Lowe draws the short straw
When I approached Tim Hudson this morning to ask him about the club’s plans to provide him an extra day of rest before his first few starts of the regular season, I was prepared for him to tell me that his arm feels great and that he’s fine with this arrangement.
After providing this confirmation, Huddy asked if the Giants were going to have an offday before he makes his season debut against them in their April 9 home opener. He was trying to figure out whether he’d get a chance to oppose his buddy Barry Zito, who had risen to prominence with him in Oakland.
When I informed him that he’d more likely face Jonathan Sanchez, Huddy said, “Well tell their manager not to get any ideas about holding (Tim) Lincecum back for their home opener.”
Instead it looks like Derek Lowe will draw the short straw and match up against the reigning Cy Young Award winner. So within the season’s first five days Lowe will likely be opposed by Carlos Zambrano and Lincecum.
And then to top things off it appears he won’t pitch during the early season series against the Padres. Hey, but isn’t it great to have the honor of making yet another Opening Day start?
Grapefruit League opener: The Jason Heyward batting practice tales grew stale a few days ago. It’s time to see what the kid can do against live pitching and MLB Network will provide you a chance to watch him make his Grapefruit League season debut against the Mets tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET.
The weather forecast for the Port St. Lucie area isn’t exactly promising. But if the rain holds off, you’ll get a chance to see Tommy Hanson start and likely work two innings before handing the ball to the bullpen, which will consist of Kris Medlen, Jesse Chavez, Mike Dunn, Chris Resop, James Parr and Manny Acosta.
Dunn and Chavez have put themselves in position to battle for the last remaining spots in the bullpen. For now, I’d still have consider Acosta a long shot, who may draw attention from some pitching-needy clubs over the next couple of weeks.
Chipper Jones, Troy Glaus and Matt Diaz are not scheduled to make the trip to Port St. Lucie. They will likely make their GL season debuts when the Braves host the Mets on Wednesday afternoon.
Hudson is scheduled to start Wednesday’s game. The relievers will consist of Peter Moylan, Eric O’Flaherty, Mariano Gomez, Stephen Marek (the remains of the Mark Teixeira trade), Johnny Venters and Jeff Lyman.
Venters seems to be a long shot to begin the season in Atlanta’s bullpen. But the 24-year-old left-hander has caught Bobby Cox’s attention with his sinker.
“He’s got a good chance to do something with that kind of sinker,” Cox said. “He’s got to pitch in the big leagues with that kind of sinker.”
Chipper potential early retirement: I’ll admit that I have never given much thought about the possibility that Chipper Jones would walk away from the game if he struggles again this season. But while talking to him again this morning for the story currently on MLB.com and braves.com, I will admit that there was definite sincerity in his voice and facial expressions.
At the same time there was an excitement about the results he could realize after working with his dad to fix the mechanics of his swing. While watching him last year, I thought he was being victimized by self-induced pressure to supply the club with power.
But it was interesting to hear him say that he feels his bad habits developed over the previous five years while attempting to compensate for a variety of different injuries. As the story mentions, he believes he might need to face live pitching for a few weeks before truly gaining comfort with these refined mechanics.
No interest in Mateo: One of our more knowledgeable bloggers inquired today about the Braves possibly having interest in Wagner Mateo, a 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican whose $3.1 million agreement with the Cardinals was voided last year because he failed a physical.
But a Braves source have since informed me that they do not have any interest in Mateo.