Odds and ends on a Saturday night at The Ted
As I started to compose this new blog to refresh the outdated one that was sent before we returned to pollen heaven, some guy dressed in Jason Heyward’s uniform struck out against Ubaldo Jimenez. My guess is that this was an imposter standing in for the real Heyward, who was summoned to Philips Arena after the Bucks cut the Hawks lead to 10 tonight.
Just going to throw some odds and ends at you tonight:
Jair Jurrjens continues to say that his shoulder is fine and that his drop in velocity on Monday was likely more a mechanical issue. He completed a 30-minute bullpen session with Roger McDowell on Thursday and will go into Sunday’s start looking to slow his delivery toward the plate.
Since Jurrjens was cleared to start pitching in early March, we’ve heard him say that he’s rushing himself toward the plate and consequently altering his command. Obviously this could affect his velocity. But this is something that tends to be overlooked until a pitcher struggles over a long stretch or experiences a horrific outing like the one Jurrjens experienced in San Diego.
As expected, the Braves brought Jonny Venters up to the Majors today and sent Mike Dunn back to Triple-A Gwinnett. Bobby Cox said he wanted a guy like Venters, who would be available to serve as a long reliever.
Yeah, Kris Medlen is around to serve in this role. But while utilizing Medlen in five of the first 10 games this year, the Braves have proven that he’s much more than a guy who will be called upon to clean up messes like the one that Jo-Jo Reyes turned into a disaster on Monday.
Medlen, who has recorded nine strikeouts and issued just one walk in 7 1/3 innings this year, provide two very valuable scoreless innings during Friday night’s win over the Rockies. His ability to finish the game allowed Cox to provide each of his three top relievers — Peter Moylan, Takashi Saito and Billy Wagner — a chance to sit back and enjoy a night of rest.
Moylan, Saito and Wagner had each appeared in games the previous two days.
While we’re talking about the bullpen, Phillies might be sad to know that Medlen will no longer be carrying the “My Little Pony” backpack that he was assigned when he joined the Atlanta bullpen as the least-tenured member last year. If Venters sticks around until at least May 7, he will draw the wrath of the Phillies fans.
Before Saturday’s game, Medlen got rid of his backpack, stopped at Target and bought a Hannah Montana backpack that has already been presented to Venters.
These bags contain drinks, candy and a variety of other things that veteran relievers request to be brought to the bullpen. Before Medlen told us today, I never knew that he used to carry smelling salts that Mike Gonzalez used to use while warming up.
Seeing how the Orioles have slumbered through the season’s first two weeks, I’m guessing that Gonzalez and his teammates wouldn’t have to worry if smelling salts were suddenly placed on the banned substance list.
Courtesy of the Braves game notes: The Braves entered Saturday with a 4.03 ERA, which ranked 14th in the Majors and sixth in the NL. Take away the 17 earned runs they allowed in eight innings on Monday, they would have a Major League-best 2.58 ERA.