Venters and Cox suspended

Major League Baseball didn’t buy Jonny Venters’ claim that he wasn’t intentionally throwing at Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder during Saturday’s eighth inning at Turner Field.

Venters has been handed a four-game suspension and levied with a fine for an undisclosed amount.  Bobby Cox has also been given a one-game suspension for what MLB described as “the intentional actions of Venters after a warning had been issued to the pitcher following the first intentional pitch thrown at Fielder.”  <p>

For those needing a reminder, Fielder hit a game-tying homer off Tim Hudson in the seventh inning.  When he came to bat to open the eighth, Venters threw a first-pitch slider over his head.  This prompted Angel Hernandez to issue warnings to both benches. 

When Venters followed with a fastball that drilled Fielder in the back, he and Cox were both ejected. 

After the game, Venters said he wasn’t intentionally throwing at Fielder.  Cox uttered this same belief in what seemed to be with what seemed to be a believable tone.  In other words, there wasn’t any indication that this was one of those instances where he was trying to quickly cover something up. 

MLB vice-president of on-field operations Bob Watson obviously didn’t buy these claims.

 Cox will serve his suspension during Tuesday night’s series opener against the Padres.  Venters will likely appeal his suspension, which would allow him to serve it at a later date. 

With left-handed reliever Eric O’Flaherty on the disabled list, the Braves can’t afford to go into this series without Venters, who ranks fourth among NL relievers with a 1.25 ERA.

There was reason to believe the Brewers would attempt to gain some retribution and some Braves believe they did during Sunday’s sixth inning when both Jason Heyward and Troy Glaus were hit with pitches. 

If Manny Parra was supposed to hit Heyward, he likely needed to explain himself after simply grazing the rookie outfielder’s right thigh.  Later David Riske drilled Troy Glaus on the left thigh with a 2-0 fastball that loaded the bases and marked the third of his seven consecutive pitches that missed the strike zone.

“We weren’t trying to hit Prince, but at the same time it looked bad,” McCann said Sunday.”Obviously their whole team thought we were trying to hit him.  Things like happen. They hit a couple of our guys today. But it’s over with.  No harm was done and that’s how you play the game of baseball.” 



I swear the umpires are getting dumb and dumber by the year.

Can’t say I’m surprised at all.

They was a nice plunk. He wasn’t head hunting, he has better control than that. He got Fielder right where he wanted to get him. It stings for a while but isn’t gonna end anybodies career. It raises my opinion of Venters too. Nice move for a rook.

Too bad it wasn’t Chavez who drilled Fielder. Oh well, maybe the suspension can be shortened to 3 games. We really need Venters!

“nice move for a rook”

Are you kidding me? Purposely trying to hurt someone has no place in baseball.

He wasn’t trying to hurt him, he was protecting his team, and now it’s over. No need to make a big deal about it. Bobby and McCann both said it was unintentional and I want to believe them, but it certainly didn’t look that way.

“Nice move for a rook”. Venters is filthy, even Wagner said he’s never seen a lefty have that much sink on his pitches. I’d have to believe Wagner in saying this guy could very well be our closer,and I don’t blame him in saying this. If Wagner is done and hangs em up Venters will be the closer next year. I like the move, it shows this kid isn’t afraid to show we weren’t happy with a game tying homer.

bykowski, it’s baseball. He wasn’t trying to hurt anybody, but that is how the game is (or at least used to be) played. I put up an entry on my blog last year about how Ryan Howard was overdue for a plunkin and some people went CRAZY. I cannot believe how wimpy some fans of this sport have gotten.

Agreed, so_carbravesfan.
Howard is years overdue for a “message”, but there’s only one problem with that… some moron on this team doesnt let them pitch the Phillies inside. Watch every HR they’ve hit off Braves pitching the last 3 or 4 years. You will not find an inside pitch.

Bykowsi, Sounds a bit like a polish troll from Milwaukee. It just shows that the kid was standing up for his teamates. The plunking had nothing to do with Fielders HR either. The “Prince” has been trying to show up pitchers and thinks he is too cool for school. His little bat flip is kinda like, dare I say, Esky. It’s no wonder he gets hit more than anyone in baseball. He’s been hit 14 times this year, Pujols has been hit once. Maybe Prince is the problem, eh?

Just gonna throw some minor league stuff out there because I enjoy following player development:
Freddie Freeman appears to be healthy. Now hitting right at .290 and hit his 12th HR tonight and RBIs up to 56.
Mitch Jones has 18 HRs and a .260 average at Gwinnett,and no one pays him any attention (yet Melky is getting paid $3.5 mil this year? Seriously?).
Tim Collins in his first Mississippi appearance: 2 innings, 0 hits and 5 Ks (this guy is a K machine, despite being ridiculously small).

Bill, Prince Fielder is quite possibly the biggest target in all of baseball too, behaviorally and, well, otherwise. Makes you wonder how many of his HBP were “unintentionally intentional.”
Nevertheless, I like the guy’s game. Say what you will about his attitude, but he backs it up with his play.

And just so I dont give too pretty of a picture…
Jordan Schafer is now hitting under .200 and Cody Johnson has fallen off the face of the Earth (as if anyone really expected Adam Dunn Jr to ever be a key part of the franchise). Oh yeah, and his AVG is right at or just above .200.

Thanks for those numbers, Shaun. I should be more up on development now that I’m actually in GA.

Papi, I didn’t disparage his play, just his style. But if I were a GM looking at a FA Prince, no way i give him a long term contract.
And Shaunson, Adam Dunn Jr?????? I would kill to have Adam Dunn’s bat in our line up. He hits 40 HRs and has a .400 OBP. EVERY YEAR. How does that compare with Cody Johnson??? I mean you kind of have to hide Dunn in LF if he’s playing NL but god what a guy to have in the lineup. Think if we had used Kenshin’s ridiculous 7 million dollar contract to sign Dunn before last year. We might have made the playoffs last year and we would have been singing the Adam Dunn song this year as well.

Oh, and the 1st rule of baseball. We don’t talk about throwing at people. What’s the 1st rule of baseball?

Dude, Bill, calm down. Im a huge Adam Dunn fan. I would have killed to have signed him last year.
Since the Braves had no intention of signing him despite his production and low relative price, it has led me to believe that no one like him is considered a “Braves-type” player, and thus has no future with this club. Cody Johnson has projected like a faster Adam Dunn.
In other words… calm down, Bill.

Dude, I’m calm, man. Like catch a wave or something. If Adam Dunn isn’t a “Braves type player” we have problems. I guess it means we will never sign a productive free agent. We are so into perceived bargains that we can’t sign talent. If it wasn’t for our player development, we would be screwed.

Big thanks to the cards and the snakes tonite for their kind assistance.

Heh, for us to all be Braves fans, Bill surely does like to lash out at anything he can get ahold of. I guess since the Phillies and Mets lost, he literally cannot find anything reasonable to l3itch about except his inaccurate interpretation of something I said and my vernacular.
How does it feel to be omniscient and perfect, Bill? Are the clouds as fluffy as they look? What’s the meaning of life? Surely us mere mortals are worthy of a few more examples of your all-knowing.

Yeah, I know you weren’t disparaging him. Just making conversation. And I, too, cheered the Cards and Dbacks for their handling of our divisional rivals. I have a few friends who are Phillie fans that are quaking in their boots right about now… it’s a wonderful feeling, one that I haven’t experienced in quite some time.
But yeah, Shaun, I wouldn’t compare Johnson to Dunn. Even though they both can bash the ball, there’s one glaring difference. If Dunn strikes out 150+ times (which he almost always does), he’s getting 120+ hits and 100+ walks to compensate for it. Minor leagues too. Can’t say the same about Johnson, not yet anyway…

I was just saying that’s what he was projected as for the future. I wasnt comparing them directly. Just using Dunn as a “most likely like” reference point.

You know it’s kinda funny how bad I piss you boys off. When i critique the team I’m negative, when I commend them it’s out of character. You know, I really wouldn’t spend the time unless this was a labor of love. I have been through the wars. I watched every day through the 70’s when there was no hope in sight. I watched Torre bring em back in 82 only to fall short. I watched them finish 2nd for 2 more years and then fall hopelessly into the cellar. Until that magical season in 1991, which brought us to the very brink of greatness. Then coming oh so close for 2 more years and then the tragedy of the strike. Then the ultimate triumph in 1995. The heartbreak of 96 and the early exit for 10 more years. Yes we won a lot of games and a lot of 6 team championships but there really is only one prize. Since 2005 we have been struggling to find a winning formula. We are really close, but there is really very little room for error. You can’t have an ok OF. You can’t have a weak link in your lineup. The stars do have to truly align to win the World Series. Nothing short of a magical season makes that happen. I don’t want to finish second. PERIOD. I have watched this team finish second enough. I WANT TO FINISH FIRST. Unbridled optimism may feel good, but it ain’t practical. We need to pull ALL of the right levers, win all the close games, make all the right decisions and I am gonna speak my mind until all that happens. Get used to it.

Like him or hate him, this blog wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining without billreef. We all love the Braves and we all have the same goal this year — the World Series. We have an exciting young team to cheer for with a legitimate shot at making Bobby’s last run very magical.
I am somewhere in the middle right now. Is our team already set up to make a run? I don’t know. Do we need another bat? I think so. This team is so tight and the clubhouse is gelling so well, that I hate the thought of messing with it. However, our outfield is mediocre at best. With the Phillies and Mets and a tailspin, I feel a heck of a lot better about the second half of the season… however, complacency is very dangerous! I think we need to keep playing like someone is chasing us, even if we have the biggest divisional lead in baseball. One of the things that drove me bonkers was the divisional championships we won in the late 90’s and early 2000’s where we had such a big lead that we stepped off the gas and coasted into the playoffs, only to be playing against the hottest team at the time (whoever was battling for a wild card spot). I hope we continue to play hard and see this thing through.

Why not go after him now? why do the braves need another rh hitter when we got A-gon Diaz and Glaus why not make a move for Dunn. Heyward is schuffling ok so why not move him down in the line like 7th or 8th and put Dunn in the 4th Mccann 5th Glaus 6th Heyward 7th and if we have to put either Melky diaz of Mclouth 8th. I mean the Nats would want to get pitching help and the Braves have plenty so why not give up Canizares Scott Proctor and Matt Young for Dunn Jason Botts and Matt chico.

Seriously, what’s the deal?? Escobar hit another home run last night in a 2 hit performance…

I must reiterate a point that I made a week ago. The Braves do not have an average outfield if Diaz and Heyward are in there. Diaz will hit 300 with 25 andd 90 if given the chance to play every day. Heyward, maybe 280 with 30 and 100 when healthy. CF may be slightly below average, but if McClouth does not come around, I don’t mind seeing Melky out there. Sorry Bill, but Melky was a full time player on a World Champion team. Plus, he has a great throwing arm – not sure why you don’t agree with this. I watch every game and have seen him make a bunch of great throws. Here is position breakdown and tell me why they need a bat.

Glaus – slighly above averge for 1st.
Prado – maybe the best hitter in the NL.
Gonzales – lots of pop for SS, mediocre average.
Chipper – great since he met with mgmt. Fantastic OBP. Average prduction now for the position. Plus switch hitter. I would rate his offense as slightly above average at this point.
McCann – best hitting catcher in national league.
Heyward – fantastic when healthy. Leading the league in OPS through the end of May.
McClouth/Cabrera – slighly below average hitting at this point. 2nd half, I expect a turn around.
Diaz – 310 25/90 if he plays every day. Lots of doubles….
Bench – Infante, Ross, Hinske, Conrad (the best bench in baseball)

Plus, good rotation and best bullpen in baseball. Why would anyone want to mess with this chemistry.

I like the team as it is… Hart will not improve them and neither will Ross.

Ziffer, Your analysis leaves out one pesky thing. The facts. Here’s a slightly more realistic as opposed to hopeful position breakdown.
Glaus- Has cooled considerably, injuries may be slowing him. Usually slows in the 2nd half anyway.Batting .124 over the last 30.
Prado- Playing more than he ever has, still gonna go to the plate with great discipline but can’t be expected to carry the team every night like he did in June.
Gonzales- always has had a lousy OBP. power will likely diminish greatly at the Ted.
Chipper- great OBP, IF HE PLAYS. He is hurt more than he plays, hasn’t been an important part of the lineup this year at all.
McCann- Heating up, should have a good 2nd half but is catching in ATL heat, it wears on him at season end, every year. His avg. usually drops 20 pts at years end.
Heyward- Is not hitting the ball well now at all. Teams may have noticed weak spots, expect him to start hitting better, but he IS a rookie.
McLouth- Slightly below average????? Thats like saying the Titanic was listing slightly.
Cabrera- Hired to come off bench, shouldn’t be an everyday player on this team, doesn’t hit well in clutch. Not much pop. We really not gonna start rating our players according to whether or not they have played for the yankees, now are we??
Diaz- on a tear. He is streaky though and we will need others to pick him up when he cools. Love this guy.
Bench- they are good, but “best in baseball’ No support for your claim.
Starting Pitching is fine, would be great to dump Lowe and Kawakami’s payroll though, that noose just keeps getting tighter.
Bullpen is fine, but who needs Chavez and KK.

To say this team wouldn’t be improved by Hart is just ludicrous. He has hit more HR’s this year, by 50 %, than any Brave. Has more RBI’s and is a great clubhouse guy. Young, reasonable price and under control through 2011.

To say that neither of those guys would improve the team is a bit ridiculous.

Bill, I did not expect you to agree. I guess time will tell whose assessment is more accurate.

acziffer, “CF may be slightly below average”. That may be the biggest understatement I’ve ever read! I believe that this team as constructed is enough to make the playoffs, but what happens when we get there? In a short series against a team with a few leftys and we’re toast!

Vivabeta, it is doubtful that SF would use all three lefties in the playoffs with all of the off days, Lincecum, Cain, Zito, Sanchez or maybe Lincecum again if needed. The bulk of the lefties on the list are with NY and PHI, and they aren’t both getting in with the Braves. I can see a scenario where the teams end up SD, ATL, STL, and CIN. Less lefties, but better teams to play. The next three days will show us sort of where we stand when facing lefties with a hot Diaz in the lineup.
Escobar and JoJo (one hitter over 8 innings in first TOR AAA start) will fade to reality when the sample size grows. We know Escobar is capable or 15-20 HRs and hitting .300. We also know he was no longer interested in doing it for Atlanta. His teammates are not shedding any tears, just like they aren’t upset that Schafer is not coming up this season. MLB in September is an Adult Swim, the immature guys don’t need to be in the lineup. If Taveras can hit his weight, all 175 or so of it, the rest of the AAA season, he will be scoring key runs in ATL in September as a pinch runner.

Tally of left handed starters on the top NL teams: ATL 0, SD 2, CIN 1, STL 1, SF 3, COL 2, LA 1, NY 3, PHI 2. Imagine facing the Giants in the postseason. They have 3 good lefties they have in the rotation, and that’s AFTER you have to deal with Lincecum.

Rother, yeah I know they wouldn’t use all of those starters. Just saying.

The Jo-Jo start was for the AA team.

I think that McClouth is going to have a great second half – maybe 270 10/35. Playing great defense with no throwing arm. I think we all agree he can’t be any worse than he was in the first half. If not, we still got Melky Bill….. By the end of the year, we will all be saying the CF positon is “SOLID”

I would also like to see Diaz play every day and Hinske play some first to give Glaus some rest. This should improve the team as well. Also keep in mind that when Chipper is out, the have great other options with Omar and even Hinske.. Last year, they had Greg Norton and Diory Hernandez.

One more thing, they have the best bench in baseball and it is not even close…. I know this because I watch them come through time after time filling in and pinch hitting. I know this because Infante was considered an all star by Charlie Manuel (an independent person). I know this because they are second in the league in pinch hit average, third in HRs. I know this because they lead the league in come from behind wins (typically involves at least one or two pinch hitters).

You guys can insult McClouth as much as you want for his horrific 1st half, but their bench is outstanding. If you don’t agree with this, you know nothing about baseball.


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