Archive for the ‘Notes’ Category

Braves Country Caravan set for Jan. 22-Feb. 2

Braves players and team officials will meet and greet fans and sign autographs when the team’s annual Country Caravan rolls through five states and covers about 3,000 miles from Jan. 22 through Feb. 2.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez and Braves coaches, broadcasters and front-office officials will join players at various stops on the tour, which features free autograph sessions at Academy Sports + Outdoor stores and Taco Mac restaurants, along with community appearances at schools and hospitals.

Details including specific players and other participants and community appearances were still being finalized, and the Braves said those would be announced later. Here’s the itinerary for autograph signings:

Jan. 22 – Cumming, Ga., Taco Mac (12:30-2:30 p.m.) and Academy Sports + Outdoors (3:30-5 p.m.)

Jan. 23 – Atlanta, AT&T store, location and times TBA

Jan. 24 – Columbia, S.C., Academy Sports + Outdoors (730 Fashion Drive), 3:30-5 p.m.

Jan. 25 – Snellville, Ga., Academy Sports + …

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Teheran tops Baseball America’s Top 10 Braves prospect list

For an organization that prides itself on being pitching rich, the Braves saw that reinforced Monday when Baseball America named seven pitchers among its Top 10 Braves prospects for 2013.

1. Julio Teheran, RHP

2. J.R. Graham, RHP

3. Christian Bethancourt C

4. Sean Gilmartin LHP

5. Lucas Sims, RHP

6. Mauricio Cabrera, RHP

7. Alex Wood, LHP

8. Evan Gattis, LF/C

9. Zeke Spruill, RHP

10. Jose Peraza, SS

Teheran, 21, was named the Braves’ top prospect for the third consecutive year. After a dominant 2011 season in Triple-A, he admittedly struggled in his return to Triple-A Gwinnett in 2012, but he’s been back to form in the Dominican Republic this winter. Teheran, who went 7-9 with a 5.08 ERA in 26 starts in Gwinnett last year, is 2-1 with a 3.23 ERA in seven starts this winter for the Licey Tigers.

He hasn’t allowed a run in his past three starts – while giving up only two hits – over 16 2/3 innings. He gave up only one hit, struck out eight and walked none in six innings …

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Braves beef up big-league scouting

NASHVILLE – The Braves shuffled their major league scouting department and hired two veteran scouts, Dave “Doc” Holliday and Brad Sloan, as special assistants to general manager Frank Wren.

Holliday, who spent the past 19 seasons as a Colorado Rockies special assistant, will be assigned to cover the American League. Sloan will be a major league scout for the Braves, after spending the past nine years as a scout with the Los Angeles Angels and six as San Diego Padres scouting director.

The Braves also promoted special assistant Dom Chiti, whose duties will including pitching development and special-assignment scouting.

Chiti was a special assistant/major league scout the past four seasons, but late during the 2012 season he also worked with Braves pitching prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado to help get them back on track. He will do more work like that alongside Braves pitching coaches in the minors and major league pitching coach Roger McDowell.

With Holliday …

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Braves sign catcher Pagnozzi for depth

NASHVILLE — The Braves signed catcher Matt Pagnozzi to a minor league deal and plan to have him serve as Gerald Laird’s backup until starter Brian McCann returns from shoulder surgery.

McCann is expected to miss at least the first two weeks of the season and possibly a month. Laird was signed last month after backup David Ross left the Braves for Boston and a two-year, $6.2 million free-agent contract too good to pass up.

Pagnozzi, 30, is the nephew of former St. Louis Cardinals Gold Glove catcher Tom Pagnozzi, and has spent a decade in minors with a few cups of coffee in the majors with St. Louis, Colorado and Pittsburgh.

He has a .310 average with one homer in 83 plate appearances in 33 major league games, and Pagnozzi is a .220 career hitter with a .300 OBP, 26 homers and 225 RBIs in more than 2100 at-bats in 703 minor league games.

“He’s always been a catch-and-throw guy,” said Braves assistant general manager Bruce Manno, who was with the Cardinals when …

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Braves trade Hanson to Angels, cut ties with Jurrjens

Pitchers Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens have been in career-decline mode since the 2011 All-Star break, and by the end of the day Friday both were ex-Braves.

The Braves traded Hanson to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday for hard-throwing reliever Jordan Walden, and non-tendered Jurrjens before Friday’s deadline for teams to offer contracts to their unsigned arbitration-eligible players.

Atlanta reliever Peter Moylan was also non-tendered. He and Jurrjens are now free agents and the Braves haven’t ruled out re-signing Moylan, perhaps to a minor-league deal.

The Hanson trade clears up more than $3 million in payroll that could help the Braves fill their remaining needs in left field and a couple of bench spots. But general manager Frank Wren said money wasn’t the reason for the trade.

He said it was about opening a rotation spot for one of the Braves young starters. Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado might now compete for the fifth spot in the rotation behind  Kris Medlen, Tim …

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Braves get nearly $20K per man for Wild Card

The Braves only played one game in the postseason, but every player who helped them get there received nearly $20,000 as a share of the players’ postseason pool.

For reaching the Wild Card Game against St. Louis, Braves players got a total of $980,452.04, which they distributed in 46 full shares of $19,609, and four partial shares.

The World Series champion San Francisco Giants handed out 50 full shares of $377,002.64 apiece, topping the previous record of $362,173 per share for the 2006 Cardinals. AL champion Detroit handed out 48 full shares worth $284,274.50.

The players from every postseason team vote how to distribute their portion of the postseason pie, often giving full shares to every player who spent time on the major league roster during the season, along with full or partial shares for some team employees such as clubhouse attendants.

The players’ pool is funded by gate receipts from postseason games, including 50 percent of the receipts from wild card games, 60 …

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Bethancourt among five minor leaguers added to 40-man

The Braves have added five minor leaguers to their 40-man roster, including catching prospect Christian Bethancourt and right-handed pitchers Zeke Spruill, David Hale, Cory Rasmus and Aaron Northcraft.

Being added to the roster prevents them from being taken in the Rule 5 draft, which will be held Dec. 6 at the winter meetings. The Braves 40-man roster stands at 36.

Bethancourt, 21, is considered the Braves catcher of the future, with Brian McCann playing out the option year of his contract in 2013. Bethancourt hit .243 in 71 games for Double-A Mississippi before breaking a bone in his hand and missing the last month of the season. He has returned to form in the Dominican Winter League, where he is hitting .258 (8-for-31) in 12 games.

The Braves signed Gerald Laird as their backup catcher and replacement for David Ross but could turn to the strong-armed Bethancourt to help him fill in for McCann in early April. McCann is expected to miss at least the first couple of weeks of …

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Braves still waiting for Salcedo to flourish

PHOENIX – When the Braves gave Dominican teen Edward Salcedo a $1.6 million signing bonus in 2010, a franchise record for a foreign amateur, they compared it to getting a No. 1 draft pick. They said he was a special player, that he might be ready to take over at shortstop or third base within a few years.

Thirty-three months later, Salcedo has a .240 career average and .694 on-base-plus-slugging percentage with 32 home runs, 156 RBIs and 124 errors in 339 minor-league games, none above the Class-A level.

“It may take him a little longer,” a Braves official said.

He moved full-time to third base and had a modest season at high-A Lynchburg, hitting .240 with a .295 OBP, though he did have 17 homers and 61 RBIs in 130 games. Salcedo was then sent to the Arizona Fall League to compete against many of baseball’s top prospects, including some who already had brief stints in the major leagues.

It did not go well. He finished with a league-worst .140 average and .454 OPS for …

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Ready named Gwinnett Braves manager

The Braves named Randy Ready their new manager for Triple-A Gwinnett, the team announced Monday.

New Gwinnett manager Randy Ready

New Gwinnett manager Randy Ready

Ready will replace Dave Brundage, who left after six years as the Braves’ Triple-A manager (two in Richmond, four in Gwinnett) to take the Triple-A managing job in the Phillies organization in Lehigh Valley.

Ready, 52, comes to the Braves from the Texas Rangers where he served as their minor league hitting coordinator last season. But a majority of his experience comes from his time with the San Diego Padres, where he served as their major league hitting coach from July of 2009 through the 2011 season.

Prior to that, Ready spent six seasons as a minor league manager for the Padres, including 2008 and the first part of 2009 with Triple-A Portland. He is 489-466 as a minor league manager.

Ready is a former major leaguer – primarily playing second and third base – who spent 13 seasons with the Brewers, Padres, Phillies, Athletics and Expos.

“I’m …

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Rehabbing McCann upbeat after surgery

LAWRENCEVILLE – If one didn’t know better, Brian McCann looked as if he might step up to the plate and compete with Chipper Jones and others in the home-run contest Saturday at McCann’s Rally Foundation celebrity softball game at Coolray Field.

But under the softball jersey were scars from Oct. 16 right-shoulder surgery. McCann was left to smile, shake hands and thank all the participants and fans who came out for the annual event to raise funds for childhood cancer research.

“I should probably be wearing [a sling] out here, but I’m being careful, I’m not going to do anything dumb,” he said, then went to have his picture taken with Rally Foundation kids.

Five days after having his $12 million team option for 2013 picked up by the Braves, and less than three weeks since surgery, McCann was more upbeat than during the final months of his career-worst season, when his shoulder was throbbing and he tried to play through it.

He faces about six months of rehab and …

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