It sure looks like an Opening Day lineup

When a couple of national scribes look at tonight’s Braves lineup, they essentially said something that amounted to “tonight’s game must be televised because that certainly looks like an Opening Day lineup.” 

With Chipper Jones back in the mix to face Roy Halladay and the Phillies tonight, Braves manager Bobby Cox has indeed assembled a lineup that could very easily be identical to the one he constructs before the April 5 Opening Day contest against the Cubs. 

And yes, you will get a chance to see Jason Heyward and Co. on television tonight.  The game will be carried on CSS, MLB Network and online by  MLB.TV.

When asked if tonight’s lineup was an Opening Day lineup, Cox laughed and said, “We might not be able to keep Heyward down that low in the lineup if he keeps hitting like he has been.”

Nate McLouth 8
Martin Prado 4
Chipper Jones 5
Troy Glaus 3
Brian McCann 2
Yunel Escobar 6
Jason Heyward 9
Melky Cabrera 7
Kenshin Kawakami 1

Schafer and Jurrjens updates: The most important health-related news of the day might have been the fact that Jair Jurrjens completed another pain-free live batting practice session and is now ready to start against the Yankees on Thursday night in Tampa.

But given that was expected, the most important health-related development seemingly came courtesy of Jordan Schafer, who took batting practice in the indoor cages this afternoon and returned to the dugout with a smile on his face. 

“That’s the best that I’ve felt in 10 months,” said Schafer, who injured his left hand on during the fourth game of last year’s season and then dealt with frustration and discomfort until the ailment was surgically repaired in September. 

Because he was in a cast for an extended period following the surgery, Schafer found himself feeling weak while attempting to swing the bat during the early days of camp.  But it now appears there’s at least a chance he’ll be ready to begin the season with Triple-A Gwinnett.

Tonight’s pitchers:  Kenshin Kawakami is scheduled to pitch three innings and Billy Wagner will attempt to rebound from Friday’s shaky season debut. There will also be reason to keep an eye on Jesse Chavez, the right-handed reliever who has struggled during his first two appearances of the year. 




Heyward was generously awarded an infield base hit off Halladay in the second inning. Jimmy Rollins cleanly fielded his grounder that did take a high hop and unleashed a throw that Ryan Howard was unable to pick. But it still would have been a bang-bang call.

Eric Hinske sure has looked good this spring, I think that this is another one of those under the radar signings that will prove well for the Braves this season.

Yeah, Hinske has looked good and certainly could prove to be a valuable and versatile piece this year. But nobody is hotter than Glaus, who has singled in each of his past eight at-bats. Who said this guy was an all-or-nothing power threat?

Good for Schafer. Mark, assuming Schafer has both a successful recovery and a good stint at Gwinnett, do you feel he could be the starting CF for the Braves at some point late in the season (or starting only against RH pitching)? I’m kind of hoping for Diaz/McLouth, Schafer, Heyward outfield.

Mark, is Acosta pitching that well to make the team? He seemed overpowering last year when he could throw strikes early which was not often.

Lets just remember that this is early in spring training…

The best thing to come out of spring training this year would be a healthy team.

When these guys keep hitting against everyday major leaguer’s is when I will get all geeked up about this year’s under the radar lineup…

fathergoose: There’s no doubt that there’s little you can draw from the early weeks of Spring Training when you’re seeing just a few innings from the regulars and facing a bunch of Minor Leaguers. Still tonight’s game provided a good test for the Braves, who saw Halladay, Madson and Baez.

The most impressive part about Glaus’ streak of singles in each of his past eight at-bats is that it is coming during the early portions of a camp that is following what essentially amounted to a lost season. Initially, it would have been easy to assume it might take him some time to get reacquainted to the speed of the game.

Chipper swung the bat pretty well tonight and showed no signs that he’s still bothered by his thumb. Kawakami left a few pitches up in the zone and Ortegano provided the reminder that he has made just eight appearances above the Class A level.

To answer the question about Acosta, yeah he certainly has positioned himself for a roster spot. But with a scoreless inning tonight, Jesse Chavez got himself back on the radar and Cox has repeatedly said how much he likes his stuff.

Oh yeah and Heyward once again drew a walk after falling behind with an 0-2 count.

Check back tomorrow morning for the next blog entry.

Bobby, I agree with that mostly. But I like Cabrera in the platoon and McLouth for trade bait. His start, .077 BA, ain’t helping his case with me either.

yeah and mclouth’s numbers are coming against what is essentially 2/3 minor league pitching so far.

I think we all expect too much from McLouth. Looking at his stats his career average is only .260 and his high is about .274. Is he really that much different from Blanco. Play Cabrera and hope Schaffer can find his swing at AAA and come back soon and bat first.

No winboj, I NEVER expected that much from a Pittsburgh cast off.

billreef look at that Pittsburg team. You don’t know if the change will help. I had hoped to see the game last night on Directv but it was blacked out here in SC. I wanted to see Heyward next to Ryan Howard. I would like Mark to compare Heyward with Howard if possible

I saw them side-by-side after Heyward walked. He makes Howard look almost normal-sized by comparison.

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