Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Hudson hopes for extension, wants to finish as Brave

He’s Southern through and through, and Braves pitcher Tim Hudson would like to keep it here for the rest of his career.

The Braves are expected to pick up a $9 million team option on Hudson’s contract for 2013, relatively inexpensive for a pitcher of his pedigree. But at age 37, it’s uncertain what kind of contract the team might offer beyond next season.

“I’d love to stay here,” said Hudson, a native of Phenix City, Ala., and former Auburn star who’s been with the Braves for eight seasons. “Obviously for next year, but I’d love to stay here as long as they’ll have me. I understand a business is a business.”

Hudson is 10-1/2 months removed from major back surgery and barely a week removed from his seventh season of at least 16 wins. He opened the season on the disabled list recovering from lumbar-fusion surgery and made 28 starts (second-fewest since his rookie year), but Hudson (16-7) still led the Braves in wins and pitched 179-1/3 innings — one-third of an inning behind …

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Braves extend GM Wren, promote assistants

Before the Braves begin to reshape their roster this offseason, they reaffirmed those who would be making the decisions. The Braves have extended general manager Frank Wren’s contract through 2014, the team announced Friday morning.

Wren has been in that role for the past five seasons and in the Braves front office for 13. He was first hired as an assistant general manager in October of 1999.

The Braves also promoted two of Wren’s top assistants. Bruce Manno was promoted from assistant general manager and director of player development to vice president and assistant general manager/player development. Manno has been in the assistant general manager’s role for five seasons and began overseeing the Braves minor league system last season.

John Coppolella, who was the Braves director of professional scouting, was promoted to assistant general manager. Coppolella has been in baseball operations for the Braves for six seasons.

“These changes are a reflection of the good work and …

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Heyward is finalist for Hank Aaron Award

Jason Heyward, who caught the ceremonial first pitch from Hank Aaron on Opening Day in 2010, is now a finalist for the annual award named for the Braves legend.

The right fielder is Atlanta’s finalist for the 2012 Hank Aaron Award, which recognizes the most outstanding offensive player in each league.

In his third major league season, Heyward hit .269 and led the Braves with 63 extra-base hits and 27 home runs while setting career-highs in RBIs (82) and stolen bases (21). He had a .335 on-base percentage and .479 slugging percentage, including .345 and .530 marks in road games.

“I think Jason probably matured as a player more than anyone I’ve seen in a long time,” said Braves general manager Frank Wren, adding that the team considered Heyward “probably the best right fielder out there.”

The Aaron award winner in each league will be chosen by a combination of fan voting and a panel of Hall of Famers including Aaron, Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan and Robin Yount. Fan …

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Braves ‘emptiness’ after Wild Card loss; infield fly debated

The morning after their crushing 6-3 loss to St. Louis in the Wild Card game, Braves players and team officials were back at Turner Field on Saturday morning, the players cleaning out lockers and saying goodbyes while discussing a range of topics including the controversial infield-fly call in Friday’s game.

It was the topic du jour in baseball, the ruling by left-field umpire Sam Holbrook in the eighth inning Friday, on Andrelton Simmons’ pop-up that landed 60 feet into left field.

With the Braves trailing 6-3 and runners at first and second, Simmons’ fly ball drifted back and fell between Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday and shortstop Pete Kozma. Each had backed off at the last moment so the other could take it, but  neither did.

When the ball landed, a crowd of more than 52,000 roared. The Braves and their fans figured they’d now have the bases loaded with pinch-hitter Brian McCann coming up. Finally, something had gone the way of the Braves, whose three errors had led to …

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Cards oust Braves 6-3 in controversy-marred game

What had been a magical year for Chipper Jones and the Braves reverted to postseason heartache Friday. Kris Medlen, the pitcher who couldn’t lose, lost. And to cap their disappointing night, a Braves rally in the eighth inning was thwarted by a questionable infield-fly ruling.

The Braves made three errors, none more costly than Jones’ errant throw in the three-run fourth inning of 6-3 loss to St. Louis in the first National League Wild Card game before an overflow crowd at Turner Field.

The Cardinals advanced to a Division Series against Washington that starts Sunday, while the Braves were eliminated from the playoffs and left to stew about making so many mistakes in their biggest game of the year. And to wonder what might have been if not for that umpire’s call in the eighth.

“I’m not willing to say that call cost us the ballgame,” said Jones, who went 1-for-5 in the last game of his storied career, the hit an infield single in the ninth inning. “Our three errors cost us …

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More day games in Division Series; Braves set WC roster – updated

If the Braves advance to the Division Series, the first two games would be day games at Turner Field on Sunday (3:07 p.m.) and Monday (4:37 p.m.).

Major League Baseball announced starting times for division series games in both leagues through Tuesday. The Braves and Cardinals will play the National League Wild Card game today at Turner Field at 5:07 p.m., with the winner advancing to face the Washington Nationals in a Division Series.

The best-of-five division series for this year only will follow a 2-3 format, with home-field advantage translating to the final three games (if the series goes the full five) being played in Washington. In the future, baseball plans to go back to the 2-2-1 format and start the series in the city of the team with home-field advantage.

Roster watch

The Braves announced their 25-man roster for tonight’s game, which includes nine pitchers and 16 position players.

Pitchers include left-handers Luis Avilan, Eric O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Mike …

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Ross gets playoff start over Braves catcher McCann

Seven years after then-rookie catcher Brian McCann hit a three-run homer off Roger Clemens in his first postseason at-bat, he won’t be in the Braves lineup when they play St. Louis in Friday’s National League Wild Card playoff game.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez announced  that veteran backup David Ross would start the Braves’ first postseason game since 2010 instead of McCann, who’s been slowed by a shoulder injury for much of a career-worst season.

“It’s one of those things where you feel [Ross] gives you a good chance to win a ballgame,” said Gonzalez, adding that McCann would play if the Braves win the Wild Card game and advance to a best-of-five division series against Washington. “I talked to him [Wednesday]. It was a good conversation. He understood. It’s tough for both of us, but he understood.

“Mac is a very important piece to our team, and he’s a warrior and he battles. But you feel that with Rossy back there, again, for one game.…”

McCann was an All-Star each of his …

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Braves tune up for Wild Card with shutout at ‘Burgh

PITTSBURGH – Before putting their 162nd and final regular-season game in the books Wednesday, Braves players got chill bumps watching the first-inning adieu of retiring pitcher Ben Sheets and the sixth-inning farewell to another city by retiring icon Chipper Jones.

They finished a 4-0 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Braves’ 94th of the season, and looked ahead to drama that awaits Friday at Turner Field, where they’ll face the St. Louis Cardinals in what amounts to a Wild Card death match – one game to determine who advances to a division series against Washington, and who goes home.

“You win 94 games, a lot of teams win the division with that,” Jones said. “I certainly think we played well enough to win the division this year, but Washington just played a little bit better. We’ve got to get over this one-game playoff thing to give ourselves a legitimate shot at what we were all shooting for out of spring training.”

After the Nationals clinched the National …

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Aching Chipper out of lineup for last reg-season game

PITTSBURGH – Chipper Jones knew plenty of people traveled to Pittsburgh to see him play in the retiring third baseman’s last regular-season game Wednesday. His heart said yes, his body said no, so he compromised.

Jones was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game since playing a season-high seven in a row, but he got a pinch-hit single in the sixth-inning Wednesday. He finished with a .287 season average and a .303 career average, and  hopes to have his achy body feeling better before the Braves host the Wild Card game against St. Louis at 5:07 p.m. Friday.

“I’m not healthy. I need some time,” Jones said Wednesday morning. “Knees, back… I just really needed some time. I expected to play today, or at least give it the old spring training try, a couple of at-bats and whatnot. But I’d much rather have the time off. And have tomorrow off, work out at the stadium. Have three or four solid days off before Friday, because usually when I take a day or two, 36-48 hours, I …

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Braves’ Medlen repeats as NL Pitcher of the Month

PITTSBURGH – After winning the National League Pitcher of the Month award for August in his first month in the Braves’ starting rotation, Kris Medlen underscored his run of remarkable pitching by winning the award again Tuesday.

Medlen was named NL Pitcher of the Month for September, becoming the first to win the award in consecutive months since Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez in April-May 2010, and the first Brave since Greg Maddux in June-July 2001.

He is 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA in 12 starts this season since moving from the bullpen to the rotation on July 31, and Medlen was 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in six September starts, collecting 46 strikeouts with only five walks in 43 innings. He had a career-high 12 strikeouts in a five-hit complete game against the Rockies on Sept. 3, then beat that mark with 13 strikeouts in seven innings against Washington on Sept. 14.

“Obviously he’s well deserving,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said of the repeat NL pitcher award. “He’s been just that …

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