Heyward proving hazardous to health of vehicles

Jason Heyward will be the first to admit that it really doesn’t matter what he does at the plate while one of the Braves coaches are feeding him pitches. 

But my plan to avoid writing something about his batting practice exploits for a third consecutive day were erased when Bobby Cox informed us the club is actually thinking about instituting protective measures to guard against the fact that Heyward has spent this week attempting to do more damage to vehicles than a Toyota manufacturer. 

When architects constructed the Braves Spring Training complex (which officially became ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex on Thursday afternoon) they obviously didn’t account for this Heyward-like power that provides a daily threat to the cars of the team’s execs who park just beyond the right field wall.

But when he deposited a BP pitch into the sunroof of assistant general manager Bruce Manno’s car on Tuesday afternoon, Heyward produced expensive reminder that these cars aren’t safe when he’s standing in the left side of the batter’s box.

Damages to Manno’s team-issued car were set at $3400.

Truth be told, these cars were in dangerous position before Heyward arrived on the scene.  Kurt Kemp, the club’s director of player personnel, had two of his windshields broken last year and Heyward had nothing to do with that shattered glass. 

When Cox told us the club was thinking about putting some protective netting in front of the cars, it seemed like he was initially joking.  But he said he was serious and then jokingly said the club was going to start fining Heyward, whose left-handed swing has already produced a number of impressive BP blasts this week. 

“We should fine him,” Cox joked. “Make him hit the ball the other way.”

As some of you may already know, Heyward is more than capable of also showing his power to the opposite direction.   During an intra-squad game last year, he directed a Jair Jurrjens pitch off the scoreboard located in left-center field.

Cox on Chipper:  When Chipper Jones was struggling down the stretch last year, he mentioned that he would contemplate retiring if he endured another season as frustrating as 2009 proved to be. 

When asked about this by a reporter on Thursday, Cox quickly said he never gave much thought to the possibility that Jones would choose to walk away from the game before completing his  three-year contract extension that guarantees a $13 million salary each of the next three seasons.

“I never took it to heart at all,” Cox said. “He’ll play three more years and play good.”     

Schafer update:  Like Jurrjens is taking things slow with the hope that his sore shoulder will be strong enough for him to begin throwing off a mound again next week, Jordan Schafer understands there’s no reason for him to push too hard while dealing with a hand that is still dealing with effect that he was in a cast for 18 weeks last year. 

Schafer said that he plans to begin swinging a bat again on Friday.  He took the past two days off because his surgically-repaired left hand was “feeling weak”. 

“I’ve got to build all of those muscles back up,” Schafer said Thursday morning. “It feels a lot better today. I just want to get all of my strength back.  I’ve got six weeks to get ready for the season.  I’m not in any hurry.”

Rotation plans : Cox met with pitching coach Roger McDowell after Thursday’s workout to discuss the Grapefruit League rotation.  He will likely reveal the plans within the next two days.  
 

25 Comments

Hey Mark, see if you can get a rise out of Freeman by calling him “Captain America Jr.”

I’m not sure if he’ll get it, but its a good possibility considering his name.

It sounds like Heyward is starting his own “Cash for Clunkers program”. Some players sign autographs, he is creating some very unique souvenirs.

Mark, why don’t you block that yankees commenter from this sight? It’s ridiculous to see him heckling on a site other than a Yankees site. Tell him to get a life and go bother his own fans.

Griff he has been removed before. He just changed his e-mail address and came back.

I can’t wait for spring training! I want to see what we have in Glaus, and if Heyward can be half the player he is projected to be, we will do just fine this year.

The Braves minor league system sure is spitting out some huge players. Tommy Hanson, Heyward, Freeman, Cody Johnson… soon they’ll be 7 feet tall and firing lightning bolts out of their arses.

Cody Johnson is still a question mark.

I think he was referring to the literal size of the players. They have definately been feeding them well in the minors.

Yeah, just literal size. I know if the Braves wouldn’t take a chance on Adam Dunn last year, then Cody Johnson really doesn’t stand a chance in this organization unless he cut out between 1/3 and 1/2 of his Ks. Just my opinion.

Yeah, I had just woken up.

And was that a tribute to Braveheart?

That it was. I’ve seen it about 3 times in the last month. It just rips at a man’s every emotion… don’t judge me…

Shaunson, Your kinda scaring me a little. Do you put on a kilt and paint your face blue for each performance? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Man I think Escobar is getting ready to turn into a power hitting SS. Maybe not AROD, but a Yount or Jeter type. He plays good D and I think he and Prado will really drop into sync if they get to play together for a while. That’s a really nice power/avg. combo in the middle of your infield. And both hit well in the clutch. What I really like about Prado is 2009 hits .389 against the mets and .423 against the Phillies.
I think the braves may outweigh any team in Baseball right now. I mean from leadoff to No. 8 they are all Big Boys. I am laying down a challenge. FIND A HEAVIER TEAM IN BASEBALL. Using Braves roster stats I come up with 1710 lbs for position players(Heyward was from a DOB article). Thats an Avg. of 214 lbs each. I think that’s really big. If anybody can find a bigger team I want to hear who it is. Beer’s on me if it’s verifiable.

I got the Giants at 1775 lbs using the projected lineup by USA Today (Molina, Huff, Uribe, Sandoval, Renteria, DeRosa, Rowand, Schierholz). Kung Fu Panda kinda factors in heavily (pun intended). That total, however, drops to 1735 once Freddy Sanchez gets healthy and replaces Uribe.

Easy, bill. It’s only because I moved into a new house and don’t have television or internet yet. It’s kinda nice not having to rely on them for entertainment. Oh yeah, looks like beer is on bill… count me in.

Braves lineup will definitely be potent. Still not as scary as Philly’s, but better rotation and bullpen will make for a competitive NL East race.

Braves lineup will definitely be potent. Still not as scary as Philly’s, but better rotation and bullpen will make for a competitive NL East race.

Mark,

Any news on how Troy Glaus is progressing. Is his back feeling ok? How’s he looking at 1st. USA today had a nice article on this but i’d like to hear what you think.
Boy I wish Bobby would bat Diaz first and drop McLouth down. Diaz bats for almost 60 points higher and even has a 40 point edge in OBP. Combine that with the amazing fact that he even stole bases at about the same rate as MvcLouth did last year I think you have to give the nod to Diaz. He is committed and really a team guy as well. This might also take some pressure off McLouth who’s hammies have been bothering him. With Chip, Troy and Mac 3-4-5 I think that increase in OBP will add up to a lot of additional runs scored. I don’t know why Diaz always gets the short end of the stick, especially given what he has done with how he has been allowed to play. I admit, that swing looks damn strange sometimes, but God it sure works. He takes a pitch in the dirt and golfs it out of the ball park. He takes any role or position he is given and never complains. I mean he even handled right field ok last year.

Oh, and yeah i guess I am buying beers. When you get into Florida just email and I will send directions.

I agree with Billreef. Even though Diaz still isn’t the ideal leadoff guy, I still like him better than McLouth in that spot. Diaz, Prado, Chipper, Glaus, McCann, Escobar, Heyward, and then McLouth.

Bill, your stats on McLouth and Diaz are spot on from last year. Let’s not forget that in Diaz’s three seasons in Atlanta (I am throwing out the injury season of ’08), his OBP is greater than McLouth’s season by season. In fact, Diaz’s lowest OBP in a season in Atlanta is .364 (’06). McLouth’s greatest OBP ever is .356 (’08). I don’t think Atlanta will ever be a great SB team unless we see the next Otis Nixon, so OBP would be the biggest stat for the leadoff guy. Also, McLouth has 20-25 HR power, while Diaz is more of a 15 HR kind of guy. I’m with you Bill, give the guy a shot.

1. Diaz
2. Prado
3. Chipper
4. Glaus
5. McCann
6. Escobar
7. Heyward
8. McLouth

Here is what the universe thinks of our Soriano trade. It’s one of the 5 best trades of the offseason, but not for us.

Discussion: Best Move Of The Offseason
By Mike Axisa [February 27 at 5:20pm CST]
With Felipe Lopez finally catching on with the Cardinals, essentially every big name free agent is off the market (no disrespect to Jermaine Dye and Jarrod Washburn). That allows us to sit back and reflect on all of the offseason’s moves, and try to figure out which one was the very best.

Here are some candidates…

?Mets sign Jason Bay to a four-year, $66MM contract.
?Yankees acquire Curtis Granderson for three prospects.
?Phillies acquire Roy Halladay for three prospects.
?Red Sox sign John Lackey to a five-year, $82.5MM contract.
?Mariners acquire Cliff Lee for three prospects.
?Rays acquire Rafael Soriano for Jesse Chavez.

That makes three of us who want to see Diaz bat leadoff. I have some more stats: Diaz, for his career, has batted .421 and has an OPS of 1.039 in that spot. Conversely, although he hasn’t done it much, McLouth’s BA and OPS are higher in the 7-hole than in any other position (.333, .975) and fairly decent batting 8th (.306, .859).Oh, Bill, I’ll be in Georgia in June. You don’t have to shell out beer money on me though. :)

Bill,
I’m not sure if i agree with this article. I know you didn’t write it but figured i would give my ideas anyways. For staters the Bay and Lackey deals were free agent signings involving ALOT of money for ALOT of years that most teams cannot afford (The Mets and Red Sox better hope their long term investments pay off). I still don’t know why the Phillies traded one CY young award winner (a lefty at that) for another, and lost seven (3 for Halladay and 4 for Lee) prospects in the process. Also, with the Braves offering Soriano arbitration, essentially Tampa saved a little money by trading for Soriano instread of a FA signing and we got Jesse Chavez as our “A pick”.

I’ve always had the feeling that the Braves never really liked Soriano. All the mysterious “injuries” and didn’t seem like he ever wanted to play unless it was a contract year. And he never really seemed like Mr Personality. Why else would we not keep a guy around who has great numbers to be our setup guy?

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