Archive for July, 2012

Gilmartin promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett

The Braves have promoted first-round pick Sean Gilmartin to Triple-A Gwinnett. He’s scheduled to make his first start in Charlotte on Monday. The left-hander, chosen 28th overall out of Florida State by the Braves in 2011, was 5-8 with a 3.54 ERA in 20 starts for Double-A Mississippi. He limited batters to a .248 average, walked only 26 in 119 1/3 innings and struck out 86.

Gilmartin is following a similar trajectory to Mike Minor, another former college left-hander taken in the first round by the Braves. Minor, who was drafted No. 7 overall out of Vanderbilt in 2009, started his second season with the Braves (and first full professional season) in Mississippi, and was promoted to Gwinnett after 15 starts in Double-A that year. Minor was called up to Atlanta in August of 2010.

In Gilmartin’s case, though, indications are that this isn’t as much a move to prepare him for a major league call-up this season as it is to both challenge him and give him a month’s worth of work in …

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At 40, Chipper excels as hitter and (unofficial) coach

MIAMI – He’s on pace to play 99 of the Braves’ 162 games, or about 25 fewer than Chipper Jones had in mind when he reported to spring training. But other than being out more than he planned for chronic knee problems and surgical procedures that twice put him on the disabled list, the third baseman has flourished in his final season, surpassing the expectations of most observers.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I thought he was going to have a productive year, if we could keep him on the field and keep him kind of fresh. And so far we’ve been able to do that, because he’s been pretty honest with us about how his body feels.”

Oh, come on. Having a productive year is one thing. Being the team leader in batting average (.313), on-base percentage (.386) and slugging percentage (.495)  is quite another.

Did we mention Jones is 40?

And while he’s  delivered key hits on creaky knees, Jones has also fully embraced the elder …

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Next for Braves: Philadelphia Phillies

Series preview: vs. Phillies

When (TV): 7:35 p.m. Friday (WPCH), 7:10 p.m. Saturday (WPCH), 1:35 p.m. Sunday (FSSO)

Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5

Probable starting pitchers:

Friday: Braves RH Ben Sheets (2-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. LH Cole Hamels (11-4, 3.23)

Saturday: 7:10 p.m.: Braves LH Mike Minor (5-7, 5.49) vs. RH Joe Blanton (8-8, 4.70)

Sunday: 1:35 p.m.: Braves RH Tim Hudson (9-4, 3.71) vs. RH Roy Halladay (4-5, 4.32)

About the Braves:

Batting: Chipper Jones is hitting .320 (8-for-25) while on a seven-game hitting streak, including one double, two home runs and seven RBIs. After hitting .193 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 22 games in June, Brian McCann is hitting .309 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs in 16 games in July. Dan Uggla is hitting .115 (15-for-130) with two doubles, two homers, 53 strikeouts and a .177 slugging percentage in his past 40 games.

Pitching: Sheets has pitched six shutout innings to win each of his first two starts with the Braves, returning after two …

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Braves roll 7-1 despite Hanson’s ugly outing (7 BB, 7 SB)

MIAMI – After more than an hour of reflection, Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson was still at a loss for words to explain how one of his most erratic performances ended in perhaps the most improbable win of his career.

Hanson allowed a career-high seven walks and seven stolen bases in five innings, but gave up just one run in a 7-1 win Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park.

“Seven walks and seven stolen bases — to go out and pitch five innings and only give up one run, I have no idea how I did that,” Hanson said. “I don’t even know if that’s ever happened.”

It’s happened, but not in nearly a century. The Marlins were the first team since the 1914 St. Louis Browns to collect at least seven bases in a game and score just once, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Juan Francisco went 3-for-4 with a mammoth homer and three RBIs, and Michael Bourn and Jason Heyward also homered for the Braves, who won the series 2-1 to finish 4-3 on a road trip that started with a series …

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Braves quotes after Wednesday’s win at Miami

**FREDI GONZALEZ

On Hanson’s erratic five innings

“He wiggled out of some jams. His fastball command wasn’t good. He knew that. It was hard. I think Mac did a nice job navigating him through those things.

“I think if we were in Vegas it would have been a nice line — seven walks, seven stolen bases, seven strikeouts – that’s a good line in the slot machines, but it’s not something we want to do every fifth day. He got his 11th win not being real sharp.”

On Medlen’s three hitless innings

“Medlen did a terrific job bridging the gap to the ninth inning, and Jonny came in with another solid inning, hopefully we get him turning the corner.”

Medlen show enough today, 46 pitches in three innings, to be an option to start?

“That’s an option. It was nice for us to be able to do that, just to give us that option. Roger and I were talking about maybe going to a fourth inning, but he had pitched on Monday, so we didn’t want to take him further than that. But that …

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Uggla out of lineup but OK after Tuesday beaning

MIAMI – Twelve hours later, Dan Uggla joked about the size and hardness of his head, and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez cracked that maybe getting beaned would help the second baseman snap out of his long slump.

But it wasn’t funny when Uggla was hit in the left side of his batting helmet by Miami pitcher Chad Gaudin in the seventh inning of Tuesday night’s 4-3 win against his former team. It was frightening.

“Yeah, man, it looked a lot worse than I thought it was going to look,” Uggla said after seeing replays of the incident. “Rung my bell a little bit. But I was fine.”

Uggla was out of the lineup for Wednesday afternoon’s series finale, but that was more a precautionary response. The way he’s been struggling at the plate, it was also a good day for Gonzalez to give him and his .213-and-falling batting average a rest. He’s hit .115 with a .476 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in his past 40 games.

He was the first batter faced by Gaudin, who hit Uggla in …

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Wren says Dempster deal now ‘highly unlikely’

MIAMI – The Braves’ Ryan Dempster trade proposal is either dead or on life support with little hope of recovery.

The Chicago Cubs pitcher, who has trade-veto rights as a player with 10 years of major league service and at least five with his current team, has blocked the trade to the Braves so far, hoping he’d instead be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“It’s highly unlikely that we make that deal,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said Wednesday morning. “No, it’s not dead. But I’m not going to paint us in a corner…. We’ve moved on. From very early on, when it became a question [of whether Dempster would approve the deal], we didn’t stop scouting, we didn’t stop having discussions with other clubs. We’ve moved on.”

With the Dodgers unwilling to part with the top prospect that Chicago asked for, the Cubs indicated Wednesday they would keep Dempster and offer him a one-year qualifying offer for 2013. That would assure they’d get a compensatory …

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Braves quotes after Tuesday’s win over Marlins

**FREDI GONZALEZ

on Tim Hudson

“After the first couple of innings he was outstanding. He gave us a great chance to win the ballgame, and we won it for him with Prado hitting that triple and Heyward getting him in. I mean, he did a terrific job. He retired the last 16 straight after that [home run]. He was great. The only thing I wish he would do is stay off the basepath. But that’s him. He ain’t going to stop doing that.

“But he did terrific, and then O’Flaherty and Kimbrel did a nice job.”

Did you take him out because of the ankle? (recurring bone spurs)

“You know, every time we try to push him through that kind of stuff it kind of gives him a setback. It’s got nothing to do with pitch count with him. It’s a feel thing. He’ll fight you if he feels good. When he came off the field and we said, we’re going to put O’Flaherty in in the eighth, he said, ‘Ok.’

“But it seems like every time we try to push him and get him one more inning, that ankle …

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Hudson bows up as Braves beat Marlins 4-3

MIAMI – On a night when neither veteran pitcher had his best stuff in the early innings, Tim Hudson did what he often does. He persevered and got better as the night wore on, retiring the last 16 batters he faced.

Hudson gave up three runs in the first two innings and nothing over the next five in a 4-3 win against Miami on Tuesday at Marlins Park, snapping the Braves’ three-game losing skid and evening the series at a game apiece.

After Jose Reyes’ two-run homer put Miami ahead 3-1 in the second inning, Hudson (9-4) retired all of the remaining batters he faced in seven innings to win his fourth consecutive start against the Marlins.

“I think everybody gets upset and ticked off when things don’t start out the way you want them to,” said Hudson, who allowed five hits and three runs, with one walk and two strikeouts. “I was able to settle down, get some quicker outs, and guys behind me made some great plays and we were able to scratch out one more run there late. It …

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McCann rests Tuesday, Chipper to do so Wednesday

MIAMI — Catcher Brian McCann was out of the Braves lineup for a scheduled rest day Tuesday, and manager Fredi Gonzalez planned to rest Jones in Wednesday afternoon’s series finale against the Marlins.

Gonzalez likes to avoid having both of them out of the lineup the same day whenever he can if the Braves are facing a right-hander. Ricky Nolasco starts Wednesday for Miami against the Braves’  Tommy Hanson.

In Jones’ last 23 games before Tuesday, the third baseman hit .373 with 13 extra-base hits (four homers), 17 RBIs, a .447 OBP and .627 slugging percentage (1.074 OPS). The Braves went 12-11 when he played during that period, and 1-5 when he didn’t.

Saturday game change

The Braves’ game Saturday has been switched from a 4:05 p.m. start to 7:10 p.m., and moved from Fox to SportSouth.

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