Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Bourns shoots for Wednesday return

Braves center fielder Michael Bourn missed his second game with a sore left thumb, but Braves hand specialist Gary Lourie determined on Monday there was no structural damage. The Braves are hopeful he can return to the lineup on Wednesday against the Marlins.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez actually left open the possibility that Bourn might play Tuesday night before deciding to give him one more day.

“Nothing structurally there, no ligament damage, no broken bones, just sore,” Gonzalez said. “But he is getting better…We’re shooting for tomorrow.”

Bourn jammed his thumb sliding head-first into second base in the fourth inning on Saturday in Philadelphia. It wasn’t believed to be serious but there was some concern because Bourn had injured that same thumb before. Gonzalez said Bourn told him he’d had it surgically repaired 10 years ago.

Shortstop Paul Janish is another injury concern of the Braves. He’s rehabbing his left shoulder, which he dislocated on Sept. …

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Braves’ Medlen: ‘Just trying to keep riding this wave’

PHILADELPHIA – His name keeps landing in sentences with the likes of Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Whitey Ford and Warren Spahn, and sometimes Braves pitcher  Kris Medlen pauses and thinks about the remarkable roll he’s on, the conspicuous stats, the legends he’s compared to. He doesn’t pause long, because there’s not much time for that now.

When he’s not running in the outfield before batting practice, working out in the clubhouse gym, throwing a side session or going over video or a scouting report, more and more of Medlen’s between-starts time is taken up by interviews. The witty Southern California native handles those as adroitly as he’s handled hitters, and that’s saying plenty.

The numbers are overwhelming: Medlen is 8-0 with a 0.76 ERA in 10 starts since moving from the bullpen to the Braves’ rotation July 31, and he’s posted a .195 opponents’ average with 72 strikeouts and nine walks in 70-2/3 innings in those games.

In his past seven …

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Bourn hurt doing type of slide he advises against

PHILADELPHIA – Braves center fielder Michael Bourn woke Sunday with a sore and swollen left thumb, after not taking his own advice regarding head-first slides.

Bourn jammed his thumb sliding into second base in the fourth inning of Saturday’s 8-2 win against the Phillies. It’s not believed to be a serious injury, but it kept him out of the lineup Sunday just when the leadoff man has shown signs of emerging from a long slump.

Braves rookie Andrelton Simmons recently returned from an eight-week stint on the disabled list after breaking his hand on a head-first slide, and Jason Heyward was slowed during his stellar rookie season by a thumb injury following a head-first slide.

“I know, and that’s what I tell them all the time – don’t slide head-first,” Bourn said Sunday, shaking his head as he sat on a couch in the visitor’s clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park, his left thumb and hand in an ice wrap. “And look what I did. Sliding head-first.”

Braves trainers …

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Chipper discusses play-in game — ‘It’s stupid’ — and Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA – Chipper Jones sat at his locker stall, wearing his customary four pairs of sliding shorts, a can of Skoal on his left thigh, stuffed between layers of stretch fabric. He was surrounded by more than a dozen reporters in a scene that’s become familiar the first day into each city on the Chipper Farewell Tour.

Chipper, a Philadelphia writer asked, since you’re playing so well this year, having any second thoughts about retiring?

“Did you see me walk in here?” Jones said, smiling. It was a reference to the gingerly walk he’d made across the clubhouse minutes before. “I’m in a lot of pain today, and it’s time. I’m happy that I’ve played well and I’m happy that I’ve produced, but it’s time to go. So the answer to your question is no.”

Of course, he hopes it’s not quite time. The retiring third baseman wants to play baseball for about six more weeks, right up through the World Series, if the Braves can get into the postseason and win a …

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With playoffs near, Braves hope Bourn gets back in groove

PHILADELPHIA – With only 12 games left to play in the regular season, Braves leadoff man Michael Bourn knows it’s getting late for him to get it going again, to restore the lineup spark he provided most of the first four months.

He doubled and scored in the first inning of Wednesday’s 3-0 win at Miami – just his second extra-base hit in 29 games — and the Braves hope it was a sign of things to come. But he also struck out twice and has piled up 13 strikeouts in 30 at-bats over his past eight games, with only three hits and three walks in nine games as his slump deepened.

The Braves are winning anyway, but that has more to do with their pitching and occasional timely hits from others. They’re 10-4 with a 2.38 ERA in their past 14 games, including six wins when they scored three runs or fewer. To put it bluntly, they’re winning lately despite Bourn’s performance atop the lineup, after winning for much of the season because of it.

After hitting .304 in his first 94 …

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Series preview: Braves at Phillies

Series preview: Braves at Phillies

When (TV): 7:05 p.m. Friday (WPCH), 4:05 p.m. Saturday (Fox), 1:35 p.m. Sunday (FSSO).

Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5

Probable starting pitchers:

Friday: Braves RH Tommy Hanson (12-8, 4.33 ERA) vs. RH Kyle Kendrick (9-11, 3.95)

Saturday: Braves LH Mike Minor (9-10, 4.31) vs. RH Roy Halladay (10-7, 4.03)

Sunday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (15-6, 3.77) vs. LH Cliff Lee (6-7, 3.27)

About the Braves:

Batting:.Chipper Jones has hit .332 with 49 homers, 151 RBIs and a 1.041 OPS in 243 games vs. the Phillies, including .325 with three homers and seven RBIs in 11 games this season. The homer total matches his output vs. the Mets as his most against any team, and includes two walk-off homers this year…. Dan Uggla is 13-for-41 (.317) with two homers, eight RBIs, eight strikeouts and a .440 OBP in his past 12 games, after batting .151 with seven homers, 27 RBIs, 90 strikeouts and a .299 OBP in 77 games over a three-month span through Aug. 6.

Pitching: Hanson is …

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Braves’ Janish returns to Atlanta after shoulder injury

MIAMI – While shortstop Andrelton Simmons was out of the lineup Wednesday for the second game on a row with a sore left shoulder, backup shortstop Paul Janish returned to Atlanta to have his left shoulder examined by a Braves specialist.

Janish dislocated the shoulder while making a diving defensive play in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 10-inning loss to the Marlins. The Braves hope he can avoid surgery and be ready to play if they advance to the postseason.

“He can’t see a doctor until [Thursday], so we won’t know anything until the evening,” said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose Braves have a day off Thursday in Philadelphia before a three-game weekend series with the Phillies. “They’ll do all the tests, whether it’s an MRI, X-ray, whatever they’ve got to do…. He won’t play for a while. It’s significant.”

Gonzalez said Simmons could be back in the lineup by Friday. Martin Prado moved from left field to make his ninth start at shortstop in …

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Prado, the most versatile and patient Brave, finishing strong

MIAMI – He went 4-for-4 with two RBIs in the Braves’ 7-5 win against the Marlin on Monday to raise his team-best batting average to .303, and three of Martin Prado’s four hits came with two strikes.

This was not unusual for the most versatile – and patient — Brave, who swings at fewer first pitches than any National League hitter, and has a higher two-strike batting average (.281) than anyone in the majors except Washington’s Jayson Werth (.298).

“He doesn’t have to cheat [on a pitch] and he protects the plate,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He’s not afraid to take a strike, any situation. Bases loaded, sometimes you’re thinking, ambush him right here [on first pitch]. But he’ll take strike 1, and then still come up and get a big hit.”

Prado swings at only 8.3 percent of first pitches. By contrast, teammate Freddie Freeman swings at 45.2 percent of first pitches, second-most in the NL.

In three of his four at-bats Monday, Prado took first-pitch …

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400th HR, ‘97 LCS … Chipper has many Marlins memories

MIAMI – The Marlins began playing major league baseball the same year that Chipper Jones did in 1993, and no hitter has done quite as much damage against them as the Braves third baseman. He leads the Marlins’ opponents’ career lists in almost every major hitting category, including hits (256), doubles (47), home runs (40) and RBIs (165).

They won’t have to – or get to — watch him add to those totals after the three-game series that began Monday at Marlins Park, Jones’ last against Miami. The 40-year-old Braves icon is retiring after the season.

“He was always beating us,” said baseball Hall of Famer Tony Perez, a longtime Marlins special assistant. “He’d come up and always get the big home run or the big hit. He’s a gamer. I’ll be waiting for him [at Cooperstown, N.Y.] in five years. Everybody’s trying to get his autograph. I said I’ll wait till he’s signing it with the ‘HOF’.”

Most Hall of Famers add those letters to their signature after …

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Braves complete first sweep of Nats since ‘09 – updated

The math still says the Braves probably aren’t going to win the National League East, but after they completed a three-game sweep of the Nationals with a 5-1 win on ESPN Sunday night, their hearts are back in it.

“After what happened last year with us, we know anything can happen, so this put us back in the hunt a little bit,” said second baseman Dan Uggla, who did his part with a game-breaking two-run single in the seventh. “We are still going to need some magic, but there’s still time so we’ll see what happens.”

The Braves are within 5 ½ games of the Nationals with 15 games to play. The Nationals have 16 games left, and all 16 are against teams still contending in the wild card: the Dodgers, Brewers, Phillies and Cardinals.

The Braves are in pretty good fallback position too, leading St. Louis by seven games for the first of two wild card spots. The Braves’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot is eight. Even if they don’t find a way past the Nationals …

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