Conrad and Thurston could stage a tight battle
If the battle to earn the last roster spot for a position play ends the way it has started, Brooks Conrad and Joe Thurston are going to force the Braves to make a tough decision.
Conrad has been displaying some power (two doubles and a homer) while hitting .462 (6-for-13) during his first six games of the Grapefruit League season. Thurston’s .500 batting average has come courtesy of the four singles he has recorded in his eight at-bats.
“Conrad has been playing great and Thurston, the same thing,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said.
From a defensive standpoint, Thurston and Conrad possess similar skills. Both have seen most of their playing time at second and third base and also shown the ability to play the outfield if necessary.
The starting lineup for Monday afternoon’s game against the Tigers had Conrad at second base and Thurston positioned at third base.
Javy Lopez has arrived in camp this week to serve as a special assistant, which basically means he’s in town to have some fun, soak up the atmosphere and catch up with some old friends from the organization.
Lopez made the trip to Lakeland this afternoon and immediately started talking to Miguel Cabrera about using some of the bats his company, Bones, manufactures. The former Braves catcher also wants Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman to test some of his bats.
Chipper Jones wants to get an early look at Roy Halladay during tomorrow night’s game against the Phillies. The Braves third baseman was hurt when Halladay faced the Braves last year and he has just two career regular season at-bats (with both coming in 1999) against the former American League Cy Young Award winner.
But Cox indicated that he may opt to show some precaution with Jones, who has been sidelined since jamming his right thumb on Friday.
“We’ll see,” Cox said. “You know jams don’t go away that quickly.”
There might be another change in the schedule for Jair Jurrjens. Cox now says the 24-year-old right-hander will throw his second round of live batting practice tomorrow. This was the projected schedule until Sunday, when the Braves revealed he would wait until Wednesday to throw again.
Check back after the game to get clarification about Jurrjens’ schedule.
BRAVES LINEUP for Monday’s game