Heyward returns and Chipper sits
Jason Heyward has returned to the Braves lineup for this afternoon’s game against the Astros. OK, now that I’ve informed you that the phenom’s shin splints are no longer keeping him sidelined, is there really anything else below this that will prove to be any more interesting?
Well, I guess you might want to know that Chipper Jones was scratched from today’s lineup with because of an ingrown nail on his left big toe. Or maybe, you’d like to know that Kenshin Kawakami’s blister on his right index finger won’t prevent him from making his final preseason tuneup during a Minor League game that will be held here at Disney on Sunday.
“No problem,” Kawakami said without needing the assistance of his Japanese interpreter.
Likewise, Jones said that his ingrown toenail wouldn’t be a problem if this was the regular season. The veteran third baseman has batted .343 in the 35 at-bats he’s compiled during this exhibition season and like everybody else, I think he’s ready to take this show north.
This morning, I had two players and one coach approach me and say something like, “are you guys getting as sick of this Spring Training stuff as us?” While it’s always nice to come down here to Florida, I think it’s safe to say all of are looking forward to packing our bags tonight and heading back to Atlanta this weekend.
Speaking of this weekend, it will be interesting to see the slimmed down-version of Andruw Jones, who will be coming to town with the White Sox for a two-game series. Entering today, Jones was hitting .326 (15-for-46) with two homers.
Mark Kotsay, who assumed Jones’ role as the Braves center fielder during the 2008 season, has hit .426 in the 47 at-bats he has compiled with the White Sox this year. While Kotsay was in Atlanta for just about five months, I’d still have to say that he ranks as one of the best human beings that I have encountered in this business.
Speaking of good guys, I had conversations this morning with Tim Hudson and Billy Wagner about the value of having the kind of cohesive clubhouse that the Braves believe that they possess this year. Check braves.com later this afternoon for a story on this subject.
“From a personality standpoint, this is the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Hudson said. “There’s a really, really good mix of guys and personalities in here. I don’t want to make it sound like we didn’t have a good group of guys before us, but I think with this group everybody is really going to like each other.”