “That’s what I’ve been doing. Hopefully, I can get back to being me.”

Another pair of prescription sports glasses is being made by Under Armour, but …

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