Archive for July, 2012

Braves waiting on Dempster, considering other options

MIAMI – With the trade deadline a week away, the Ryan Dempster watch continued Tuesday as the Braves waited for the veteran Cubs pitcher to approve or veto a proposed trade that would bring him to Atlanta.

Dempster told Chicago reporters that he would take his time to make up his mind, and it’s believed he was delaying the decision in hopes that the Los Angeles Dodgers would make the Cubs an acceptable offer for the right-hander, who is 5-4 with a majors-leading 2.11 ERA in 15 starts.

The Braves would likely send rookie right-hander Randall Delgado to the Cubs in the proposed deal.

Dempster, 35, ranked the Dodgers first and the Braves second on his list of desirable places among teams that have expressed trade interest. His best friend in baseball is Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly, and a person familiar with the situation said Dempster was drawn to the Dodgers by their friendship and the chance to have his family – he and his wife have three young children – closer to his …

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Uggla’s slide continues; Minor makes some strides

MIAMI – While waiting for Ryan Dempster to approve or veto a trade to the Braves — I think he would have approved it Monday if he’d not been so surprised and perhaps miffed that news of the deal got leaked – let’s go over a few other pertinent matters facing the Braves as they try to end a three-game skid and get as many wins as they can in five games before they have to play again on Monday.

Yes, 0-12 record on Mondays, and 18 total runs scored in those games for the Bravos. Remarkable. The latest loss was Monday, a 2-1 defeat that got interesting in the ninth inning.

The Braves hope to get Dempster to help them reach playoffs. (And maybe he can win a Monday game for them, too....)

The Braves hope to get Dempster to help them reach playoffs. (And maybe he could even win a Monday game for them, too….)

But there isn’t much for me to add about that statistical oddity. Other than, it’s gone from odd to absurd. I mean, the Braves don’t have a losing record on any other day, and are 0-12 on Mondays. Next Monday game for the Braves is in six days against these same Marlins, who …

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Braves quotes after Monday’s loss to Marlins

**FREDI GONZALEZ

On that ump Laz Diaz said about Heyward GIDP in 9th (replays showed Heyward safe; Gonzalez was ejected)

“He just said he was out.”

On not scoring after leadoff walks in 7th and 8th

“We had some chances. We had some opportunities and they made the pitch and made the plays.”

On Minor’s performance

“Minor was terrific. That first one that Carlos [Lee] hit, he gets him out in front on a breaking pitch and he bloops it in there. And they get first and third [with none out in the first] and he got a double play and got out of the inning.”

“He was outstanding. He really was. Most of the night when you hold the opposition to two runs you’ve got a chance to come out of their with a victory, and today we just couldn’t mount any attack against [Josh Johnson].”

On Johnson’s performance

“We have a majority left-handed team — and pretty good left-handed hitters — and they’re coming back shaking their heads. With the fastball command on both …

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Braves remain winless (0-12) on Mondays

MIAMI – Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson knows where he can usually turn for a pick-me-up. The big right-hander has almost always found facing the Braves to his liking, and did again Monday night.

Far less accomplished pitchers have prospered against these Braves on Mondays.

Johnson allowed one hit in six otherwise perfect innings in a 2-1 series-opening win at Marlins Park, keeping the Braves winless on Mondays in 2012.

They have an almost unfathomable 0-12 record on the first day of the week, and have total 18 runs in those games. The Braves have a winning record every other day except Sunday (8-8).

Manager Fredi Gonzalez was ejected for arguing in the ninth inning when Jason Heyward grounded into a double play with two on and none out. Replays appeared to show that Heyward was safe. Chipper Jones followed with an RBI single to avert the shutout before Freddie Freeman flied out to end the game.

“We didn’t get the call on a pretty obvious call at first base that really cost …

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Uggla lugs slump into matchup with former team

MIAMI — The Braves and Dan Uggla hope this weeks’ series against his old Marlins team will help the second baseman snap out of his alarming slump.

Uggla had a two-homer, five-RBI game against the Marlins at Miami on June 5. His slump began the next day, and he was hitting just .121 (15-for-124) with a meager .185 slugging percentage in his past 38 games before Monday’s series opener at Miami.

During that dreadful stretch, Uggla had two doubles, two homers, 27 walks (.305 OBP) and 51 strikeouts in 124 at-bats.

Against the Marlins, he had seven homers, 20 RBIs and a .511 slugging percentage in 23 games since they traded him to Braves after the 2010 season. Uggla was 14-for-46 (.304) with four homers, 12 RBIs and a .396 OPB in his past 12 games against them before Monday.

Etc.

Braves backup shortstop Jack Wilson began an injury-rehab assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday, eight days after going on the 15-day disabled list with a dislocated pinkie finger on his throwing …

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Braves recall Constanza from Triple-A

MIAMI – While wait to see if Matt Diaz will require potentially season-ending thumb surgery, the Braves recalled outfielder Jose Constanza from Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday for his second stint with the major league team this year.

Right-handed reliever Anthony Varvaro, who has a 5.40 ERA in 12 appearances, was optioned to Triple-A to open a roster spot.

Constanza hit .324 with a .386 on-base percentage and 11 stolen bases in 71 games at Gwinnett, and had a 22-game hitting streak snapped last week.

“He was swinging it pretty good down there,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He gives us a chance to defend, if we want to, late in the game. Say you don’t want to run [Eric] Hinske out there [in the outfield]. He can pinch-run off the bench.”

The Braves could’ve used a right-handed bat to fill in for Diaz, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday. But they didn’t have any other outfielders on the 40-man roster at Gwinnett who fit the bill or were …

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Braves trying to complete trade for pitcher Dempster

MIAMI – The Braves had a trade in place for veteran Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster on Monday, but are waiting for the major league ERA leader to approve the deal.

Dempster told the Cubs last week that he was open to a trade to one of several teams pursuing him, and the Braves were reportedly second on his preferred list behind the Dodgers. The Dodgers wouldn’t trade a prized prospect the Cubs wanted in a proposed deal.

When several media outlets reported a Braves-Cubs trade for Dempster was done Monday, Dempster and Cubs manager Dale Sveum said the reports were innacurate. The pitcher didn’t elaborate on whether there was no deal in place or just that he’d not approved of it yet, but ESPN.com reported that he felt “blindsided” after news of the deal got leaked.

It was also reported that Braves rookie right-hander Randall Delgado was in the trade, although neither team would confirm.

Dempster has trade-veto rights as a 10-and-5 player — a veteran with at least 10 years of major …

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Author recounts Braves’ 1957 World Series victory

In the words of Casey Stengel, Milwaukee was a minor-league city. A bush-league town, if you will.

So when the Milwaukee Braves upset the mighty New York Yankees in the 1957 World Series, one fan seized on the opportunity to make Stengel remember his words. His sign read “Bushville Wins” and was a part of the celebration of the memorable seven-game series. The Braves became the first team to win the World Series after relocating, a move they made from Boston in 1953.

The story of that series in the subject of a book by author John Klima entitled ‘Bushville Wins: The wild sage of the 1957 Milwaukee Brewers and the Screwballs, Sluggers and Beer Swiggers Who Canned the New York Yankees and Changed Baseball.’

“I felt that it was one of the great untold stories of baseball history,” Klima said during a recent visit to Turner Field. “I also felt that it was story that needed to be told about a town, a team and a time. I also felt it should be told the true way. A lot …

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Venters sharp in return from disabled list

Washington – Reliever Jonny Venters pitched two scoreless innings Sunday in his first action since returning from the disabled list for an elbow impingement. It was a welcome sign in an otherwise rough day.

Venters allowed only two baserunners – one on an error and one on a single – while coaxing five groundballs, which is a good sign for a pitcher who’s struggled much of the season with patented sinkerball. Of his 21 pitches, 15 were strikes. He struck out two and had one wild pitch.

“I felt pretty good all the way around mechanically, physically,” Venters said. “Getting the groundballs is really what tells what my stuff is doing. Any time I can go out there and get some swings early in the count and some groundballs, I feel like I’m doing something right mechanically.”

Venters, who was an uncharacteristic 3-3 with a 4.45 ERA in 40 appearances on the season, said he felt as good on the mound as he had since April.

“It was definitely the best I’ve felt in a …

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Nats rough up Jurrjens to claim series split

Washington - After a four-game odyssey in about 45 hours against the first-place Nationals, the Braves are right back where they started.

In a pivotal game Sunday – the difference between a series victory and negating the momentum built in winning the first two games – the Braves got little help from Jair Jurrjens in a 9-2 loss to the Nationals.

He was roughed up for six runs in 2 1/3 innings including two home runs by Ryan Zimmerman.

The Braves came to Nationals Park with a 3 ½ game deficit in the NL East and that’s how they’ll leave, heading for Miami for the start of a three-game series.

“We’ve struggled with our consistency because we’ve struggled at the end of our rotation, and you saw it today,” said Chipper Jones, who went 5-for-13 with a home run and five RBIs in the series. “It’s a little demoralizing when you’re in a dogfight for the division and you’re constantly fighting from behind.”

The Braves nearly came full circle. After rallying …

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