How long can Braves keep extending Troy Glaus’s lifeline?

Troy Glaus, seen here backing away from a pitch Monday night, has not been a picture of comfort at the plate since May.

Troy Glaus, here backing away from a pitch, hasn't been picture of comfort at plate since May ended.

There have been times in Troy Glaus’ career when he has dropped into a horrendous slump and, like any other athlete wallowing at the intersection of Desperate and Irrational, he sought answers in something more metaphysical than a flawed batting stance.

So he changed how he drove to the stadium.

“I’d drive a different way in the past,” Glaus said Monday. “But here in Atlanta, I still don’t know how to get around that well, so I’ve got to stick to the one route I know.”

Glaus is ahead of Nate McLouth. At least the Braves haven’t told him to Mapquest directions to their Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett like they did McLouth last week. But a change to Glaus’ status as the team’s starting first baseman can’t be that far away.

The Braves returned home Monday night and got well. They dumped the New York Mets 4-1. Glaus had little to do with it, although an early walk and a single (followed by two strikeouts) almost was worthy of a parade. He’s 15 for 90 (.167) since June 28.

Before we delve any further into the ugliness, understand something: This season is different. They have the look of a postseason team for the first time in five years. They are playing with an aggressiveness and purpose like we haven’t witnessed since the early 1990s.

Bringing up Freddie Freeman from Gwinnett is one option for the Braves at first base. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Bringing up rookie Freddie Freeman from Gwinnett is one option for the Braves at first base. (Jason Getz/AJC)

They also are operating differently off the field. In past years, a starter like McLouth never would’ve been sent to the minors, possibly to not be seen again until rosters expand in September (if then). He would’ve been kept in the majors longer to work out his problems. It was the Braves’ way.

In past years, the Yunel Escobar-for-Alex Gonzalez shortstop swap might not have been made. Even if Escobar had become a headache to some team members, this team never has been about dealing a younger, more talented starter

Another possible replacement is Eric Hinske, who's hitting .271 with 40 RBI in 88 games.

Another possible replacement is outfielder Eric Hinske, who's hitting .271 with 40 RBI in 88 games. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

(after only one bad half-season) for an older and more stable veteran. Even the deadline acquisitions of Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth hinted at rare a sense of urgency.

In short: The Braves are not nearly as patient as they used to be.

There’s only one reason Glaus has been extended a lifeline: He was unconscious in May. He hit .330 with six homers and 28 RBI in 28 games. He went from the dubious signing of winter to a career highlight on general manager Frank Wren’s resume.

But now, May is looking like an aberration. His batting average in July: .182. His season average, excluding May: .209. He hasn’t hit a home run since June 19. He has six RBIs in the last 33 games.

The problem isn’t just that Eric Hinske and prospect Freddie Freeman look like more attractive options. The problem is that anybody in the stadium looks better.

Glaus said he isn’t injured. He said he doesn’t feel worn down: “I feel good. I feel fine. There’s no issue there.”

Hitting coach Terry Pendleton counters: “He’s tired. He has said that. He may not say that to you, but this time of year everybody has a little fatigue in him.”

Glaus is aware of the extremes. It’s impossible to hit .330 in one month and .237 and .182 in the next two and be oblivious. But he said it’s not unusual for him to struggle in the middle of the season and rebound in the last two.

He rejects any suggestions that his age (34 today) makes a late-season rebound unlikely. “Everybody goes through swoons at some point,” he said.

Adjustments?

“I’ve had the same swing since I was five years old,” he said. “Maybe it’s a timing issue. Maybe it’s a pitch selection issue at this point. There are so many variables in having a successful at-bat.”

Pendleton worked with him in the cage before Monday’s game. He determined Glaus was “closing off his stride to the point where he couldn’t get his hips open. It was almost like he was diving over the plate to the ball.”

That’s not the only place he’s diving.

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Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

208 comments Add your comment

Fan since 1977

August 2nd, 2010
10:14 pm

All aboard the Hey-Train

August 2nd, 2010
10:14 pm

All aboard the Hey-Train

August 2nd, 2010
10:14 pm

ugh so close!

Fan since 1977

August 2nd, 2010
10:16 pm

Oh, God, TP worked with him in the cage before the game? That’s the kiss of death.

Benjamin

August 2nd, 2010
10:19 pm

He had a hit and a walk tonight. Didn’t look too good at first — both of Huddy’s “errors” were his fault, imo — but at least he had some different results at the plate.

Jeff Schultz

August 2nd, 2010
10:22 pm

Man, you guys are fast. AJC needs you on deadline.

Greg Norton

August 2nd, 2010
10:22 pm

Did you say you need a first baseman?

cattle dawg

August 2nd, 2010
10:22 pm

You snuck one in on us Jeff, and I thought you quit giving updates cause you were checking out the Braves girls…

cattle dawg

August 2nd, 2010
10:26 pm

Good article by the way, and much needed.

bruce

August 2nd, 2010
10:27 pm

Why not more days off with Hinske playing 1st? I thought that was why Braves signed Hinske.

Dave O'Brien

August 2nd, 2010
10:27 pm

You guys don’t respond to me this quick….

DHD

August 2nd, 2010
10:28 pm

Let’s give him the homestand. If we are winning, I can live with it for that long. It could be the we wait until September for Freeman and fill in with Prado and Diaz when Prado gets back. We also have Hinske.

Skeezix

August 2nd, 2010
10:29 pm

I, for one, have had it with the Glaus experiment. Time to try something else.

cheshire

August 2nd, 2010
10:31 pm

Cox’s patience is understandable, especially given that there aren’t many obvious options available at 1B (although one could argue that Hinske would be an immediate improvement – Freeman would be good, but i’m not sure that this is the time for a rookie to have to learn the ropes at the major league level).

But what I don’t understand about Cox is why on earth it took him this long to move Glaus down in the lineup. This has been going on for 3 of the 4 months of this season (including the last 2 months consecutive), and you just now figured it was time to bump him out of the 5 spot? i just don’t get it. Sure enough you make that change and it immediately has a positive impact. Waiting for a guy to improve is wise, but why is it necessary to keep him in a critical lineup spot that hurts the team while you’re waiting?

SURELY we won’t see Glaus back in the 5 hole, but there have been too many baffling decisions this season for me to say that with any level of confidence.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hank Humphrey, Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: Braves win 4-1. Win to Hudson, save to Wagner, HR for Chipper, 2 hits for Ankiel — and bupkis for Glaus. Read on: http://bit.ly/9ZO66R [...]

sleeze

August 2nd, 2010
10:32 pm

Jeff, if the AJC can keep extending you a lifeline, sure seems like the Braves can hang onto Glaus a little longer. At least he’s hd one good month this year..

Barack Obama

August 2nd, 2010
10:33 pm

What is Ryan Klesko doing?

Bill

August 2nd, 2010
10:34 pm

Maybe Braves can get 1st baseman off waivers…………

Captain Midnight

August 2nd, 2010
10:35 pm

Move Chipper to 1st and Omar to 3rd. Chipper ain’t near what he used to be and never will be. He has been great and is a sure bet for the hall of fame but in the mean time someone buy him a rocking chair. Where’s my Jack Daniels dear?

Ryan Klesko

August 2nd, 2010
10:36 pm

Barack U know I’m on ObamaCare……

GovClintonTyree

August 2nd, 2010
10:37 pm

It’s hard to wait on him, but he’s ultra streaky. It looks to me like he’s pulling off everything, kind of stepping 6 inches in the bucket with his swing. His hit tonight was ripped pretty good.

Just have to hang in there and hope he comes out of it soon. Give Hinske more time against RHP.

He’s certainly not going to Gwinnett or to be DFAed.

Barack Obama

August 2nd, 2010
10:37 pm

Obamacare…My gift to the American people!

F-R-E-D-D-I-E..................................

August 2nd, 2010
10:38 pm

Bring on the big boy now.

I like Glaus, but feel that Troy’s career is probably over. The dude can still play first base well. I hope ATroy has a few years left because he is a great guy. Until he proves different though, bring in FREDDIE now.

1 for 4 each night with a single is better than .150.

GovClintonTyree

August 2nd, 2010
10:38 pm

And Glaus hit for six weeks, not four. It’s become en vogue to refer to his May. He hit the first two weeks of June, too. So that’s a quarter of a season rather than a sixth.

Ryan Klesko

August 2nd, 2010
10:40 pm

Barack your gift will start Jan 1, 2011 15 % tax increaase. Thats the Change everyone wanted, right?

Remarkable

August 2nd, 2010
10:41 pm

Is there anybody on the Falcons who can play First? Maybe we can find someone like Deon Sanders who can play for both teams?

Largo

August 2nd, 2010
10:41 pm

The Braves did good tonight and didn’t need Glaus but there have been times and and will again when he’ll need to produce. He’s had plenty of time to turn this around and shows no signs of doing so. He should be replaced.

Barack Obama

August 2nd, 2010
10:42 pm

Remember Klesko, it is only a tax increase for the people that work. It is free for everyone else. I am a genius! Obama/Biden in 2012!

Ryan Klesko

August 2nd, 2010
10:42 pm

Falcons new song…Rise Up!

robdawg08

August 2nd, 2010
10:44 pm

If they make a Kojak movie, Tim Hudson could star. Freddie & Ron gant could play stunt doubles. I bet Rogaine reps eyes lit up in the post game coverage…

pdt

August 2nd, 2010
10:44 pm

I’ve been saying for a couple of weeks they need to sit Glaus and start Hinske at first. Then keep Diaz in left. Two guys who give it their all should be in the lineup as much as possible. Glaus is adding nothing to the team.

Barack Obama

August 2nd, 2010
10:45 pm

Was it just me or did Chelsea Clinton look hot in her wedding dress?

robdawg08

August 2nd, 2010
10:45 pm

Captain Obvious sees Glaus should be replaced by either Hinske or Freeman. Now.

Ryan Klesko

August 2nd, 2010
10:46 pm

Barack like I told you today in Atlanta I quite my job because I could make more $ staying home. My family just crossed the Border so their babies would be US citizens. Way to go, right.

robdawg08

August 2nd, 2010
10:46 pm

It was just you.

cattle dawg

August 2nd, 2010
10:46 pm

And maybe some one from the falcons can dump water on Tim McCarver again.

corkylikesbeer

August 2nd, 2010
10:46 pm

Jeff, You need to write a blog on the team chemistry…how will the trades impact the team chemistry

The Doktor

August 2nd, 2010
10:47 pm

Troy Glaus should wear a ski mask to pickup his paycheck. At least Jesse James rode a horse and wore a mask… sheez…

Ryan Klesko

August 2nd, 2010
10:48 pm

I can’t write good because mother didn’t lets us go to school.

beekay

August 2nd, 2010
10:49 pm

How many at bats does omar need to qualify for batting title, he seems to be filling in almost every day and getting lots of pt lately….Barack whats up with Charlie and Maxine??

Barack Obama

August 2nd, 2010
10:50 pm

you are living the American dream KlesKo. Welcome to the USA!

p.s. Michelle still can fit in her wedding dress. She actually let Rosie O’donnell wear it in her civil union ceremony although it was a little too big for her in the hips.

Only in Georgia

August 2nd, 2010
10:50 pm

Would two underformed no so tactful individuals debate a 2,500 healthcare reform package in a baseball forum essestially using the idiot opinions of Limbaugh and Hannity.

I say stick with Glaus.

If you all want to read the 2,500 pages give me your e-mail address.

Untial then stick with baseball please.

Reid Adair

August 2nd, 2010
10:53 pm

Troy Glaus is well on his way to adding his name to the list of Frank Wren disasters. It’s unfortunate – but several people called that from the beginning.

The worst part is that they’l probably wait as long as they did with McLouth before making a move.

Rawdog

August 2nd, 2010
10:53 pm

Maybe old man river Cox should bat Glaus ninth a la Tony LaRussa style. That should wake ox up. Also, Ankiel could play first and Glaus could be a bench pinch hitter every nite. If Glaus goes to AAA, then Gwinnett would have the highest payroll in the minors. Put Glaus on waivers and get rid of him before the playoffs.

Rafael Belliard's HR ball

August 2nd, 2010
10:53 pm

Barack Obama

August 2nd, 2010
10:54 pm

only in Georgia….sticking with Glaus shows all of us that you don’t belong in a baseball forum either. what the heck do underformed and untial mean? Oh yeah, it means you are a tard.

Barack Obama

August 2nd, 2010
10:56 pm

and show a little respect for your prez!

Ryan Klesko

August 2nd, 2010
11:04 pm

Idiot in Ga. is yoa name Rangle or Reid? Maxine going down with Charlie, Glaus, & Nate.

Lim & Hanni, who is that..I watch NBC. Do they play for Mets?

2,500 pages…why read your congressman didn’t.

benchwarmer

August 2nd, 2010
11:05 pm

I’ll still take Glaus over Frenchy any day, week month ….

Ryan Klesko

August 2nd, 2010
11:06 pm

Me too benchwarmer.