A tip of the cap to Glavine

Tom Glavine says that he’ll wait at least two weeks before determining if he’ll ever pitch again.  But as he spoke yesterday afternoon, it was hard to ignore the belief that he seemingly already knows his fate. 

In fact, I’m pretty sure he had a pretty good idea after he continued to feel some left shoulder discomfort while throwing his warmup pitches before the third inning of  Sunday’s Minor League rehab start in Mississippi. He chose to wait until Monday to discuss what had happened and how he was feeling. 

This uncharacteristic decision made by one of the most accommodating athletes I’ve ever covered immediately raised red flags.  As for the white flag, you could see it waving in the distance yesterday as Glavine spoke about how he currently considers the glass to be half-empty as opposed to half-full.

Throughout his career, which has included 305 wins and 4413 1/3 innings, Glavine has been an optimistic warrior who has battled through regular shoulder discomfort and other ailments that he’s never revealed. 

Glavine was miserable while experiencing his first three career trips to the disabled list last year.  Still his fighting spirit provided him incentive to attempt to spend one more healthy year in the Majors. 

But for the first time in his career, Glavine is facing the reality that he’s encountered a fight that he can’t win.

“This shoulder has logged a lot of innings,” Glavine said Tuesday. “Sooner or later, it’s going to tell me I can’t do this anymore. I hope this is not what it’s trying to tell me. But I’m prepared if it is.” 
 

If Glavine’s shoulder has indeed reached its physical limitations, we’ll all take time to celebrate the career of the fourth-winningest left-hander in Major League history.  We’ll all remember his two Cy Young Awards and his one-hit gem that clinched the 1995 World Series.

But most importantly, we should never forget that fighting spirit that he carried to the mound.  If he has indeed thrown his final pitch, I’ll never forget the grit he showed while limiting the Rockies to three hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings on April 7 of last year.
 
They announced the gametime temperature to be 41 degrees and by the time the third inning arrived you had gained the sense that the Coors Field concessionaires didn’t truly need to line their Silver Bullets in ice.

Yet during what was likely the last start that he’ll ever make without any concerning aches or pains, Glavine once again showed the grit and competitive nature that Greg Maddux recognized during his own retirement speech in December.

“One of the biggest things I learned pitching with Glavine was to realize you don’t have to be 100 percent to win,” Maddux said. “You have to take the ball and you have to go out there. That’s what he taught me.

“Sometimes it’s really easy to say, ‘I need another day or two.’ But in Atlanta, we pitched. Tommy led the way with that. He showed everybody that if you go out there, if you could throw the ball over the plate, you had a chance to win, no matter how bad you felt.”

When it does indeed come time for Glavine to announce his retirement, he’ll be showered with compliments.  But none will be more fitting than the one provided by Maddux.   

Home Sweet Home:  Whatever happens, Glavine will have the comfort of making his decision while being surrounded by his family and the organization that watched develop into one of the game’s legends. 

We saw the love of hometown fans when Ken Griffey, Jr. was showered with cheers when he came to plate for the first time in Seattle this year. 

On the flip side,  this week we’ve also witnessed how an aging legendary figure will be treated when he’s forced to continue playing in a new environment.   Garret Anderson’s Atlanta debut turned ugly last night when after dropping two foul balls, he found himself hearing boos from some Braves fans. 

Had Anderson still been playing in front of the same Angels fans, who had followed him for the past 14 years, he obviously wouldn’t have received the same treatment. 

But this isn’t a matter of fair or unfair.  It’s simply the reality that a 36-year-old outfielder has to face while introducing himself to a fan base that couldn’t care less what he’s done over the course of the past two decades in southern California.

Hanson Update:
  Javier Vazquez wasn’t the only Braves pitcher who didn’t get much run support last night.  Tommy Hanson suffered his first loss while limiting Durham to three hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings of Triple-A Gwinnett’s 1-0 loss.

Through his first two starts for Gwinnett, Hanson has worked 10 innings, allowed one run, registered 17 strikeouts and issued just four walks.   I think it’s pretty safe to assume we’ll see the big redhead in Atlanta some time in May.

As mentioned yesterday, it probably won’t be long until Kris Medlen also makes his way to Atlanta to fortify the bullpen.  I don’t want to jinx anything, so I’ll just say that the young right-hander is off to a good start during this afternoon’s start against Durham.

You can follow Medlen’s progress today on  Gameday.

Also forgot to mention you can now follow me on Twitter @mlbbravesscribe 

37 Comments

With the Marlins throwing left-hander Andrew Miller tonight, Diaz is starting in left. I’m assuming this is a move that plays to Diaz’s strengths against lefties and the Marlins. In 121 career at-bats against the Fish, Diaz has hit .425 with seven homers and a a 1.154 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).

After another performance of Bennett being Bennett, I’m going out a limb and guessing he is Gwinnett bound come Friday night when Jo Jo gets activated. If they really need another long guy, Medlen is ready to help as well.
It would be interesting if Jo Jo could fill the long relief role for an all right handed starting rotation. He would continuously get to wander through a favorable line up loaded with lefties, and it would force the hand of opposing managers if they were in catch up mode.
Let’s see how he does with this second chance.

Mark and for others interested,

Medlen pitched extremely well again today.

5 Innings Pitched/1Hit/1BB/6K’s

Bueno and Acosta bpth threw the ball well today also.

Even though Acosta took the loss with a two run dinger to Adam Kennedy in the 13th inning.

Medlin threw 55 ptches with 38 being strikes.

Acosta threw 34 pitches with 22 being strikes. Acosta also threw a 17 pitch outing in his initial appearnace with 14 of them being strikes, Of course par for the course he walked three people in his second outing. If he(Acosta) can harness a little better command consistency he can still help this pen along with Medlen.

Both have better futures than Boyer IMO. Medlen in particular.

If they’re going to do that to Bennett, so be it, but Boyer has got to go. Bennett at least has some versatility and does, in fact, have moments where he can actually pitch. Boyer, however, couldn’t get my 7 year old daughter out.

AND…

If Boyer’s in Bobby’s doghouse, why did Bobby even call for him? Was it to prove to the front office that they need to get rid of him? The way he’s pitching, he’s definitely not trade bait, and I’d really be surprised if anyone would pick him up on waivers. I don’t know, does he even have options left?

It’s amazing. Boyer knows he’s in the dog house and yet walks the first batter he sees, hits the next batter, and kickstarts a 5 run inning after entering a tied ball game. He needs a minor league wake up call ala Jeff Francoeur.
We’re seeing some pretty shotty defense out there too.
And I’m all for giving Chipper the day off… but can it come against teams not leading our division?

Bennett has had his opportunities and Boyer got his tonight. You can’t keep running the same guys out there on a nightly basis. When it comes time to make the roster move on Saturday, I don’t know if the Braves will even worry about the fact that Boyer is out of options. A 13.06 ERA over the course of the past 28 appearances is pretty telling. I’ll admit I was one of those who thought he’d turn the corner this year. In fact, when I was writing during the early portion of Spring Training that he was a lock for a bullpen spot, there were some others telling me that he wasn’t a sure thing. Everybody is enthralled with his “stuff”. Maybe he just needs to get away from the hometown and hope to find the kind of success that Kyle Davies has encountered.

To be honest when I heard Glavine was mulling retirement something inside me just wanted to stand up and shout. I love the guy and I love Smoltz too, but the guys are seriously too old. It’s a great story to see Smoltz try to come back from an injury year in and year out, but it’s kinda like a Brett Farve situation. What else do you possibly need from baseball? You are injured, and hopefully before you tear your arm all to pieces just retire.

It was so predictable tonight. I was on my phone getting updates like every hour or so. I looked at it and it was 10 to 4 and I just said out loud at my friends house “BOYER!” Before I even saw who it was. This guy needs to go. Maybe like Mark said he will find some Kyle Davies stuff. Who knows.

It’s too bad that so early in a new season Mark and much of the baseball writing community seems to have to be writing “farewells” so often, but fortunately for the Braves community we should get a chance to give a proper goodbye to Glavine if in fact this is the end. I’ll admit that I was one of those fans that did not understand Glavine leaving for the Mets at the time he did it, and I know I held it (unfairly) against him for a time. However, the Braves struggles since the loss of Glavine and Maddux has only made me appreciate him all the more. As I watched the Braves bullpen blow-up once again this evening the thought crossed my mind that it’s too bad guys like Boyer and many of our other young pitchers who have struggled the past few years did not get the chance to spend more time around Glavine and Maddux. It’s true that they did get to spend time around another legend in Smoltz, but there was never any question through the years that Smoltz had the best “stuff” of the big three. I’m sure young pitchers can learn a lot from Smoltz, but if you’re not blessed with his slider and fastball, those lessons can only take you so far. Glavine and Maddux just knew how to pitch without being naturally endowed with a dominant arm. More importantly, you never got the impression from either of those guys that they were ever intimidated by major league hitters, and they were both smart. The young guys could have learned a TON from their approach and style which they never got to see. The only other thing I can say is that I completely join Mark in giving a tip of the cap to one of the best lefthanded pitchers baseball ever saw.

As a high school teammate of Davies at Stockbridge, I am thrilled to see him off to a good start!
I’m pulling for Glavine. I really feel bad that he has been healthy his whole career and then has to deal with this at the worst possible time. I know he wants to end things strong and on his terms… not his shoulder’s.
I will agree that Boyer has good stuff. And I know he’s a good kid… but he’s a liability. It’s time to part ways. We have the tools in place to have a good bullpen… it’s time to utilize them.
btw… one thing that nobody has mentioned in these comments – the Marlins are legit! I am more worried about them than the Mets OR the Phillies. We have to give credit where it’s due… and the Marlins certainly deserve it! They have studs in their lineup and solid pitching.

The bad news is the Braves have Bennett and Boyer sitting there with “great arms” and no command. I just can’t see them getting much for either or both as they are the standard “run them out there” clones that every team has 2 or 3 of already.

The good news is the answer to the problem is 40 miles up I-85 in Gwinnett. Medlen is ready. If Jo Jo can hold his own in the 2 spot starts, then those two can really help in the bullpen. If Jo Jo isn’t ready again, we all know who is sitting in Gwinnett with an “S” on his chest waiting for the exact hour this season doesn’t count towards arbitration.

Agreed bravomania, Marlins are legit.

Boyer is now officially in a “GOTS to GO” situation.

Above average arm, above average stuff accompanied by either no understanding of how to pitch or a penchant to “soil himself” under pressure.

I know the braves wouldn’t go this route but if it were me there would have been a few roster moves this morning.

Sammons optioned to AAA
Ross activated off the DL
Boyer DFA’ed
D. Hernandez recalled form Gwinnett. Hernandez would only be for two games carry the extra bat off the bench while Chipper is hurting.
Then Saturday Reyes is recalled and Hernandez can be optioned back to AAA.

Since all are already on the 40MAN, it wouldn’t hurt to grab the extra position player for a couple of games.

Then put Bennett on notice that his time is drawing to a close without some improvement in the command consistency department.

Too many good arms in AAA to settle for the continued mediocre performances in the pen.

We used to joke about Boyer at the games last season. He could get two outs, then he couldn’t close the deal. Unfortunately it was a very consistent trend. That is more mental than physical, and the Braves don’t have the luxury to work it out with him.
D Hernandez can hit, but he makes Alfonso Soriano look like a gold glove infielder. He is way far away from being able to play in the Majors. Hit yes, field? Not even close. I don’t see that part yet. Boyer now Bennett soon looks to be a given.

I agree, Mark, Boyer strikes me as the kind of player that would benefit from a change of scenery. Maybe we can lock up with a team in a similar situation and work a trade.

I think Moylan is just going through the typical post-TJ surgery bumps. Whereas most guys go through them on rehab assignments, he’s going through them at the MLB level. Not sure what to do with this situation.

This just in from the I’ve got a firm grasp on the obvious department,
Pitching is 90% about one thing, strike one. When you are ahead the ball just off the plate is a swinging strike or a foul ball, when it’s 1-0, it’s ball 2.
Same with base stealing, best defense against base stealers is 2 quick strikes on the hitter. 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, he’s on his way to second. 0-1, 0-2, 1-2, he stays put.
This isn’t rocket science. Bobby has to be amazed at the number of pitchers who don’t get it. Not withstanding the number who can’t do it consistently.

Hernandez would only be up for two games in my scenario rother.

As a bat off the bench since Braves are effectively playing with 12 position players for last night’s game and today’s.

He(Hernandez) would only be a bat off the bench for today and Friday’s game then Reyes would take his spot Saturday when he’s recalled.

No sense in playing short when it’s not necessary.

Agreed, The Braves need one more pinch hitter for the weekend, and the guy who would do the best job, Canizares, isn’t on the 40 man.

Hopefully Kawakami pitches a gem today for 7 plus innings and it won’t be an issue.

Agreed rother ,Canizares would be nice if he were on the 40 Man. That’s why hernadez should be the choice.

Though I’m sure you(rother) realize like I, that we are discussing a moot point. We know the Braves will just go with the short handed roster until Chipper can return.

Moot point aside now.

Hernandez injured his oblique muscle yesterday in Durham.

Will be out for a few days in AAA, possibly more.

That just leaves Brandon Jones if they feel the need to fortify for the weekend. He could do it as well.

From the still tilting at windmills department:

Just for today the Braves could activate Ross, hold on to Sammons for today and McCann could still be used as a pinch hitter without worry today.

Then tomorrow Sammons could be optioned and Reys could be added a day early, at least he can swing a decent stick for a pitcher, could be avaialble as a pinch hitter for a day.

Any way you slice it no reason to play short handed even for a day. it’s just not necessary. Some times it can’t be helped, Travel, roster machinations, so on and so forth, but today at the very least Ross should be activated and Sammons held onto for a day while Boyer departs.

David, best guess on Boyer’s departure time/date. Set the over/under for us.

Saturday at the latest.

He should be jettisoned today. Trade if possible more than likely though a DFA.

If not today then Saturday when Reyes is added to the active roster.

IMO, Boyer,Bennett are the only two candidates.

It’s clear Bobby has a little confidence left in Bennett(misguided or not) while having zero confidence left in Boyer.

I think Boyer will stick around until Saturday morning. I’d have to say I’m 98 percent sure he’ll be designated when Reyes is added to the roster.

Man it doesn’t take long for our soft defensive spots to get poked does it.
Good thing we have veteran pitchers to smooth out a lot of the weak spots. There is a BIG difference between two out bases empty and no outs guys on first and second.

Now it looks like the pitcher’s fault in the box score. Which it isn’t, again.

Because he still has tendency to live up in the strike zone, Kawakami is going to give up his fair share of homers. But like you said Rother, the Braves should be batting now in a scoreless game.

Something I’ve noticed from Schaffer’s AB’s these first few weeks: He seems to really lose his patience and eye once that first called strike occurs that he’s not expecting. Be it the AB just now with the called high strike or earlier this week versus the lefties where they’d get a low/inside strike call. Once the pitcher gets that first called strike, Schaffer seems to really expand where he’ll swing, and that’s when his rather long and loopy swing gets exposed. I like his patience, and I’m sure as he gets more experience he’ll learn not to expand that zone just because a strike call goes against him.

These Marlins are so frustrating. They are serious though, and why wouldn’t they be? After all, they seem to win the NL Wildcard every six years, and then we all know what happens. Last World Series Championship: 2003. So go figure.

And yes JMOONEY I agree with you about Schafer. He has Jeff Francouer of 2008 syndrome. He gets ahead of himself and thinks he has to rush it when he gets that 0-1 count on him. Can we call the Rangers hitting coach and have him as a special assistant?

Escobar strained his abdominal muscle while doing his usual jumping exercise in the on-deck circle before his fifth-inning at-bat…Cox says at least 3-4 days and Escobar says he’ll be ready to play tomorrow. I think we can assume he’ll miss at least Friday’s game…Campillo is going on the DL with a fatigued right shoulder and James Parr will be coming up tomorrow.

Rough series, no doubt about it. Starters had to work way too hard in the early going. The bullpen was shaky. The defense was poor.

Too early to worry, right? Or not?

At least the road trip is promising: Pittsburgh, Washington, Cincinnati. Just win series, guys. Take two of three in each spot, and that would ease the angst of three stinky days against the Fighting Fish.

Of course, the Braves have to get back to doing the little things like they did in the first two series of the season … make plays defensively, move runners over, etc.

I think Boyer is gone, too. I hope he makes it through waivers and can get to Gwinnett, get straightened out and help this team at some point. But right now, he’s gotta get outta here.

Bud.
http://budmansbravesbeat.mlblogs.com

I noticed several entries talking about the need for a good pinch hitter. Has anyone noticed that Andrew Jones has been a great find in the occasional designated hitter position for the Rangers. Who would have thought it?
LaMon

Where have you seen entries asking to fill a need for a good pinch hitter? We have Norton, Infante, Diaz, Prado, and Greg Anderson coming off the bench. That’s one of our strengths!
If we wanted a double-play hitting, strikeout-prone, pop-out behind home plate rally killer we can give Andruw a call. Until then, our bullpen and defense should take priority.

Agreed bravomania on our current depth at pinch-hitter. I believe Norton is the active leader for pinch-hit homeruns (if not, he’s second or third), and Prado and Infante are both excellent pinch hitters as well. The bullpen is clearly area #1 of concern.

To defend Andruw a little bit though, the early returns really look like he’s changed drastically. His spring ended with a .300 Avg and 3 homers. His couple of games this year is 3 doubles, 1 homer, 4 BB’s, and just 2 K’s. I’ve made a point of watching the Rangers games when he’s in the line-up just to see what he does, and Rudy Jaramillo seems to have worked wonders. He’s staying back so much better than he ever did as a Brave. Much like Francoeur, he also appears to have a new found ability to recognize and lay-off the outside breaking pitch. I know Merv Rettenmund and Terry Pendleton both tried to get him to stay back and he was obstinate about not wanting to change his approach. Apparently a catastrophic failure in LA and a visit to the “hitting guru” might have finally changed the guy for the better.

Well hopefully we can pull things around against the Pirates, who we somewhat struggled against last year.
Not a good sign with the injuries.
Glavine, Campillo, Chipper, and Escobar are all hurt. We will obviously be fine with Glavine not playing considering we have plenty of depth in the starting pitching, but Campillo, Chipper, and Escobar can’t stay out for too long or it will be a very long season.
http://darion.mlblogs.com/

Going to post a new blog when I get back upstairs. Obviously Chipper and Escobar are out of tonight’s lineup. It will be interesting to hear how Escobar is feelng and my guess is that Chipper will return on Sunday.

tomatalk: I haven’t seen many of Andruw’s at-bats. But I was impressed by the way he spit on a number a curveballs while drawing a walk in the ninth inning of Monday’s loss to the Orioles. Still it was best for him to move to an unfamiliar environment, where maybe he has gotten himself right.

Derek Lowe just completed a long-toss throwing session. He stands in left field while two coaches stand in left field. One of the coaches hits fly balls to him and the other coach grabs his throws.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 45,030 other followers

%d bloggers like this: