Cox places Heyward and Freeman in Sunday's lineup

After Sunday afternoon games at Turner Field, the Braves allow children to run the bases.  When it comes to Sunday afternoon Spring Training home games, they actually let the kids play. 

With the defending world champion Phillies in town today, Braves manager Bobby Cox has constructed a lineup that includes both first baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Jason Heyward. These 19-year-old phenoms were born three years after Phillies left-hander Jamie Moyer made his Major League debut. 

While Moyer didn’t make the trek to Disney, the Phillies did bring former Brave Marcus Giles, who seems to have an outside shot to begin the season in the Majors.  I’m not sure the same can be said for Andruw Jones, who has struck out during eight of the first nine at-bats he’s had with with the Rangers this Spring. 

The funniest line I’ve heard about Andruw came yesterday when a fellow scribe said, “I think he’ll stay in Rangers camp until at least March, but that’s only because this isn’t a leap year.” 

March has arrived and Peter Moylan is ready to start showing why he believes he might be ready to be part of the Opening Day roster.  Moylan, who is just 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to pitch an inning against the Phillies today. 

They’ve removed the tarp from the field and according to the radar, it looks like we might be able to enjoy an rain-free game today.  I’m sorry to hear that the weather gods aren’t being as kind to you in Atlanta today. 

My girlfriend just sent me a text that read, “It’s snowing like crazy here.”  I really don’t know what the big deal is.  I think all of us knew there we’d probably see a March snowfall in Atlanta before Andruw actually did something more surprising like put two balls in play during the same Cactus League game.

- Mark Bowman    

53 Comments

Jo-Jo Reyes, worked a scoreless first inning, allowing only a two-out single by John Mayberry Jr. Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard grounded out and Shane Victorino hit a deep fly ball to Josh Anderson in center.

Matt Stairs’ one-out single accounted for the only hit surrendered by Reyes in his scoreless second inning. Marcus Giles reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second base.

Before Peter Moylan could begin throwing his warmup pitches, he had to wait for the Harlem Globetrotters to end the exhibition that they were displaying behind the plate. That’s one sentence I wasn’t expecting to create when I awoke this morning. Giles greeted Moylan with a leadoff single up the middle.

Giles stole second base and scored on Jimmy Rollins’ single to left field. That was the only run surrendered by Moylan, who ended his outing by getting Shane Victorino to ground out to second.

Mark: Do you think Freddie Freeman/ Jason Heyward will get a chance this year to make the show??? Persay Jeff Francoure unfortunately has a terrible season up until all-star break (hopefully he will not, but so far his spring has been terrible), Will Heyward get his shot?

Three innings, no runs and one walk from Jo Jo today…. Nice.

Reyes looked good today while facing a lineup that included Rollins, Howard and Victorino. He attacked the strike zone and provided indication that he plans to show some of the aggression that he lacked last year. Nobody has ever questioned this guy’s ability from a talent standpoint. Mentally he needed to improve and through his words and actions, he’ provided indication that he’s moving in that direction. This was the most impressive thing he said during his post-outing interview:
“This year I’m treating every hitter like they’re the same. I can’t go in there thinking, ‘oh, it’s Ryan Howard’ or ‘oh it’s Chase Utley.” I’ve just got to treat the strike zone the way that it’s supposed to be treated and not worry about who is hitting at the plate.”

Jo Jo would be a great addition to the mix, and it sounds like he has come to the realization that the Braves don’t “OWE” him a spot in the rotation. I’m willing to cut him some slack because he got pulled a little early from AA.
However, without a new attitude from the one he had last season, he has no chance. I say have a great spring, and enjoy your career in the American League, Jo Jo.

Mark,
I read your article Javy’s new business venture and was wondering if you had contact information for his new business, I am in the field and wanted to get more info regarding his product.

Just got back from Orlando. I was worried about the weather, but it ended up being a nice day! I had a great time. Disney really goes first class on everything. It was unfortunate that warm ups and batting practice were canceled… but considering the morning weather… we were lucky to get a game in. I thought for sure Bobby wouldn’t put Chipper, B-Mac, and Frenchy on a wet field… but the sun came out and I got to see pretty much everyone play. I was really impressed with JoJo today. He went after a pretty solid lineup. Also, I got to see Josh Anderson’s blazing speed on a stand up triple which was fun. B-Mac hit a shot halfway up the scoreboard in center field. Although Frenchy went 0-3, he hit the ball hard and showed some patience on 2 out of 3 at bats.

Mark, about the “Kodak Spectator Experience”: You pay $75 and show up at 10 am to see both teams warm up until 12pm from behind the backstop on the field. I was about to do it today but they canceled warm-ups.

I’m lucky to live two hours away from Orlando… but I strongly suggest any Braves fan taking a weekend and catching some games down at Disney. It’s a great time! It was fun getting to see Marcus Giles catching up with Chipper and everyone else. I’ll leave the game recap up to Mark… but Moylan had a pretty shaky inning.

Rother – I saw your reply to Saltlake… I couldn’t have said it better myself… hilarious!

All I can say is if you check the lights in his house, there will be MORON than off! But I really don’t want to get personal, not knowing the guy.

Chris Woodward has 2 HRs already this spring, how’d we let HIM slip through our fingers with $2.5 to 3 million left to spend? That projects to almost 80 HRs for a whole season. Man, the Braves just don’t get it. We’ll never compete with the Mets and Phillies now…..

As you guys know, most of the guys are golfing and relaxing today. Javier Vazquez and Jair Jurrjens are here at the yard to throw three innings a piece in an inter-squad game. They’re using two legit umpires and using some of the Minor Leaguers as fielders. Brandon Hicks, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman are among the guys who are going to be swinging against these two right-handers.

Heyward just ripped the first hit of the day — a second-inning single to right off Vazquez. Neither pitcher allowed a ball to leave the infield during the first inning.

Heyward just hit a monstrous opposite-field homer off Jurrjens. It was a rising line drive that drilled the scoreboard in left-center. In case you forget Jurrjens’ 0.53 homers per nine innings mark ranked fifth in the Majors.

They scheduled this game to allow Jurrjens and Vazquez to get some work. But Heyward is grabbing most of the attention. He just touched Jurrjens for an opposite-field double. A Major League outfielder likely would have made the catch. But that doesn’t minimize how good Heyward looked today. He accounted four three of the four hits charged to Vazquez and Jurrjens.
Vazquez allowed one hit over three scoreless innings and Jurrjens allowed two runs on four hits in his three innings.

If they brought Heyward up, he might struggle at first, but he’d make it. He reminds me of Greg Oden in the way he picks things up so fast. During the first Ohio State Florida game he was a little overwhelmed at the beginning by Horford and Noah, but you could see him absorbing the info like a Cyborg. By the end of the game he was up to speed and more than holding his own. I really don’t see prolonged struggles in Heyward’s future, no matter how aggressive the Braves are with his development. What a future.

STOP abusing and badmouthing all of our past players!!

Great to hear @ Heyward. He gives us some hope in case francouer is unable to pull it together. Based on what you are hearing and seeing is there a lot of optimism about Francouer “getting it together”?

I read somewhere that Freeman is the talk of spring camp. What do you think the time line is for Heyward and Freeman to make it to the show?

M. Holiday
X.Nady
H. Ramirez
H.Pence
J.Dye
C.Guillen
C.Lee
J.Damon
D.Ortiz (or B.Papi,as it were)
C.Quentin
These players are a combined 6-71 so far this spring, that’s under .085. None of them have more than one hit.
Anybody see a name they don’t think can hit?
Anybody worried that their teams should have back up guys ready?
No?
The Braves aren’t worried about their guys either. This is a good team if healthy.

It’s fine to get excited about Heyward. The kid’s potential seems limitless. But let’s not forget that he’s played just seven games at the Advanced-Class A level and batted just .125 during that span. He’ll return to Myrtle Beach to begin this season and potentially end the season with Double-A Mississippi. Like rother was alluding to in his last post, let’s not get too high or too low about the results that we’re seeing across the Majors so far.

69braves, if Francoeur struggles this year, the solution isn’t Heyward, it’s Schafer. Age is the primary reason we’re justifiably excited about what we’ve seen from Heyward and Freeman this year. While they’re likely a little more than a year away from even having the chance to see the Majors, Schafer has provided every indication that he’s already ready for the call to Atlanta.

Chris Woodward was one of those good dudes, who was a bad sign. With Infante, Prado, Norton and Diaz, the Braves are going to have a solid bench. You might not have the basher some of you might want. But other than the switch-hitting Norton, who has struggled against left-handers, this bunch could prove versatile against RHPs and LHPs.

Chris Woodward is a great guy with a really nice family that I met at Turner Field in an elevator of all places. Cute little girls, proud of their Daddy. The reference was not a dig on him at all but a poke in the ribs of a certain Jim Edmonds fan that has been lurking about.
Our bench is solid and so is the starting group. I’m excited about the season. I would like them to attempt more than one steal (ok, it was a double steal) per five games in the regular season though. We really need to exploit the poor defensive teams, and running is a great way to keep pressure on them.

In reference to speed, I couldn’t help but notice Josh Anderson on Sunday. He beat out a routine double play at first base and eventually scored. His stand up triple was impressive too. He was halfway between second and third before the cut off man got the throw from right center. He looked like he was gliding effortlessly. He knew “triple” as soon as he made contact. He’s my vote for lead-off. When he gets on base, he will get into scoring position. There’s no doubt in my mind. He will set the table for the middle of the order.

Not to mention he can go foul line to foul line in the outfield. I like his game. The number two hitter is going to get a lot of fastballs this season. If it’s Garrett Anderson, he’ll hit .320.

BTW – In my tiny recap of Sunday’s game I mentioned that Peter Moylan had a shaky inning. What a dumb statement… the dude wasn’t even supposed to be healthy enough to throw yet and he’s facing major league batters… taking that into consideration, he did phenomenal! I retract that initial comment. Way to battle back from Tommy John Peter! Mad props!

When he is healthy he has SUCH good stuff. I’ve seen quotes from previous Spring Trainings that the Braves HATE hitting against him in earl BP. Mid 90s with all that movement is no fun at all.
Can you imagine if this team is still in the hunt come September and the “Extra” arms they add are Hanson and Hudson? Wow, what a difference a year makes.

Mark,
Next time we go up against the Astros, ask Carlos Lee what he thinks about Tommy Hanson’s stuff. He gave a little look back over the shoulder after he struck out last time, and he might be an interesting interview.

Mark – congrats on being #2 on the Latest Pro-Bloggers Leader’s List!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

#2? We expect nothing less than number 1! Mark – step up your game!

Hey Mark– two questions…

1. If Jeff Francoeur has another awful year, should Schafer get the call up? A lineup with him and Anderson at the top with Yunel batting third, Chipper cleanup, and McCann 5th doesn’t look bad with Garrett, KJ, and Kotchman on the bottom half. I don’t want to rush the 19 year old Heyward…with Diaz, Brandon Jones, and Blanco on the bench, and Gorkys Hernandez coming up also, just too many other options.

2. The Athletics just signed Cabrera to play SS. Unless they plan to move Crosby to 1B, instead of enduring another year of Barton and/or Hannahan…wouldn’t that make Crosby expendable? I have also heard that they are talking to Nomar to play 1B and making Crosby a super utility. However, he made $3.5 mill last year and I think he will make $5 mill this year…expensive player to have coming off the bench. I know this may seem far fetched, but going back to the Peavy trade and San Diego wanting a MLB ready SS, ahem Crosby, could the Braves get away with sending some young pitchers, i.e Reyes, Ridgway, Morton, etc, to help the back end of Oakland’s rotation and get Peavy to sure up the five man rotation of Peavy, Lowe, Jurrgens, Kawakami, and Vazquez. Have Glavine be the lefty specialist in the bullpen because of what I have seen out of Ridgway and O’Flaherty this Spring…ouch. The Padres would get Crosby, maybe Blanco or Brandon Jones and a low level prospect from Atlanta and a prospect from Oakland…Oakland would get Reyes, Morton, Ridgway and a filler guy like Boyer or Bennett in a three team trade and everybody is happy. Could you imagine the rotation with Peavy, Hanson, and Jurrgens over the next three years…not to mention Lowe and Hudson? With Marek, Locke, and Parr coming up to make spot starts and fill in the bullpen…just a thought. What do you think?

As the great Ricky Bobby once said, “If you’re not first, you’re last.” Or maybe we should steal a line from Tanner Boyle (Bad News Bears) and tell “Obviously Not a Golfer” to take his first-place trophy and…I interrupted that hilarious line to keep this blog kid-friendly. Their clicks count too.
But seriously I want to thank you all for making this blog fun. Your comments enrich the entries and provide reminders about what the fans truly want to know about the game and the players.

Rother, I actually walked in the Astros clubhouse on Thursday to find somebody to talk about Hanson. Lee was the only player available. Based on memory, this was the extent of the interview:

Me: Carlos, what did you think of Hanson?
Lee: Who?
Me: The big right-hander that just threw against you guys. He’s their top pitching prospect.
Lee: Really? Well he threw hard.
Me: Guys have been raving about his stuff.
Lee: All I can say is he threw hard.
Under my breath, I muttered “whatever” and thought where is Lance Berkman when you need him. In hindsight, maybe I should have asked Miguel Tejada what he thought about Hanson’s pinpoint accuracy.

Carlos Lee sounds like a bunch of fun, you’ll have to look him up during the next rain delay, jeez.
Did you see the tape of the game at all? He definitely looked back and said something. The fact that he blew it off to you is high praise indeed. I think it was actually a staight change under the hands that got him because it didn’t break like a slider.
Tejada definitely needs a pocket protector for next time. You never know when you face these “wild, hard throwing” young pitchers (wink, wink). I was having dinner with Joe Lahoud one time a few years back and helping him move a few beer cans from the cooler to the trash can. He had some extremely funny Nolan Ryan stories from his rookie year in Boston that centered around similar circumstances as Tejada’s. Baseball is so rich with stories. We ought to do a blog entry just to tell great old baseball stories we’ve heard. It would be priceless.

Rother.. yeah, it’s gonna be pretty exciting if the Braves are still in it when Hudson is supposed to return (assuming he does and is in good form). We would have our ace back and let Lowe be the #2 guy.. and with Hanson and the other guys in the rotation? I think there are only a handful of teams who have that kind of starting strength. And I’m glad to see Moylan back. He’s one of my favorites on the team.
Bluevsu.. I don’t know why any of those teams would agree to that trade. Crosby isn’t much better than the guy the Padres have at SS and from what I’ve heard, the Padres were never really willing to deal Peavy unless they received a king’s ransom for him.
Mark.. sorry about getting second place this week. I was partying all weekend up here in Brooklyn and never had a chance to post. WHOOPS.

I could probably watch the video of the Nolan Ryan / Robin Ventura fight once a day and never get tired of it. Hilarious.

It was told to me that once Ralph Garr (ex-Brave) was facing Nolan Ryan when he was with the White Sox and got blown away on three straight pitches. When he got back to the dugout he was to have said “This game is F$^%$% over.”
He was the first batter of the game that night.

I cannot imagine what facing that guy in his prime on a night when he was getting his curve ball over must have been like.

Mark, If the Braves didn’t have to invest so heavyly in their pitching, they probably would have signed Adam Dunn right ?! Just imagine if Tim Hudson didn’t get hurt. The Braves possible would have had Dunn and Griffey ! I think I am going to have to agree with some of the baseball analysis that said, “Griffey didn’t think the Braves didn’t have quite enough talent to win the world series ! I love the kids But, they did some power in the out field ! Jeff Franceour is a done deal ! He is done ! 0 for 9 already ! What else is there to show to the coaches and management about that guy ! Shaffer or Heyward is going to replace Jeff ! We also need a closer !! Every team in the nl east have a bonified closer but us ! Gonzo is not that guy !

lolitarichardson – Words can not put into context the complete idiocy of your comment. I am embarrassed for you.

1 – What makes you think that if Tim Hudson didn’t get hurt we would have Dunn and Griffey in the outfield? What a terrible move that would be. Dunn will hit .239 and hit 35 hrs. this year. I’d much rather have a guy hit .295, hit 20+ hrs. and NOT strike out 237 times. Other than putting fans in the seat, Griffey would not have accomplished much more if any more than Garrett Anderson.

2 – Are you kidding me? Griffey used the logic that we were lacking too much power to win the worl series… so he opted to sign with a team who lost over 100 games last year?

3 – You are ignorant to suggest that Francoeur is “done”. Obviously you’re not a baseball player… or much of a Braves fan for that matter… because you would know that Frenchy completely altered his stance and approach to his hitting FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS CAREER this offseason! Don’t you think we should give him a little more than 9 at bats before we ask him to retire? I was at the game Sunday and he hit the ball hard, just right at people.

4 – You’re right. We don’t have one bonified closer…. WE HAVE TWO OF THEM! Gonzo and Soriano are both legitimate closers. Both proven to save over 30 games in a season. Plus we are extremely deep in set-up and long relievers.

I think that just about covers it. If not…I’m sure Rother has an opinion or two. Take it away man!

Wow. delegated as the defacto Forum hitman. I surely don’t fit that role. I’m a kind hearted guy, with fluffy white dogs and such, staring at my beautiful and peaceful aquarium in my office all day.
We have to understand Bravo, that there is a group of people out there (FANTASY) that need to have proven, name players (FANTASY) in their (FANTASY) lineups. It is obvious that Gonzo has not put up the kind of (FANTASY) numbers that would warrant the term “Bonified (FANTASY) closer”.
Guys like Dunn and Griffey are established (FANTASY) players who produce dependable (FANTASY) numbers. We all know we can’t win a (FANTASY) championship without these types of (FANTASY) players in our lineup.
Defense is so hard to quantify (FANTASY) and really, in the end, it’s (FANTASY) all about numbers, isn’t it?

See, no reason to get cranky.

Rother, I’m sensing a theme to your response… I can’t really put my finger on what that theme is… but I think you were making some sort of point… hmm. lol!

I think an outfield of Adam Dunn, Griffey Jr., and Mike Cameron makes complete since. Throw in Jim Edmonds too. He will hit 40 homers guaranteed!

You’re right… no need for cranky. It’s a Tuesday and the weekend seems very distant. I missed my morning coffee. That’s where my crankiness should be directed.

lolitarichardson – I have forgotten. How many pennants did Cincy win with Griffey and Dunn?

I had a BAGEL for breakfast, what did the rest of you have? I put that stuff in my coffee with ZERO calories. I expected a line at the drive thru, but there was NONE. It was just the good start I needed for my day.

Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., and Jim Edmonds would have been defensive liability’s. Which means they would have to produce enough offense in a pitchers park to make up for their defense. Griffey Jr. is probably the best defensively depending on how he comes back from his surgery, but was more of a PR move than anything. All three are better suited for DH roles IMO. We may not have a true HR hitter but we do have gap power and guys with good defense abilities to support our pitching staff.

Jordan Schafer (shoulder), Josh Anderson (tailbone), Casey Kotchman (quad and sore finger) and Freddie Freeman (quad) are dealing with nagging injuries. But each of them could return to the lineup in the next day or two…Braves announcer Don Sutton has arrived in camp in time to see Tommy Hanson face Panama today. He can’t wait to see the kid pitch…Garrett Anderson thinks he might make his debut on Thursday…I’ll provide more details in the entry I’m getting ready to compose now.

Give the braves situation one month before you call me ignorant what said about Griffey, Dunn and Franceour ! First of all I said if Hudson didn’t get hurt last year, The Braves would have had more money to get a good bat ! Everyone and your mama knows that each major league team needs to have at least, at least, One player that can hit 30 or more homeruns !! I bet your home boy C. Jones would agree with that one ! I’ve watched C.Jones interviews with mlb and mlbn and everytime he was asked about the key to the braves success this year, He said Jeff Franceour ! Chipper said he was nervous about Franceour ! So! get your facts straight before you call someone comments ignorant ! I have watched Braves baseball for 30 years ! I know more than your white smart *** !

Mark – You really need to spice up your “About me” section.

Lolitarichardson – sorry for the “ignorant” comment. you are completely wrong in pretty much everything you’ve said… but that’s no excuse for name calling. Just curious though – how did you know I was white?

lol classic fighting.

Been away for a few days (out of town). Nice to see the blog going strong. Interesting comments by most.

Have to agree with the consenus though that lolitarichardson comments were troubling with lack of insight or anything substanitive.

In closing no we don’t need Adam Dunn the single most overrated player in MLB.

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