Kawakami scratched

This is essentially the same blog as the one that I posted earlier. But with the revelation that Kenshin Kawakami has been scratched from tonight’s start because of right shoulder fatigue, I’m adding this top.

Javier Vazquez will start in his place.  Vazquez, who pitched against the U.S. on Saturday, will be pitching on regular rest. 

I’ll provide more details when I come back upstairs.  Kawakami is expected to talk to the media at 4:30 p.m. ET.

(NOW BACK TO THE ORIGINAL BLOG)

So I sent some of the guys a text this morning to find out who they
were picking to win the NCAA tourney.  Always the prompt professional,
Tom Glavine quickly revealed that he’s predicting Louisville to emerge
victorious in a Final Four field that will also include Memphis, Pitt
and North Carolina.

A few minutes later, Jeff Francoeur said
that he believes that UNC or Louisville will win it all.  Then John
Smoltz attempted to have some fun by saying that his Michigan State
Spartans, West Virginia, Syracuse and Pitt will participate in the
Final Four. 

Smoltz knows how much I dislike both Pitt and
Syracuse (primarily for the crime Marvin Graves committed during a 1992
game in Morgantown).  As an MSU fan, I guess he couldn’t bring himself
to truly make my blood boil with mention of that Ann Arbor school that
currently employs that once highly-regarded football coach. 

After
enjoying his laugh, Smoltz revealed his true Final Four prediction
consists of UNC, Villanova, MSU and Memphis.  Respecting my elders, I
wouldn’t have called him if Cal St. Northridge had held on to win their
first-round matchup against Memphis.

Now that we’ve all finished
our bracket selections, it’s time to look at some of the tough roster
decisions the Braves have to make.  By the time I take this laptop back
to Atlanta in two weeks, we may have a better idea about who will begin
the season as the starting center fielder.

Based on what I’ve
seen, Jordan Schafer has clearly established himself as the
front-runner in this competition.  The 22-year-old prospect is the best
defensive option and his speed/power capabilities make him more
attractive in the leadoff spot than Josh Anderson or Gregor Blanco.

But
some guys who have been around this game much longer than I have seem
to think Schafer could benefit from the opportunity to spend some more
time in the Minors.  From a business perspective, this would help the
Braves, who don’t want to start his arbitration-eligible clock any
earlier than necessary. 

Anderson is certainly capable of
handling the position and the role of leadoff hitter.  The fact that
he’s out of options also aids his bid to win this position battle.  But
I’ve also been told not to eliminate Gregor Blanco, who has spent the
past couple of weeks with Venezuela in the WBC. 

With Tom
Glavine not needed until April 18, I’m expecting the Braves will begin
the season with eight relievers.   Assuming Peter Moylan is healthy and
Cox is comfortable with the fact that he might not be available for
back-to-back appearances during the early weeks of the season: I’d say
the early bullpen locks are: Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, Moylan,
Blaine Boyer, Eric O’Flaherty and Boone Logan. 

Jeff Bennett,
Manny Acosta, Jorge Campillo, Buddy Carlyle, Kris Medlen will be
battling for one of those final two spots.   My expectation is that at
least one of these hurlers will be traded. 

Also with Jo-Jo
Reyes pitching well, there’s seemingly less reason to send Campillo to
Triple-A Gwinnett to remain conditioned as a starter.  So I would have
to say, I’m guessing Campillo begins the season in Atlanta.

With
Bennett and Acosta available the final spot, it also would make sense
to let Medlen gain more seasoning as a starter at the Triple-A level.  
But I think we’ll be seeing him in Atlanta at some point this year. 

The Braves haven’t announced tonight’s lineup yet. I’ll post it in the comments section later.

In
case you were wondering, my Final Four predictions are West Virginia,
Oklahoma, Missouri and Pitt.  But when WVU plays my alma mater tomorrow
at 3 p.m., you better believe that I’ll be pulling for Dayton.      

31 Comments

Nice blog Mark.

My pen is
Gonzo
Soriano
Moylan(if healthy)
Boyer
Acosta
Logan
O’Flaherty
Campillo

Bennett gets moved.

Final 4:
Louisville
Missouri
Pitt
Gonzaga

Wow… Glavine really played it safe there. All #1 seeds!

My final four – UNC, PITT, Wake, UCONN (3 #1 seeds… I guess I don’t have room to talk)

Mark is this a major concern for the braves with Ken?
Also I think Moylan will be fine and I agree that Carlyle will probably be the guy we trade, but what would his trade value be?
Final Four
Michigan State vs. Maryland
FSU vs. North Carolina
3 ACC teams haha

I think we’ve found ourselves an ACC fan, who must have something against Wake….should have just made it a perfect 4-for-4 n. wilson…there doesn’t seem to be any concern about Kawakami’s shoulder. he felt some fatigue on Wednesday and the Braves decided it would be best to push him back until next Wednesday….Chipper took BP today. He thinks he’ll be ready to play early next week….Garret Anderson is still scheduled to do some light jogging on Friday.

Bullpen:
Moylan
Soriano
Gonzalez
Bennett
Boyer
Carlyle
Logan

Final 4:
UNC, Michigan State, Memphis, Pitt.

Forgot to post the lineup: Jordan Schafer CF Omar Infante 3B Kelly Johnson 2B Greg Norton 1B Jeff Francoeur RF Yunel Escobar SS Matt Diaz LF David Ross Vazquez P

Brandon Inge turned Vazquez’s third pitch into a moon shot that landed just over the left field wall. From there the right-hander retired the next three batters he faced.

Why does everyone want to trade Buddy Carlyle? He’s been a rock for us. When he was starting in 07, he would go out and give quality starts, pitch 5-6 innings and kept the score close. Then we stuck him in the bullpen last year and he really saved our collective butts several times when Charlie Morton and Jo-Jo went to pieces several times early in games. Why isn’t Morton on the trade block? He’s major league ready but he hasn’t shown much constienticy when it comes to going deep in games and throwing strikes. Thats why Im so worried about Hanson. Morton was getting rave reviews before we brought him up last year and then he went to the dumpster because we brought him up to early when he didn’t know enough and he got knocked around like a bowling pin.

Mark why isn’t Charlie Morton worthy of a trade? Or Jo-Jo?

Campillo should be traded before the season starts. His value will probably never be higher than it is now, and we have no use for him with Reyes and Hanson both capable of stepping in if we have injuries in the rotation. Carlyle could also be used as a spot starter. That said, I think the Braves will keep Reyes on the roster until Glavine is activated and only keep O’Flaherty OR Logan.

Final 4: Michigan State, Purdue, North Carolina, Duke

And the Big Ten gets revenge on the ACC for the early-season challenge (won by ACC 6-5) when Michigan State wins it all.

jimphelps, the Braves wanted to leave Morton in AAA all last year because they didn’t think he was major-league ready and they wanted him to have a full season at Richmond. Unfortunately when all our starters except JJ went down, we didn’t have much choice but to throw him into a fire he wasn’t ready to put out yet. Give him another year in AAA and he’ll be ready. But what will we do with him with Hanson ready, Reyes throwing so well and Hudson returning in August?

Jim: there’s no doubt that Carlyle has been valuable over the past few years and that’s why he has some value on the trade market. Reyes might have more value. But at the same time, there’s a greater need to keep a young starter like him in your system. I really don’t think Morton has much value on the trade market.
My reason for saying there’s a greater immediate need for Reyes stems from the fact that Campillo can fill the same role as Carlyle. But while saying this, I won’t dispute Lee’s post which indicated Campillo should be traded because his value will never be any higher.

I’m not sure if they keep defensive stats in the Grapefruit League, but I think that’s the third time Francoeur has nailed a runner at the plate this year. Attempting to score from second on an Adam Everett single, Gerald Laird found David Ross standing in front of the plate holding the ball that Francoeur had just unleashed from right field.

Ok, well that makes sense. It just seems in all the posts, everyone wants to get rid of Buddy and he’s done so well for us, I hate to see him get thrown outta Atlanta like we couldn’t wait to dump him.

I still say we hold Buddy in the pen and trade Campillo though.

I agree, jimphelps. Keep Carlyle. And maybe if Morton goes 16-3 for Gwinnett, he’ll have some great trade value at the end of the year. But we don’t have any roster spots open to trade for major leaguers, so we’re only going to be trading for prospects. Ergo, the only reason to trade a guy now is because 1) we have to make a hard decision because of options (Josh Anderson or Bennett/Acosta perhaps) or 2) his value is at its peak and we’ll never get more for him (Campillo).

Mark, does Brandon Jones still have an option remaining?

Michigan’s beating Clemson so far and American’s hanging in there with Villanova (20-19)

Following Yunel Escobar’s RBI double to left-center, Matt Diaz directed a Dontrelle Willis fastball to right field for a two-run single. It provided a deja vu moment and for good reason. Diaz has 10 hits, including a double and three homers, in 24 career at-bats against D-Train.

Halftime: American U. 41, Villanova 31

I see in the box score Dontrelle is really lighting it up this spring with a 14-plus ERA so far

Nova will come back to win that one…I’m a little concerned about the fact that Clemson is getting beat by that school employed the once-promising football coach.
Vazquez was pulled with two outs in the fifth because he’d exceeded his pitch count, which I believe was 75….He allowed one run and four hits while recording six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. He threw 52 of his 79 pitches for strikes.

Clemson is down 46-32 and Oglesby was ejected for throwing an elbow. Stick a fork in Clemson…it’s done.

American 45, Nova 36 17:00 to go

Wonderful to see Vasquez strong in his first outing in a Braves uni

American 53, Nova 43, 13 mins to go

I’m liking that Jeff has a nice little seven game hitting streak going – and that he finally has an extrabase hit.
And Matt Diaz really wants a starting job. And he’s playing like he deserves one.

I’ve always thought Diaz could be an everyday player. The fact that he got off to a bad start against righties last year is the only negative blip he’s had with us. Up till then, he hit righties just fine, and with his new approach, he might hit .330 against both lefties and righties

Anyone else want to bring Andruw back? He is still one of my favorite players and it kills me to see him suck like he does. I think he can really turn it around if he was with us. I mean there are no other options. Come on Wren! Come on Cox! Nothing to lose, everything to win.
I hope Willis turns it around as well. He was one of my favorite players when he was with the Marlins. I remember seeing him pitch (and getting the win) his last year with the Marlins. He has a good bat as well and somewhat fast.

Good God. Diory needs to work on his defense.

Is Diory getting molded into a future utility player? I think I’ve seen him in three different positions so far this spring.

He really reminds me of Infante with the defense and the ability to play wherever in the infield and the outfield. Maybe they want him to replace Infante next year instead of signing him to a million dollar a year deal.

Did you guys see Heyward reach over the right field wall to rob a homer in the ninth? It prompted a few atta-boys in the clubhouse. Backup catcher Alvin Colina said, “You’re 19, my (butt).”

I wish I could of seen that. I’ve been stuck watching box scores so far this spring. Who’s HR did he still?

I mean steal.

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