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.”

Cabrera 8
Heyward 9
Prado 4
Glaus 3
McCann 2
Escobar 6
Diaz 7
Infante 4
Hinske DH



Thanks for the report, Mark!
FYI – Anyone looking to get MLB2K10 – it’s a great game. However, Gary Thorne pronounces Jair’s name as “Yahree Jurjjens”. Matt Diaz is pronounced “Matt Deeaz”. Very frustrating considering these two players are reputable MLB players with years of success and experience.
Also – you won’t find Jason Heyward or Freddie Freeman on any rosters. Apparently you have to have an official major league AB before you can be on a video game.

Couple postgame notes:

Heyward appeared to have no problems today while recording a hit and scoring twice in four plate appearances. He also went a long way to make a catch in the right-center field gap.

David Ross plans to catch a few innings tomorrow. All indications are that his groin has improved to the point that he won’t need to begin the year on the disabled list.

Venters worked a scoreless ninth. But Cox once again made mention of his belief that the inexperienced lefty attempts to overthrow too often. I’m still guessing Chavez and Reyes get the final two spots in the bullpen.

Moylan completed yet another scoreless inning. He has issued just two walks in the seven scoreless innings he has posted this year. More important, he seems to be gaining comfort with that changeup that should make him even more effective against left-handers this year.

The starters will get just a couple of at-bats tomorrow and during this weekend’s exhibition games.

Good lord.. the Astros have a young guy at 3B named Chris Johnson. He hit .091 in 11 games last year. So far in spring training he is hitting .302 with 5 doubles and 6 HRs. SLG is like .700 in 21 games. Crazy.

Go Troy. The power stroke is beginning to come. He started with lots of singles, then 4 doubles in the last 2 days and we all know what comes next(no Viva not triples). It was good to see Chavez have a reasonable outing since he will be taking up space in the BP come monday. It’s kind of interesting that Kimbrel (who allows way too many walks) and Chavez have the same number of BB’s in ST. the only big difference, and i do mean big, Is the runs allowed by each. Chavez allows 14/9inn, Kimbrel, not so much. Since this clearly isn’t a case of FW’s ego deciding this battle. I guess the deck was just stacked worse than in a Bahamian Casino.

Enough with Cabrera batting leadoff; he simply does not get on base consistently. Either Heyward or Prado should be hitting first on this team. Cabrera is a number eight hitter–period.

You don’t think Glaus will hit a lot of triples this year?? I was under the impression that he was gonna lead the team in SB. Maybe he should hit leadoff. Who’s with me???

Well if the case can be made for Heyward as leadoff, I was thinking of having Shaq play point guard for the Cavs as well. Maybe Dwight Freeney or Julius Peppers could play tailback this season too…….Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Coke Zero tasting like Coke Classic, Jimmy Hoffa, Bigfoot, we’ve got a good start now…anything is possible. I mean, the Braves have been at Disney for a month.

Rother on, Your comment shows just how little you understand about baseball. The most important parts of being a leadoff hitter are the ability to get on base and, sometimes, steal a base. Heyward does a very good job of getting on base and, on this team, he is one of the better runners. Shaq, on the other hand, has none of the skills that are needed to play point guard. Heyward hitting leadoff is unconventional, but that doesn’t make it a bad idea. Personally, I would rather do something different than hit someone leadoff whose skill set does not belong there.

I wonder if Johnny Damon’s wife has been out shopping in Detroit yet. Hell hath no fury like a woman sentenced to Detroit. I really hope Shafer’s wrist heals up so we can put all this leadoff crap to bed. That is the last ***** in our armor. We’re getting close. Oh and Viva, I heard that Glaus was working with Sid Bream in the offseason, on base running skills. He may be ready for that leadoff role with some more good coaching. Ok, and one last thing, just so I don’t lose my reputation as a sorepuss, can we cut with all the crap about how wonderful this team gets along. Talk about end of ST fluff. Geez these guys haven’t lost a game or gotten picked off 1st when it counted yet. At Disneyland, everyone gets along. IT A THEME PARK FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!!!!! I mean Goofy even gets along with Dumbo during ST. Wait till the first time he calls him a large eared pachyderm, then we will see how warm and fuzzy Tigger is. And don’t even get me started about Minnie that squeaky tramp. Kumbaya my Lord, Kumbaya…..

I got censored for saying ch#nk in our armour???? Not Chinese, Big Brother. Here’s the wiki on it. Ch*nk may also mean a small crevice or opening, often referring to a weakness such as a “ch*nk in the armor”, but also in purely descriptive contexts such as a ***** between two bricks, and in American slang, to “***** a cigarette” means to extinguish it after it has been partially-smoked, in order to smoke the remainder later. However, these usages are uncontroversial.

Is it time to bring up Jordan Schafer and give him a chance in center field? Do we have any other outfield prospects ready to make the step to the majors? Melky Cabrera for Javier Vasquez, the worst deal ever.

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