Archive for June, 2012

Bourn wants to become complete player

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field.

Just once did Michael Bourn successfully try to hit a home run – and that came at the Double-A level.

However, Bourn is showing some power this season. The leadoff hitter had his seventh home run, two more than his previous best, Tuesday to lead off the Braves’ first inning. It was his third leadoff homer of the year.

“I just hit the ball in the right spot,” said Bourn, who hit a cutter off Diamondbacks starter Daniel Hudson. “I feel like I’m strong enough to do it but if you hit the ball in the right spot on the bat, it’ll go. That’s all I’m doing.”

Bourn went 2-for-5 in the series opener. He entered Wednesday’s game with a .312 average and leads the majors with 13 games with three or more hits.

“I think he has a pretty good baseball swing and he’s a strong kid,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “You get him in the wheelhouse he can [hit the ball] out of the ball park. He’s not one of those guys who …

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Two G-Braves make Triple-A All-Star team

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field.

Pitcher Cory Gearrin and first baseman Ernesto Mejia have been named to represent the G-Braves in the Triple-A All-Star game next month.

Gearrin was selected by the International League office. Mejia was selected in a process that includes votes from each team’s field and general manager, the media and fan voting. The game will be played July 11 in Buffalo, N.Y.

It is the first Triple-A All-Star game form both. Gearrin, 26, is 3-0 with a 1.34 ERA in 25 relief appearances for the G-Braves this season. He leads the team with seven saves. The right-hander appeared in two games for the Braves this season with a 3.38 ERA in 2.2 innings. Mejia, 26, is fourth in the International League with a .311 average, tied for first in hits (87), third in RBIs (52) and seventh in home runs (15).

In other notes:

* Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez reiterated Wednesday that there are no plans to alter the starting rotation with Kris Medlen remaining in the …

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After 17 hits, Braves keep same lineup

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field.

If it ain’t broke …

A day after the Braves’ 17-hit attack in the series opener against the Diamondbacks, manager Fredi Gonzalez used the same lineup Wednesday. The batting order included Jason Heyward batting second, Chipper Jones batting sixth and Freddie Freeman batting seventh.

“Unless there is matchup stuff, I usually like to stick with the same lineup,” Gonzalez said. “We made a move [Tuesday] to create an opportunity for runs and it worked. … Why not do it again?”

Heyward went 2-for-4, Jones went 3-for-4 and Freeman went 3-for-5. Every Brave in the starting lineup had at least one hit except for Dan Uggla.

Gonzalez said it was noticeable that Freeman, who likes to swing at the first pitch, was being more patient at the plate.

“Yesterday was noticeable that he was taking pitches,” Gonzalez said. “There are some times, I’m not kidding you, where we think let’s just start the runner because he is going to …

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Braves have had a void in No. 3 hole

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

Leave it to yours truly to write about a dearth of offense at a certain spot in the lineup the morning after the Braves pile up 17 hits and eight runs on the Arizona Diamondbacks. They matched their season-high for a nine-inning game, after they got 17 hits on April 18 against the Mets.

Chipper's No. 3 spot hasn't been easy to fill

Chipper's No. 3 spot hasn't been easy to fill

The Braves got two or more hits from seven of the nine hitters in the order last night and another base hit from pitcher Tim Hudson. Dan Uggla was the odd man out, going 0-for-4, though he did score a run after being hit by a pitch and balked to second base.

But yes, I’m going to pick on a spot in the order anyway – the No. 3 hole – because in the conversation about moving Jason Heyward up in the order yesterday, it became a hot topic and one I thought worth delving into a bit.

Many of you thought Fredi Gonzalez should have left Martin Prado in his second spot and put Heyward …

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Braves postgame quotes after Tuesday’s win over Arizona

TIM HUDSON

On success vs. Arizona:

“It’s one of those things where I’ve been able to stay down in the zone and hit the corners. It could be the other way around just as easy.”

On if thinking complete game:

“Nah, not really. I’m not a complete game kind of guy. I just go out there and pitch until the manager takes me out. I felt like I could have finished it but we don’t have any off days between now and the All-Star break so man of my age should probably be limited to how many pitches I throw.”

On that five-run lead:

“It was nice. The guys came out swinging the bats. We took advantage of some pitches up in the zone and were able to get opportunities to score and take advantage of it. Obviously their guy over there was having some issues, had to be taken out of the game, hopefully nothing too serious on his part. But it was nice to be able to go out there and take advantage of some opportunities.”

On with four, five-run lead, something tell you ‘I’m …

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Uggla leads All-Star voting at second base

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field.

Dan Uggla retained his lead at second base in the fourth and final National League All-Star voting results released Tuesday.

Uggla has 2,641,361 votes, 770,395 more than the Reds’ Brandon Phillips.

The final voting results will be announced Sunday. Online voting continues through Thursday.

Freddie Freeman is third among first basemen. Chipper Jones is fourth among third basemen. Brian McCann is fourth among catchers. In the outfield, Michael Bourn is 10th, Jason Heyward is 13th and Martin Prado is 15th. …

* The Braves announced Tuesday that O.A.R. will perform a free post-game concert on Sept. 15 following the contest against the Nationals. …

* A couple of the Braves top draft picks have made their professional debuts. First-round pick Lucas Sims, the right-hander from Brookwood, pitched Tuesday morning in the Gulf Coast League. He threw two innings, with no walks and three strikeouts Second-rounder Alex Wood, the left-hander out …

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Gonzalez looking for consistency from starting rotation

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is looking for consistency out of his starting rotation with 13 games remaining before the All-Star break. It has been an issue for the Braves this season, including their last two starts prior to Tuesday’s series-opener against the Diamondbacks. Randall Delgado lasted only 1-1/3 innings and Mike Minor lasted only 4-2/3 innings in losses to the Red Sox Saturday and Sunday.

“We need to get our rotation consistent,” Gonzalez said Tuesday. “We need to get through the rotation a few times, three or four times in a row. From here to the All-Star break and go out there and rattle of six, seven, eight innings at a time. That’s the only thing, for me, that has been missing the whole time. We’ll go through the rotation one time and then the next time we have a couple of bleeps and we can’t get through the fourth.”

Gonzalez said the team is not planning any changes to the starting rotation. Jair …

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Heyward moved up to hit second

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field.

Jason Heyward got an early look at a couple of different lineups for Tuesday’s game against the Diamondbacks. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez showed Heyward two where the recently-named N.L. Player of the Week was batting fifth. There was one where he was batting third. And there was the one the team settled on with Heyward batting second.

“Just to put our three best hitters right now together, the guys that are swinging the bats and getting on base and keep the line moving” Gonzalez said of his rationale of putting Michael Bourn, Heyward and Martin Prado in the top three spots.

Heyward said it didn’t matter where he was in the batting order.

“[Gonzalez] asked me if I was OK with either of the lineups and I said ‘Hey, I’m not going to change a thing. As long as I’m in there, I’m happy,’” Heyward said.

Heyward hit .522 (12-for-23) with a 1.130 slugging percentage in six interleague games against the Yankees and Red Sox …

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Beachy disappointed but looking ahead to recovery

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field.

It’s a small step – but the first on the road to recovery for Brandon Beachy. The Braves right-hander, five days removed from ligament-transplant surgery, will exchange his soft cast and sling for a simple brace tomorrow.

“It sucks, obviously, but it’s something I can’t control now,” Beachy said after undergoing ‘Tommy John’ surgery Thursday to repair a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. “It’s done and now I’m just looking forward. It’s not fun watching these guys on TV but I’ll make it through.”

Beachy said he was told by doctors that the injury was not new. He had been pitching with the issue for months, possibly years, before coming out in the fourth inning of his start against the Orioles on June 16.

“It wasn’t something I did that night,” Beachy said. “It just got worse and got the point and it felt like it was going to come all the way off. It didn’t though. … There was discomfort. …

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It’s back to National League for Hudson vs. Hudson

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

So interleague play is over now, at least until the World Series, and the Braves finished their bumpy ride through the AL East at 8-10.

Safe to say we have our answer as to which division was more dominant, the A.L. East vs. the N.L. East. The A.L. East went 46-32 against the N.L. East during this interleague swing. The Yankees were the most dominant team, going 12-3 against the N.L. East, while the best the N.L. East had going was the Nationals who were 10-8.

The Yankees did do the Braves some favors, though, by keeping the Nationals and Mets in check, winning eight

Happy 38th birthday to Jeter, who's been doing a lot of fist-bumping lately

Happy 38th birthday to Jeter, who's been doing a lot of fist-bumping lately

of nine against those two, while the Braves dealt with their own ups and downs. Now the Braves enter this 10-game homestand starting tonight tied with the Mets in second place at only 3 ½ games behind the Nationals.

Head-to-head results

A.L. East N.L. …

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