Archive for the ‘Notes’ Category

Heyward wins Braves’ first Gold Glove since ‘07

For the first time in five years, gold has returned to the Braves outfield.

Jason Heyward won the Gold Glove Award for National League right fielders on Tuesday, the first Brave to win a Gold Glove since outfielders Andruw Jones and Jeff Francoeur won in 2007.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and the entire Atlanta starting outfield were nominated for Gold Gloves this year, with Martin Prado among the finalists in left field and Michael Bourn in center. Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez won in left and Pittsburgh’s Andruw McCutchen in center, denying Bourn what would’ve been his third Gold Glove in four years.

Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche, a former Brave, beat out Freeman and Cincinnati’s Joey Votto.

The win by Heyward, 23, was no surprise. He already won the Fielding Bible Award as the majors’ best right fielder for 2012. That award was based solely on statistical analysis, while the Gold Glove awards are determined in voting by major league managers and coaches.

“He’s …

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Gold Glove finalists: Freeman, entire Braves OF

The Braves have four Gold Glove Award finalists including the team’s entire starting outfield.

Center fielder Michael Bourn, right fielder Jason Heyward and left fielder Martin Prado are finalists at their respective positions along with Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Winners will be named at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday during an hour-long Gold Glove show on ESPN2.

Cincinnati led the majors with six finalists, while the Braves had the second-most among NL teams. There were three finalists at each NL position except shortstop, where four were named.

Prado played five different positions in 2012 but was nominated at left field, where he made 111 starts and played in 119 games. He also started 20 games at third base, 11 at shortstop, eight at second base and four at first base.

Heyward won the  2012 Fielding Bible Award as the best defensive right fielder in the major leagues based on statistical analysis. He’s up against Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre …

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Reminiscing with Lemke about 1991 World Series

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Lemmer gets mobbed after scoring winning run in bottom of the ninth in Game 4

With the World Series set to begin between the Tigers and Giants, thought I would share excerpts from a recent interview I did with former Brave Mark Lemke, one of the heroes of the 1991 Braves World Series team that charmed this city and re-defined the course of this franchise. That was the first of a record 14 straight division titles won by the Braves.

On Lemke’s poignant memories from that postseason:

“The biggest thing that sticks out to me obviously is the final catch when we finally clinched. David Justice catching the ball, (John) Smoltz and (Greg) Olson (embracing), that kind of stuff sticks out, and obviously the great pitching up in Pittsburgh by (Steve) Avery and Smoltz. But the thing that sticks out the most to me was how packing your bags was surreal for that trip to Pittsburgh because the trip continued on if you win. And we were down three games to two. I’m not saying you don’t think …

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The top 5 World Series of all time

Years later during an interleague series at Minnesota, retired Jack Morris and the Braves' John Smoltz discussed their 1991 Game 7 matchup that was one of the greatest in World Series history. (AP photo)

Years later during an interleague series at Minnesota, retired Jack Morris and the Braves' John Smoltz discussed their 1991 Game 7 matchup that was one of the greatest in World Series history. (AP photo)

I’m sure there will be plenty of disagreement, but here’s how I rank the top five World Series. Let me know how you’d rank ‘em, if you’d put another series or two in the top five instead of any of these and why.

5. 1972: Athletics over Reds in seven games

The budding “Big Red Machine” was favored; the Oakland A’s played without injured Reggie Jackson. But unheralded Gene Tenace, with five homers in the season, hit four in the World Series and two in a 3-2 opening victory. The A’s led the series 3-1 before Pete Rose sparked a 5-4 victory in Game 5. Cincinnati took Game 6 before Catfish Hunter won in relief in a 3-2 Game 7.

4. 1924: Senators over Giants in seven

Washington won the first and only World Series title for the nation’s capital, despite losing both of Walter “Big …

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McCann: Could miss 4-5 months for shoulder surgery

Braves catcher Brian McCann struggled mightily with an injured shoulder for the last two months of his career-worst season, and the former six-time All-Star said Saturday that he’ll probably need surgery that could require up to four or five months of recovery.

That could affect his availability for spring training and the start of the 2013 season.

The midseason diagnosis by a Braves specialist was a frayed labrum and cyst in his throwing shoulder, but McCann will have a dye-contrast MRI within a week to determine the full extent of the damage before doctors determine a course of treatment.

“We already basically know what is going to happen, what needs to happen,” McCann said. “I think it’s going to be [a matter of] how long I’m out for. Could be a couple of months, it could be a little more than that. Could be four or five months. We’ll see what happens. We’ll find out. I can’t really say right now, but I’m pretty sure surgery.”

McCann made $11.5 million in the final year of …

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Freeman to consider Lasik; Hinske says good-byes

Freddie Freeman plans to use the offseason to rest his sore finger and to weigh the option of having Lasik surgery on his eyes.

Freeman just turned 23 and is two or three years away from an age where doctors typically recommend Lasik. Freeman also watched Brian McCann struggle with his own outcome from Lasik surgery in recent years. But Freeman, who started having vision problems in the dry air of Colorado during a series against the Rockies in May, said he continued to have problems right up until Friday’s game against the Cardinals.

“It’s just so frustrating,” Freeman said. “Even (Friday) I went in after my first at-bat; I put three new contacts in my left eye. It’s just really frustrating because I can’t get it to where it’s comfortable every single day.”

Freeman said he plans to have two more cortisone shots in his index finger, which he injured in June in Miami after getting hit by a Jose Reyes throw sliding into second base. He said with rest it should be OK by the time …

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Defense fails Braves in wild-card playoff

Chipper Jones nailed it early on with this Braves team – they are either really good or the Bad News Bears show up. A one-game wild card playoff was the worst possible time for the worst-case scenario, but that’s what the Braves were left to face.

One false move in a one-game playoff can spell doom. The Braves made three of them in a 6-3 loss to the Cardinals. A Braves team that lead the National League in fielding percentage this season (.986) and allowed a league-low 86 errors committed three throwing errors Friday night leading to four unearned runs.

“What hurts (is) lead the league in fielding percentage all year long and today we didn’t handle the ball quite the way we’ve done,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “…We didn’t handle the baseball like we have. It’s something we’re proud of the last couple of years here defensively. And it came back and bit us.”

Jones was the reluctant ringleader, making the first of three Braves throwing errors in the game. Dan Uggla …

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Braves’ Medlen glad to face Cardinals in Wild Card

Braves players don’t like the new do-or-die Wild Card playoff game that effectively reduces a 162-game season into one nine-inning contest to determine which team advances to a postseason series.

But if they were destined to play in the first-ever Wild Card game, the Braves were glad the opponent would be St. Louis.

“I’m excited to get a chance to face these guys,” said Braves pitcher Kris Medlen, who makes his first postseason start Friday night against St. Louis, after 9-0 with an 0.97 ERA in 12 starts since moving from the bullpen on July 31. “ It’s fitting that it’s them, especially with how they caught us last year and they did their thing last year.”

A year ago, back when only one wild-card team from each league advanced to the postseason, the Cardinals trailed Atlanta by 10-1/2 games in the wild-card standings after the games on Aug. 25. Five weeks later, they overtook the Braves on the final night of the season, completing a 23-9 run after Aug. 25 while the Braves went …

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Uggla back in lineup; no red jerseys Friday

PITTSBURGH — Two days of rest and ice reduced swelling in the right hand of Dan Uggla, who returned to the lineup Wednesday and had an RBI single and a walk in four plate appearances.

The second baseman missed two games after waking Monday with swelling around staples that held together a cut near the first knuckle. He got the cut during the Braves’ postgame celebration after they clinched a wild-card playoff berth last week, when he reached into a cooler and apparently sliced his hand on a glass someone had dropped inside.

As for the swelling, Uggla didn’t know what caused that, though team trainers said it was probably the flight from Atlanta Sunday night.

“I have no idea,” said Uggla, who had the staples removed Tuesday. “All I know is when I work up Monday morning it was swollen and sore…. Anytime there’s swelling like that, there’s always a concern that it could be infected. And the last thing you want is for the infection to go into the joint or whatever. But that wasn’t …

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Chipper stays in lineup for 7th consecutive start

PITTSBURGH — After playing every inning of the eventful, emotion-filled six-game homestand that ended Sunday, Chipper Jones was back in the lineup Monday for his season-high seventh consecutive start, to the surprise of some.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez had said Sunday that he might rest the 40-year-old retiring third baseman Monday because “for me, you’re borderline putting him in a situation where he could get hurt.”

But he added at that time, “I’ve been known to get talked out of those things as you well know with him.”

Jones didn’t have to do much persuading.

“I need to see a lefty today,” the switch-hitter said, referring to Jeff Locke, who started Monday and was the only Pirates lefty scheduled to pitch in the series. “I’m not feeling real good at the plate, and I need to get a couple of [at-bats] off of a lefty. It’ll be my last chance before Friday.

“I’ll probably take tomorrow [off].”

Gonzalez said he and Jones discussed the situation Sunday night. Jones had not started …

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