McCann expects to enter in the sixth inning

Brian McCann told me that he doesn’t want to walk off the field as an All-Star Game loser for the fourth consecutive season.  As you might remember, he entered last year’s Midsummer Classic in the bottom of the 15th inning, just in time to make unsuccessful attempt to prevent Justin Morneau from scoring the game-ending run.

McCann won’t have to wait around as long this year to enter the game.  The 25-year-old catcher is  expecting to enter in the sixth inning which means we’ll likely get to see him get at least one at-bat.  He is hitless in his two career All-Star Game at-bats. 

It’s been obvious that McCann is much more relaxed than he was during his three previous trips to the All-Star Game.  Before batting practice today, he was cutting up with David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman in the same manner that he has over the past few years with so many Braves.

A few weeks ago in Cincinnati, when the Braves were trying to snap a four-game losing streak during the series finale with McCann getting a rest, Chipper Jones exited the clubhouse’s batting cage and found McCann talking to some of his teammates around his locker.

Here’s how the comical exchange developed from there:

Chipper:  You’ve been summoned to the batting cage.
McCann: What do you need? All I’m going to do is go in there and make fun of people.
Chipper:  In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve lost four straight and we need you in there to get the guys loose.

With that, McCann immediately walked toward the batting cage and seemingly helped to lighten the mood.  The Braves responded with a 7-0 win that afternoon.

I went into the stands to talk to McCann’s parents this evening and it’s definitely great to see how much they enjoy sharing in the All-Star experience with their son. 

“The parade is still the best for me,” Howie McCann said.  “To see him out there with (Derek) Jeter and Mariano (Rivera) and all of those guys is just great.”

Some of you have asked about Omar Infante.  He was hoping to being his Minor League rehab assignment within the next week.  We’ll learn more about his status on Thursday.



It’s cool to have a jokster on the team. I know Smoltz was that kind of guy and with him gone it’s good to have someone around to lighten the mood. Hopefully he can contribute to an NL win tonight.

Tim Hudson is a bigtime prankster.

I just finished my mid-season review of the Braves. Lengthy piece (6000 words), but some of you may be interested:

Yea I forgot about Hudson. There is a video out there somewhere with him scaring Eddie Perez in his hotel room. It is hilarious. Very nice blog by the way PWHjort. Keep up the exceptional work.

Wow. This has really turned into promote your little It would be nice if we could talk about baseball and not about you guys little sites.

Mac says he’s more excited about this second half than any other before. These next 14 games against the Mets, Giants, Brewers and Marlins are extremely important. This stretch carries up right up to the trade deadline. Somewhere over these next two weeks, we’ll get a better idea about which direction they should go via the trade market.

Heading back to the hotel and will fly back to Atlanta tomorrow. That was a fun road trip. For me it started at Wrigley and ended at the All-Star Game. I’ll probably lay low tomorrow working on some Maddux stuff. But I’ll catch up with you on Thursday.

Heh. Billreef. Always making a stink. The more things change…. Anyway, the player I enjoyed watching most last night was Felix Hernandez. He’s going to be very, very good for a long time.

So Mark.. what do you think will happen with the immediate lineup after the break? I’m assuming Yunel and Casey will be back so that Diory and Brooks Conrad will be back on the bench. Do you maybe see a platoon at 1B against lefties, where Brooks play 2B and Martin is at 1B? I know it’s only been 10 games, but Conrad has been killing it. His .355/.375/.710 line is pretty impressive. It feels like it has been since McCann / Frenchy / KJ were called up that we had anyone from the minors immediately hitting well in the bigs.

Jordan Schafer disagrees with you, vivabeta. I kid, I kid. My explanation for this phenomenon, (and I certainly agree that this has been the trend) is that they’re not exposed to advance scouts who figure out how to get them out when they’re first called up. Pitchers eventually learn how to pitch to them and they show everyone why they don’t belong. It’s the ones that keep proving you wrong you get excited about. (Martin Prado, anyone??)

Oh I agree. I’m just saying keep him in until they figure him out, and if they don’t…well isn’t that just awesome for us. I mean, he hit pretty well against some good pitching from the Cubs and Rockies.

Yeah his PCL numbers are good. I think he’s got a shot at an MLB career. Probably won’t ever make an all-star team or win any sort of awards, but I think he has a shot at a nice career.

There is no reason that the Braves can’t make a run in the second half. There are a couple of very important things that I wanted to point out. There were times during the year that the Braves had 3 HUGE holes in the line-up. KJ, JF an Shaeffer cost the Braves at least 5 games, maybe 10. What was Shaeffers average with RISP? I think less than 150. JF really had trouble in these situations after the first two weeks of the season and KJ got enough starts to see his average decline from a pathetic 240 to 210. I think a lot of this is related to Infante’s injury since Prado was continously filling in for Kochman and Chipper and KJ was the only option.
During the second half, here is what I see happenning
The starting pitching will be good, but not quite as good. Prado will come back to earth and only hit around 290 or 300 (which is fine). Kochman will hit at least 10 HRs and Chipper at least 15. Church will show an improvement over Francouer in situational hitting and will have just as many OF assists as Francouer. Escobar will continue to show why he is the best all round SS in the game, FOR REAL. He does it all and guess what even the best players have mental lapses from time to time. Yes Escobar has more, but his talent level is fantastic and hitting with RISP proves that he does really focus when it counts.

Can Bobby please stop asking 300 hitters like Prado and Diaz bunt. Let them drive the ball and go for a double. It never works out even if the bunt is successful (which is rare). I am also not a fan of player giving themselves up by hitting to RF. I would rather them just hit the ball hard and try to find a hole. If the pitch dictates a RF swing is appropriate then so be it. Too many times guys strike out, pop up and don’t get the job done. Even when the job is done, the run still never seems to score.

Braves give us something to watch in the second half. I would take KK or Hanson over Pedro any day and Braves line-up really looks solid. They should be at 500, but lost a tough one on Sunday.


Hmm Idk about that, Mr. Acziffer. Phillies and Mets are just going to get better. This next series means a lot, but it won’t make or break our season. Sweeping the Mets means being in second (That is if the Phils win the series). Being in second is good. The faster this 4 horse race turns into 3, the better. The longer we stay in the race, the better. I wanted to see the Mets fall to 12 games back and the deadline. That most likely happen. The Phillies had a gift win on Sunday and so did the Rockies. I think the pitching will be better, but the offense won’t. wouldn’t it be ironic if during the second we played like the 07/08 Braves?(Smackin’ the ball but giving up runs like condoms at a high school pep rally).

I think the offense will be drastically better. No Schafer, Francoeur, and only KJ if he’s productive. I’d like to see us add a 1B and a reliever, though.

Off to read PWHjorts report, be back in 5 min.

Won’t load, off to bed…

Unfortunately I don’t see the rescue ship on the horizon. There are too many holes in this years club to even patch with a couple of really good players, which I doubt we have the financial or trade capability to get anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I as much as anyone would love to see this team go on a tear. I have been a die hard fan for a VERY long time. I think that this team has some fundamantal problems which cost them a lot of games. We don’t execute fundamantal baseball on a consistent basis. As a team we don’t execute well. We suck at base running. We have some serious holes on defense. We are the worst team in baseball at working a count. Our bullpen is erratic. We have a lot of problems with young stars who arrive with great promise and somehow soon crash and burn. Oh and did I mention that we suck at baserunning:)

All that being said, I will hold my breath and hope for the best. But the 2000’s are starting to look like the 1980’s.

1. McLouth CF
2. Prado 2B
3. Jones 3B
4. McCann C
5. Escobar SS
6. Anderson LF
7. Diaz RF
8. Kotchman 1B
9. Lowe RHP

With a lefty on the mound (or ever), I don’t know why you would bat Garret in front of Diaz, but not that big of a deal.

He does it so that he has alternating Righties and Lefties. It makes the opposing manager use more relievers, theoretically at least.

Do we know exactly how Bobby intends to use Diaz, Anderson, and Church? This may be oversimplifying things but….Church’s stats this year (I know it’s limited) show a glaring difference in success between righties and lefties with, obviously, the greater success against righthanders. Anderson, oddly, shows better success against lefties. And, lastly, Diaz’s OPS is higher against righties than Anderson’s is against righties. Why not play Diaz all the time (where he rakes against lefties and still better than Anderson v. righties), with Church and Anderson platooning (Church v. righties and Anderson v. lefties)? All I hear or read is that Bobby plans on using Diaz and Church in a platoon, but hasn’t Diaz earned the right to start fulltime (at least given our personnel) and not as part of a platoon? I mean, if we let Francoeur start all the time as long as we did with poor results, but don’t feel comfortable giving Diaz the green light, then something is wrong.

Just a couple of quick tidbits then I’ll provide a new entry during the game…Gonzalez is still battling what he thinks is “normal” soreness, but he’s available tonight…Javy Vazquez threw a bullpen today and said he’ll be ready for Friday…Tim Hudson threw another 10-minute live BP without any problems. Just three days shy of beginning his Minor League rehab assignment, Hudson knows he’s going to spend the next five weeks looking to gain more consistency with his control and get a better feel for pitching from the stretch…Francoeur arrived around noon today. Jokingly, he said he was happy the Braves hadn’t towed his car out of the player’s lot.

Recently, heard a rumor that we offered Escobar for Holliday. I think that would be a horrible trade for us. That would improve our outfield but put a HUGE hole in the shortstop who would we put there Hernadez? Just puttin that out there. I would be sick if that happened

There is zero truth to those Escobar rumors. The Braves have NO and I repeat no intention to move him. Believe me, if they move him, it will simply be a deal that they simply can’t refuse and that wouldn’t include anything involving Holliday.

Talent wise Escobar is among the top shortstops in the league. His mentality is the only thing that keeps him from that elite group. It really is in Atlanta’s best interest to keep him unless his relationship with the team and front office goes really far south. Wouldn’t Atlanta have to include Vazquez in a trade for Holliday anyway because of his contract?

Oliver Perez. This is a guy who walked SEVEN batters in his last start. SEVEN. And we see all of five pitches in the first inning. Good job, Braves. That was an excellent defensive inning (the first), though. Though I scratch my head at the outfield defensive alignment when Luis Castillo was up. This guy?s a slap singles hitter and Cadahia had the outfield playing him to pull the ball. Huh????

Moneyball, Vazquez has a no-trade clause to the NL and AL West teams. Plus Oakland would want prospects for Holliday, not players that make money. If we dealt for Holliday I’d imagine Oakland would eat his salary. Though I don’t see that happening.

I just read where Towers is listening to offers for AGon. What do you all think of this proposal

Atlanta gets AGon and Eckstein

Pads get Escobar, Medlen, Rohrbough, Cody Johnson and Freeman.

IS that a doable trade?

No because if they trade Gonzalez Kyle Blanks is going to play 1B so they wouldn’t have much use for Freeman.

Value-wise, that probably makes sense. But it ravishes our farm.

PWH, but look at the talen they could get if the swung Freeman to another team looking for a good young 1B prospect, such as the white sox or Orioles or even the Red Sox.

@Ericpc22. I like the idea of getting AGon, but why deplete our farm when we may be able to throw in Kotchman and Medlen and maybe one other player. We have no idea what it will take to get him. He isn’t that expensive really. He won’t make over 6 per for a few years. I like the idea but why give up Freeman and Johnson when Casey Kotchman is here. If AGon comes over then Casey Kotchman will have what use?

Adrian Gonzalez will not be traded. End of story. Medlen is mediocre at best. Escobar is not going anywhere and Cody Johnson has strikeout issues. He hits home runs but he is striking out at a very alarming rate in the lower levels. Rohrbough is also getting smashed at Advanced A Myrtle Beach so I think he lost some of his value. Freeman should be considered an untouchable.

jd8907, I think Johnson is a tad overrated on our parts as fans. Kotchman, trade him off for a few lid level prospects, someone will want him. My point is, who else are they going to find for that power and THAT CHEAP. If Towers is seriously taking offers for him, I believe Atlanta HAS TO make a run at him.

Oh no I completely agree with you. I just look at it like trying to buy something or bargaining. Start low and work your way up. Don’t just walk in and throw out 6 names. Throw out a few and then work it out until both sides are happy. At least Towers and Wren find it easy to agree on things right?

I look at things this way, you have no guarantee of what Freeman will do. Look at Shafer. So why not go for a proven guy who is cheap. Wren figure out a way to get it done. I don’t care who we give them as long as it’s not Hanson or Heyward.

Gonzalez isn’t going to be traded unless we give up Heyward or Hanson. Why would the Padres, who are a franchise in a downward spiral, trade the face of their franchise? They are already having trouble making money so why would they trade their best player who is also very cheap? It doesn’t make any sense for him to be traded unless they are completely overwhelmed. For them to be overwhelmed it’s going to take Hanson or Heyward.

Eric, not picking on you but you say why not trade Freeman because he is unproven but then you say don’t trade Heyward. Neither of them are proven so what’s the difference?

OK, what the he$$ is Mac doing???? You NEVER slide into home head first when the catcher is blocking the plate… Bobby needs to bench that boy until he learns better!! LOL Joke folks. Hey moneyball, I’m just basing this off of what Towers said. The Padres have no franchise, that’s my point, do like the Marlins did, rip it all the way down and rebuild young. We have enough to make that trade without giving up Hanson or Heyward.

JD, we really have no one in the system like Heyward, or to replace him. My point to that was, if you are going after AGON what’s the point in holding onto Freeman for? I’m not saying Heyward is going to be the next Puljos or the next Frenchy, but I’m saying there isn’t someone out there on the trading block to replace him.

Just checking in to Matt Diaz has the best hands through the zone of damn near anyone I have ever seen. He get’s to pitches that humans should not be able to hit. He needs to be playing every day. He could wind up with career .320-.350 numbers if he got to play every day. His defense is a lot better than when he came up and if he relaxed into an everyday role in the outfield I think we would be a serviceable defensive outfielder. I also absolutely love what this guy brings to the dugout. He hustles and plays smart. This team really needs more of all that right now.

Gonzalez is only 27 as well as very cheap. He is exactly what the Padres want. Don’t get me wrong, Eric, I want him just as much as you do. But the quicker you come to terms with the fact that Hanson or Heyward will need to go to get him the better. In all seriousness if I was Towers I would demand both, no joke.

OH I imagine Towers would ask for one if not both of them, but I hope it gets shot down quickly. However, I believe Towers is getting pressure from AGON to go to a winner, he wants to win. That’s why I’m thinking that it’s possible to swing that trade without giving them up. I just don’t want to see the Redsox get AGON. That would make me sick. LOL They are becoming worse than the Yankees. LOL

Braves stratagey has to be to get these Mets out of the race. Like I said before: “The faster this 4 horse race turns into 3, the better. The longer we stay in the race, the better. I wanted to see the Mets fall to 12 games back and the deadline.”

Braves stratagey has to be to get these Mets out of the race. Like I said before: “The faster this 4 horse race turns into 3, the better. The longer we stay in the race, the better. I wanted to see the Mets fall to 12 games back and the deadline.”

Guess what Francoeur still does… Makes a ton of outs. 5 in 4 PA’s tonight. Would’ve been 6 if that run-scoring groundout wasn’t so patheticly hit. Jurrjens4NLCy, I bought “3 Nights in August” today.

PWHjort, Yea! Good. I’m sure you’ll love it. I rented it at a Cracker Barrel on my way to St Louis a while ago. Great Read… Mark, Did Jeff have any comments on Atlanta pitching?

Just a quick note…..I think my eyes may have deceived me, but did I see the Braves manufacture a run in the 8th based on a hustle infield single by Garrett Anderson and a sac. bunt by Matt Diaz? Nah..must have been a dream.

Okay seriously on the AGON stuff…I wouldnt necessarily say we’d have to give up Hanson or Heyward…and if it came down between those two having to go it’d be Heyward…Hanson is undoubtedly our future ace…if anyone thinks otherwise. they have seen him pitch and they know nothing of baseball. BUT if Heyward had to go in it… I could live with it. AGon could be our second chance at a superstar first basemen since we lost Texiera…plus if we do trade for him he’s under a cheap contract for the next 3 years…and oh guess what guys when Chipper retires (gasp) after his 3 year contract expires…guess were that cash goes…hmm Agon’s pocket. Plus I believe Chipper and the rest of the braves deserve someone of Agon’s status on the diamond which would truely have us as at least annual contenders. Casey Kotchman…270’s 4 homeruns 30 rbis…Agon 250 24 hr 51 rbis 61 walks…taking the bat out of his hands has hurt him b/c heck teams can afford to pitch around him. PLUS he wants to be on a winning club…so if we could offer the right package… So here’s a thought for the peanut gallery….Kotchman, K Johnson, and prospects maybe heyward but if not some other of our prospects even Freeman. maybe some cash as well. And if we could dump Kawakami out west thatd be good too. I think thatd at least make Towers think real hard on it. Theyd have someone to fill first until Freeman or one of their kids is ready, KJ needs a change of scenery. then throw some prospects in…might be a deal maker. just saying.

Braveswillriseagain, No. Not going to trade Heyward, Never. Unless Cardinals offer Ryan Ludwick, Albert Pujols, 100 million dollars, and 10 WS Championship trophies. I just don’t see it happening. Looking over todays game… Yunel’s arm is great but only because of Kotchmans glove. He can pick anything. No reason to get rid of him. Casey helps with prevention of runs, and AGon wouldn’t.

On the Yunel thing…he made a few low throws…all on plays on him ranging deep into the hole, its gonna happen from time to time…..9 out of 10 times Yunel hits casey right in the chest. Agon is also a solid defensive player….Casey brings nothing to the plate….I could personally give up a few runs if the guy I’m doing it is hitting 24 homers at the break and has 20+ RBIs more than my current first basemen. Plus they have similar salaries for the nex 2-3 seasons. And as a Brave fan I can’t wait and see if Heyward will live up to the hype or will he be a bust…but if it came down to getting a 1st basemen that consistently hits for power and rbis whos also cheap or putting all my money on a 20-22 yr old kid whos never taken a major league at bat….the smart moves says take the 1st baseman in his prime at age 27 whos going to hit you 30+ a season….100 rbis etc. I mean thats kinda easy. With that being said I dont personally want to trade Heyward, only if I HAD TO. I much rather package Freddie Freeman with maybe Rohgsberg(sp), Kotchman, and KJ. If Heyward had to be the centerpiece then so be it…you cant count on unproven talent for the future….ie the Padres most of their players are home grown kids….most are busts….besides its not like theyd win anything with Heyward if he did turn out to be worth the hype…bc the way our talking about him he’s the next and greater albert pujols and thats just silly

Since Im at work and bored…his some more ideas as far as who we should move. I’ve already said who’d Id give up for Agon which is pretty much any prospect aside from Hanson and Heyward only if absolutly necessary Heyward would go. then throw in Kotchman and Kelly Johnson. Id say now may be a good time to try and shop Kenshin Kawakami as well. If we could move him that will save us about 12-13 mill in salary the next 2 seasons, plus we wouldnt have to pay him fully for the rest of this season. I think we’d only be able to move him somewhere in the AL. Don’t get me wrong I really do like the guy and he’s been like wine for us, better with time as it seems he’s getting more comfortable but all that aside where do you fit him in when Huddy comes back? We can’t carry six starters and I certainly do not want to give away Javier Vazquez unless it was a straight up swap for Holliday and even then id ask for cash. Face it guys Javy has been our best starter by far this year and esp the most consistent if we had gave him run support the first half of the season he could have been around the range of 12 wins already….We also have him under contract at a 11.5 m for the next 2 years I believe which echos Hudson’s contract. If at all possible id like to keep both of them, i think the only way this doesnt happen would be due to financial constrictions. But this is where trading Kawakami to the AL comes in as salary relief especially we got a few prospects for him, if we couldnt include him in a deal for Agon or an outfielder. My main point is there will be no room for Kawakami to pitch once Hudson returns esp if he returns to old Huddy form aka the way he was pitching before he went down last year. Heres our rest of the season rotations and 2010 rotation….. Lowe Jurrgens Hudson Vazquez Hanson…not particulary in that order. Um thats solid to put i t as an understatement. Then KJ really needs to be moved whether it be to the Pads or someone willing to deal us an good hitting outfield (YELLS BRAD HAWPE). If wecan’t get Agon….Hawpe would be my next target then Holliday if all else failed and I would not package Escobar for any of these players. If not would let Kelly walk after the season because Prado has showed more than enough to be our starting 2nd basemen for the rest of the year if not years to come. Also Brooks Conrad isnt too bad. Kelly is about as inconsistent as Francouer was but Francouer took the heat off KJ’s inconsistent tendancies b/c he was the new Golden Boy for a while. Now that he’s out of the picture KJ’s struggles will be all the more highlighted and will eventually need that change of scenery. Another interesting issue is the closer role after this season since Sori and Gonzo will both be free agents, doubt we keep both, right now my vote is to keep Sori based on consistency, Gonzo has really good nights or terrible nights. So If i were FW id try to deal Gonzo or at least one of the two. Heres an idea going back to the Pads….Kotchman, Gonzo, KJ, Freeman for Agon and Gaudin. Id pull the trigger on that deal. This is all just speculation but I will say I would not include Heyward in Freeman’s place UNLESS I intended to convert Freeman to a 3rd basemen to take over after Chip retires (hmm not bad). And that still leaves you McClouth Schafer and Diaz in the OF from 2011+ and whoever we pick up b/w now in then via trade and prospects. But id like to hear some feedback on some ideas. I think these are pretty legit directions for us to take and not crazy fan talk.

Still bored so here you go. Rest of this years rotation and bullpen as well as 2010 barring one of my trades in my recent post occur.
Rotation: Lowe, Hudson, Jurrgens, Vazquez, Hanson
Bullpen: O’Flaherty, Logan, Acosta, Moylan, Gaudin (if pad trade) if not Gonzo rest of season, Soriano

McClouth CF
Prado 2nd
Chipper 3rd
McCann Catching or Agon 1st (if that trade is the one)
McCann (barring Agon deal if not…_ Hawpe/Holliday RF/LF
Escobar SS
Anderson/ Diaz LF barring LHP and RHP
8)Kotchman (if agon deal doesnt go and OFs do) OR if Agon deal occured youd Have Diaz/Church barring LHP & RHP…and on lefty days Diaz would hit infront of GA….

Thats pretty stout but maybe wishful thinking, but I Think one of the 3 deals could definitely occur.

Oh and just to brag on Soriano and why id take him over Gonzo…other than consistency….Soriano hit 97 last night…and for a strike…Mikes velocity is still down. And id include Gonzo in for Hawpe to make him Streets set up guy in Colorado.

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