Francoeur set to face Yankees and Tiger

With the sun shining above and the Yankees in town, we have a near-perfect setting for Jeff Francoeur to begin what many would consider a near-perfect athletic experience. 

After collecting a few at-bats against the WBC-depleted Yankees, Francoeur will grab his clubs to join Tiger Woods and John Smoltz for a round of golf this afternoon.  With the Red Sox having the day off, Smoltz has driven to the Orlando area to enjoy this annual round with two of his closest friends.

When Kenshin Kawakami takes the mound against the Yanks today, he won’t have to deal with the likes of A-Rod, Jeter and Posada, who are all eithter preparing for the WBC or visiting a hip specialist. Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady are the only regulars in the lineup for the Bronx Bombers, who will utilize Juan Miranda as their cleanup hitter. 

Glavine arrives:  Tom Glavine arrived in Braves camp this morning and revealed that he’s aiming to make his first appearance in a game late next week.  The 300-game winner has recently experienced some cranky discomfort with his shoulder.  But he says the discomfort isn’t anything different than what he’s often had to deal with during Spring Training. 

“I’ve had a little bit of crankiness now that I’ve thrown batting practice and thrown a little harder.  There ‘s a little soreness with my shoulder. But I’m not surprised. I knew it was going to happen sooner or later.  It’s happened every year for the last 15 years.  But it’s more manageable and that’s what we were kind of hoping for.” 

Glavine, who hasn’t had any problems with his surgically-repaired left elbow, doesn’t seem to concerned.  He said the shoulder discomfort he’s feeling this year doesn’t compare to the discomfort he was feeling at this time last year. 

The fact that Glavine is scheduled to make just two starts in April (18th and 29th) could prove to be beneficial.  After pitching in the frigid temperatures at Coors Field in early April last year, he started to experience increased discomfort in his elbow and shoulder.

Impressed by Hanson:  Braves announcer Don Sutton was certainly impressed after getting the chance to watch Tommy Hanson face Panama yesterday.  The Hall of Fame hurler was most intrigued by the 22-year-old  top prospect’s advanced maturity.

“When you look at a talent like him, after you talk to him for five minutes, you can throw his birth certificate out the window,” Sutton said. “He has the four pitches.  He’s a quick learner, makes great adjustments.  I just wish for him good health.  I think he has a chance to be a superstar.

Thursday vs. Venezuela:  Garret Anderson is expected to make his Braves debut when Derek Lowe takes the mound to face Gregor Blanco and Venezuela’s WBC team at Disney tomorrow afternoon.  First pitch is set for 2:05 p.m. ET.  

Today’s Lineup:
Josh Anderson CF
Yunel Escobar SS
Kelly Johnson 2B
Casey Kotchman 1B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Jason Heyward LF
Omar Infante 3B
David Ross C
Kenshin Kawakami P




There’s no more need to speculate about the 40-man roster move. Anthony Lerew cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to Triple-A Gwinnett.

I hope Greg White (as Tim Hudson calls him) does a nice job showcasing his talent. Maybe somebody can trade with us for a prospect swap.

Mark, I haven’t been able to keep up much because of work. It also sucks that we’re lucky to get one game a week on whether it’s a streaming feed or even audio. What gives with that anyway?

To my point. How’s Frenchy looking? I’ve seen a couple comments that he’s at least hitting the ball hard, but does he look like he is, in fact, making progress with this new stance?

Also, you blogged about Glavine’s shoulder and what his comments were about it. How much of it can be be attributed to history and what, if any, cause for concern is there? Which also raises the question, amid all the speculative comments, what’s the fallback plan if he’s not quite as healthy as we anticipated? The man’s been going strong for about 20 years, but 3 stints on the DL last year (granted – the first of his career), and he’s obviously no spring chicken.

OK, with the lineup they have in there today, let’s see if they run a little bit.

Kawakami is looking good so far.

Garret Anderson got his first hit for the Braves and it was a double. Johnson walked and Kotchman doubled them both home. Braves 2, Yanks 0

Kawakami is looking very good so far.

Bowman did something happen to Frenchy??

I think Francoeur is fine. He might have just planned to get one at-bat before heading to the links. I’ll let you know if I learn there was a different reason that he left after just one at-bat.

Carrol Rodgers at the AJC agrees with you. Francoeur only took 1 at bat so he could get to the course. Mark, who is scheduled to pitch Friday and Saturday?

Jo-Jo will go on Friday vs. Astros and Jair will start Saturday’s game in Tampa against the Yanks.

Have they announced who will follow Jo-Jo on Friday and Jurrjens on Saturday?

well it’s a good thing Frenchy can at least work on his golf swing…

C’mon, I couldn’t resist!

Ok good. I though something happened to him.

Anyone notice we actually won a one-run game? It is a sign of good hope throughout the regular season! Our bullpen actually did great! Hopefully we will keep it up.
Check out my blog

The Braves are saying that Francoeur exited after one at-bat because he fouled a ball off his foot this morning. In addition, Cox said that he was unaware the Francoeur was golfing with Tiger this afternoon.
Keep your eyes on Kris Medlen. Cox was raving about the young right-hander this afternoon and indicated that there’s a chance he’ll start this season in Atlanta’s bullpen.

Even though we were facing a team without many regulars playing it was great to see us win by one instead of losing. This will help them realize we can win the close games and as Yogi said, ” half the game is 90% mental”. It was also very good to see Kotchman produce. If we are to be successful this year we need him and Francouer to be better than last year. While we are on Francouer it must be really great to have a job where you make millions and don’t have to work but when you want. Oh well, talented people have their advantages even if their talent is in question. I would much rather see him do like Hanson did and come in onan off day but some people are not as disciplined as others. GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You would probably get a lot more out of a golf game with Woods and Smoltz than you would in the last 2/3s of a spring training game.

I’m glad you guys understand the unique opportunity that Francoeur had today. Getting one more at-bat during the first week of March wasn’t going to determine his fate this year. By the end of the GL season, he’s going to have 65-70 at-bats. He’s been busting his butt for more than three weeks down here. If I was in his position, I’d have been out there playing with Tiger.

I didn’t mention a lot about Kawakami today, primarily because Cox was raving about Medlen. But the Japanese right-hander looked pretty good, issuing two of his three walks with two outs in the third inning. He’s still trying to gain some consistency with the movement and location of his cutter. But his curveball has been pretty impressive.

Mark, in your latest entry you wrote: “Eric O’Flaherty or Jeff Ridgway could also push Logan in the battle to serve as the club’s long reliever.”

I’m pretty sure you mean lefty reliever.

No one came blame Frenchy for cutting out early to play with Tiger. I’d probably quit my job if I had the opportunity. He’s going to have a good year this year. I’m calling it!

The only reason I think that Frenchy should have stayed for another at bat is because he has a .091 average as of now. That isn’t good at all.

I guarantee you he didn’t “surprise” anybody when he took off, nor did “tell” Bobby he was going to do it. He isn’t nearly that cavalier. Bobby blessed this a while back you can count on it.
It’s just the “whistle blowing” “Scoop hounds”,
like Mark Bowman,
that make Bobby and the rest of the guys deny this sort of stuff. BAD MARK, BAD, hold out your hand now and we can all slap it (that’s an “S” on the keyboard to slap Mark’s hand for being a bad blogger guy).
Don’t worry Mark, capital “S” does hurt any more than little “s”. And nobody can get to BOLD, so you’ll be alright.
Just don’t let it happen again.

Hey Darion,
if Frenchy goes 0-26 this March, how many hits does he need in his first 10 ABs in the Regular Season to be back to hitting .300? What, still just 3? Darn, that means NONE of this counts, how about that.
Give the guy a break. Save the .091 for Joe SImpson’s bingo calls.

Joe Simpson has a crush on Francoeur.

I thought he looked at the “Heat Mizer” sitting next to him a little funny.
Maybe laughed a little to hard at his jokes….you know….

Mark, % chance Jeff Bennett makes the opening day roster?

I’ll bet Derek Lowe’s contract that it didn’t surprise anybody in the Braves organization. The only thing that upset me is that once again I didn’t get the invitation to accompany Smoltz and Francoeur on the Tiger Tour.

pwjhort, thanks for the catch…as for your question about Bennett, Bobby always likes having one of those sinkerballers in his pen. I’d have to say his chances are good to open the season in Atlanta. If you’re looking for an exact %, I’ll say 70.

Seriously, this Francoeur stuff has gone on much longer than it should have. It took on a life of its own on that “other blog down the street.” I once again appreciate that you guys actually understand the big picture. Tomorrow, Francoeur is expected to serve as the DH and play the entire game. That’s at least four more at-bats there. I think that will more than make up for that one extra at-bat that he might have recorded today.

Sorry about the udflyers96 posts again. I guess I’m just getting excited about tomorrow night’s game at Xavier. I think Bobby Dews was in diapers the last time we won there.

Mark – Didn’t they need a 4th? Did your invitation get lost in the mail? Smoltzie, Frenchy, and Tiger. Surely there was a 4th. I’m especially surprised that Derek Lowe didn’t get an invite from Smoltzie… especially after Jeff made a few comments regarding D-Lowe’s game. Knowing Smoltz’s competitive nature… you know he wants a piece of Lowe on the links!

Mark didn’t need to be the 4th, he just needed his media credential to get out there with them. Of course, since he was typing away on his blackberry, he would need a driver, so I volunteer for next year to drive Mark’s cart that day.

Rother – so nice of you to take one for the team like that and offer up your services! haha

Mark – We all want to hear about Frenchy’s day on the links!

Anything for you guys!!!
Well, anything that doesn’t involve routing for, speaking, or writing positive things about the Yankees.

Another nice job by Bowman.

Just getting caught up on all the goings on.

Here’s my guess at the staff Opening day.

(4) Starters

Easy calls there with not needing a fifth starter until April 19th.

Six above as locks with the long man competition between Carlyle and Campillo taking one spot.

Final spot- a good battle between a second lefty from the O’Flaherty-Ridgway battle or another righty from either Bennett or possibly Medlin.

I knew I liked you for a reason rother lol. Being a secondary BoSox fan, I’ve never liked the Yankees, then of course the ’95 WS. They can all rot in hell, especially Gay-Rod.

Is anyone else as terrified as I am that the “sports writers” are the ones policing who gets in the Hall of Fame from this era? With their completely objective, non-ego driven personalities. Heaven help us.

I mean Lupica? Ryan? Conlin? All relevant, that’s just scary.

Mark (or anyone), can you explain to me why Stockman isn’t a favorite for a bullpen position on the Braves active roster? Is it age? health? Based on his numbers, it doesn’t look his performance should be a hindrance.

He does seem to get out everyone he faces.

There are NOT many people who are a lock in the bullpen. It is still a wide open competition.
Mike Gonzalez
Rafael Soriano if he is too injured to start the season, Acosta
Peter Moylan
Kris Medlen
Jorge Campillo
Boone Logan
Blaine Boyer

Bennett, Carlyle, and Acosta are still in it. Medlen may be a question mark since he could be a starter or a reliever. If they want him to be a starter and stay in AAA, Acosta or Bennett takes his spot.

Is it possible that for political reasons Major League Baseball discourages having more than one Australian on a team’s active roster?

Mark, I got my roster predictions up here: What would you change?

Peter, I would think if Glavine isn’t set to pitch until the 19th, that he will land on the 15 Day DL for “cut shaving” or something, getting off right around, say the 18th. That gives the Braves one more arm to use for the first couple of weeks, or one more bat if that is the way they go.

That Jones guy with the funny first name just hit a homer for the USA WBC team. We should get a guy like that to play 3B here in Atlanta.

Good point rother. That gives them the flexibility of taking 2 bullpen arms competing for 1 bullpen spot for a few weeks. Maybe Carlyle, Acosta, or Medlen makes the team out of camp instead of Glavine.

Sorry, it’s been a busy morning…Glavine felt good while throwing live BP against Diaz, Heyward and Brandon Hicks this morning. He’s still feeling a little tight at the end of his delivery. But based on past history, he be able to loosen his shoulder over the next few weeks…Anderson is today’s lineup vs. Venezuela, which doesn’t have Blanco in its lineup.
Because he’s out of options, Stockman’s chances of starting the year in the Majors are enhanced. When healthy, he’s always pitched effectively. The problem obviously is that he hasn’t been healthy long enough to get a true feel for what he might do at the big league level….Going to write a new entry now.

Now that catcher hit a homer for the USA team. Since the Braves have such a lack of power, we ought to try to get both of those guys in camp in a couple weeks.

Good points rother.

As someone that has followed Phil Stockman’s career since his days of toiling in the Diamondbacks org. (His AA days were a stone’s throw from my house), I don’t think he will remain healthy enough to warrant a roster spot, in the case his health does indeed hold up, then I will also add that his talent level will warrant his spot in Gwinnett.

My guess is that no team will claim him if subjected to waivers.

Rother, maybe the Braves, being America’s team, should just get new uni’s and be the USA Braves.

I hope McCann and Chipper can continue to do that against the Phillies pitching throughout the year.
Campillo is suppose to start for Mexico today.

Anybody ever see the movie the Hindenberg? The final scene was loosely based on the Phillies pitcher Antonio Bastardo’s last two innings against team USA today.

Oh and Scott Diamond who is in the Braves organization is starting for Canada against the Yankees.

Then again, maybe it is really Chuck James, and he just had his name changed to Bastardo when he entered the witness relocation program.

Is there rain in FL or something? There has yet to be an update to the live box score. I know it’s always slow, but the game started 45 minutes ago. What’s happening, I can’t see….

As far as I know, Stockman was healthy in ’08. How is he feeling this Spring?

9-1 USA over the Phillies. If you mean the Braves, they don’t start until 2:05 EST

Nevermind I see the game starts at 2:05 today. My bad.

emarc, maybe they can just use the team USA WBC uniforms. Save some money?

Stockman wasn’t healthy in 08. After his brief stint in the show he was returned to Richmond where he missed a large portion of the season due to numerous injuries.

The Phillies defense hasn’t been too good today. Howard especially.

Howard is not the guy you take to the family picnic if you plan on winning the water balloon toss.

Quick Braves update
McCann is done for today.
Diamond pitched one inning so far walking one and struck out Mark Teixeira
Concepcion Rodriguez is 1-1 with an RBI double and a run.
Campillo will pitch for Mexico today.

Marcus Giles may be a suspected Roid Boy, but if you’ve ever stood near him, it’s obvious he doesn’t use HGH.
And there’s no truth to the rumor that he asked for his salary from the Braves delivered in a Pot of Gold.

“Howard is not the guy you take to the family picnic if you plan on winning the water balloon toss.”
Haha that’s very true

Diamond is doing well against the Yankees. He has pitched 2 innings of no-hit ball walking 2 and striking out 2.

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