This Time It Counts
I’m not sure if I should have checked with the MLB licensing execs before using that headline. But given what has transpired with the Braves over the course of this offseason, I didn’t see any need to wait until the All-Star Game to use it.
Before you ask whether one of Paul Kinzer’s term sheet requests or premature speculation is going to prolong the soap opera that was Frank Wren’s offseason, I figured I’d let you know Garret Anderson really has signed and no, he didn’t use invisible ink.
Having been left at the alter on more than one occasion this offseason, the Braves were very guarded about the comments they made before Anderson underwent his physical on Tuesday and officially said, “I do.”
It’s quite obvious that many of the Braves are ecstatic about the fact that Ken Griffey Jr. opened the door that allowed Anderson to come to Atlanta. Instead of worrying about the uncertainties Griffey would have brought while serving in a platoon, they now find themselves looking forward to the consistencies that Anderson will provide while playing left field on a regular basis.
“It’s a tremendous pickup, great, great pickup,” Braves manager
Bobby Cox said. “This guy can practically play every day.” <p>
These aren’t exactly the words you’d want to hear if you’re Matt Diaz, who now finds himself as a backup who will see occasional time in left field. But Chipper Jones is among those whose seems happy to know Anderson will be resting with him somewhere in the middle of the lineup.
“He’ll make a difference, ” Jones said. “We’re a little left-handed for my taste. But Garret is going to help this team win ballgames and that’s all I care about.”
The projected Braves lineup consists of two right-handed hitters: Jeff Francoeur and Yunel Escobar; and one switch hitter in Jones. But manager Bobby Cox doesn’t seem too worried about the fact that his lineup will regularly consist of five left-handed hitters — Anderson, Josh Anderson, Casey Kotchman, Brian McCann and Kelly Johnson.
“Garret, Johnson, Mac and Kotchman have all hit left-handers in the past,” Cox said. “It really doesn’t matter how it shapes up.”
<b> Morton update: </b> Charlie Morton strained a muscle on his left side on Tuesday and it will be at least another week until he’s able to resume throwing.
<b> Going to Lakeland </b> Chipper Jones and Garret Anderson (presumably) will be the only projected starters not making the trip to Lakeland for Wednesday’s Grapefruit League opener. Jair Jurrjens, Jo-Jo Reyes, Manny Acosta, Stephen Marek and Eric O’Flaherty are all scheduled to pitch.
Late blogotorial addition: (Sorry we didn’t have this information for the early edition)
<b> Minor freak injury: </b> As I mentioned earlier in a comment, Blaine Boyer sent me a text to tell me the cut he suffered on his right index finger came courtesy of an apple slicer. Unfortunately for the right-hander, he had no intention to even make contact with that utensil. He was simply reaching for a can opener.
Boyer said the small laceration had no effect on him during his Tuesday morning bullpen session. But he won’t make his scheduled appearance against the Tigers on Wednesday.
- Mark Bowman