Odds and ends: Freeman and Kawakami updates

Now that everyone in the baseball world knows Cody Ross, it’s time to reminisce about the day that Chuck James didn’t. 

Ross homered off James in the second inning of a July 25, 2006 game at Turner Field.  Two innings later, the then-Marlins outfielder took the Braves southpaw deep again. 

Now obviously I wasn’t present to witness the developments that ensued.  But this is how the story has been often told by Braves players over the past few years.

After Ross’ fourth-inning homer gave the Marlins what proved to be a decisive two-run lead, James slapped his glove against the bench and said, “I can’t believe he hit that pitch.” 

This prompted Scott Thorman to say, “I don’t know why you can’t believe it.  He hit that same pitch out two innings ago.”

Further proving that he was never suited to be a rocket scientist, James said, “That was that same guy?” 

While James revived his playing career as an effective reliever in the Nationals Minor League system this year, Ross was enjoying a roller-coaster ride that has introduced him to October fame and put and his Giants teammates one win away from reaching the World Series. 

This certainly didn’t seem to be expected when the Giants slipped past the injury-depleted Braves with three one-run wins in the National League Division Series. But while walking through the Phillies clubhouse after they lost Game 4 Wednesday night, it was obvious that they have certainly come to respect this San Francisco bunch that has verified you can successfully gamble on offensive pieces if you have a strong pitching staff in place.

There is certainly no reason to take anything away from what Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and San Francisco’s solid bullpen have done during this NL Championship Series.  But you have to wonder if they would have found this same level of success if Chase Utley was at full strength. 

Utley injured his thumb sliding into second base on June 28 and learned a few days later that he would need to undergo a surgical procedure that would sideline him for a little more than six weeks.  In the 43 games he played after returning the All-Star second baseman hit .273 with a .410 slugging percentage. 

While going 2-for-15 with no extra-base hits through the first four games of this NLCS, Utley has continued to search for the power he displayed while compiling a .533 slugging percentage in the four seasons combined. 

Sound familiar? 

Jason Heyward hit .299 with a .608 slugging percentage in the 31 games he played before injuring his left thumb sliding into third base on May 14.   The Braves outfielder ended up missing just two weeks (just before the All-Star break) with this injury, which wasn’t deemed serious enough to be surgically repaired. 

But there was no doubt that the injury proved serious enough to prevent Heyward from operating at full strength for the remainder of the season.  He slugged just .421 in the 111 games that he played after jamming his thumb.  The 21-year-old All-Star simply looked fatigued while slugging .385 in his final 30 regular season games. 

Taking two weeks off gave Heyward a chance to occasionally display his great potential in the season’s second half.  But this seemingly wasn’t near enough time for him to completely overcome this thumb ailment, which is similar to the one his good friend Freddie Freeman is currently nursing. 

Freeman jammed his left thumb while sliding into third base during an Arizona Fall League Game Monday afternoon. An MRI exam showed no structural damage to his ligaments. 

But as of late Thursday afternoon, Freeman’s thumb was still pretty swollen and providing a great deal of discomfort.  The Braves aren’t ruling out the possibility that he could begin playing again in the AFL later this month.  They will re-evaluate him again in about a week. 

Progress in Kawakami talks: It sounds like at least one Japanese team has shown strong interest in acquiring Kenshin Kawakami from the Braves.  The club is believed to be willing to assume approximately $3 million of the $6.67 million the Braves still owe the Japanese right-hander next year. 

One Japanese reporter indicted the Yomiuri Giants and Nippon Ham Fighters have shown some interest.  But it’s believed the Braves might have found at least one other more attractive suitor from the Japanese League. 

Heyward’s commercial: Heyward spent a portion of this week in New York City filming a SportsCenter commercial.  The ad, which is expected to run just before the start of Spring Training, will feature him with ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt and the Stanford Tree.  

23 Comments

I was at that game in 2006 in the CF stands. We heckled Ross like crazy, because the Fish were killing us that night, and we had nothing better to do. Langerhans made a Superman-style catch in CF, robbing the fish of another HR, and that was the night that I started referring to Cody Ross as the Braves Killer. Every time we played the Marlins, he hit us hard. It didn’t stop when he went to San Francisco.

um last I checked the giants weren’t one win away from winning the world series

Hey – isn’t Cody Ross a right handed outfield bat that was available before the trade deadline that Wren passed on? (said tongue-in-cheek).

Time to fine a player $10k for a headfirst slide.

Bravo, Cody Ross was also hitting about .220 after the break. So last time I checked, our GM isn’t Miss Cleo it’s a little difficult to fault Wren for passing on Ross, which would have moved a fatigued Jason Heyward into CF. But yeah definitely would have been awesome to have the guy on the team. Dude seems tough as hell. And the way he wears his eye black is totally bad@ss.

Ross said that Edgar Renteria saw something he was doing wrong and once he corrected it most everything has been hit hard. Just saw on MLrumors that the Braves may be interest in a Yankee shortstop prospect. Too bad we can’t trade Melky back to them for him. The head first slides have been a problem for the Braves as I remember Fucal dislocating his shoulder sliding into first. Nice to see Bill doing payback on the fillie bog. Viva how are the NY fans doing up there or do they need some help from Bill?

Haha winjob. I honestly completely zone out all Yankees fans. I pay attention to mets fans just because I feel sorry for them.

The main thing I’ve gotten from the Rangers Yankees series is how depressing it is that we gave up Andrus and Feliz for that jerkoff first baseman on the Yanks who said he wanted to stay in Atlanta.

We are one win from a WS without the Yankmes or the Filthies. That is a WS I can actually watch.

There are 3 things that the Braves should do in the offseason. First sell the team. We need someone to put money into the team so the team can produce. Mark Cuban Aurthor Blank i dont care just someone who has deep pockets. Then second fire Frank Wren and tell him to never come back. We need a GM that isnt afraid of making those blockbuster trades. Three is telling Chipper that he needs to call it quits and let someone else play third weither it be Prado Hinske or Infante. Others things the braves should do is sign Derek Lee and make Freeman a thirdbase or Leftfield. and i Know this isnt gonna be a popular choice but maybe think bout trading either Hanson Beach or JJ or a combo of both but not both JJ and Hanson in the same trade but just someone for them either a rh bat or a centerfielder.

nc, I’d be happy to mail you my english 1101 book.

Funny, but since the Phillies have been on the brink of watching the World Series on Fox, their fans haven’t come to troll here. That makes me quite happy.

ah – haa ha ha hah ah haa ha ah ha! Heeee hee he ehee eheehheeee! OOOOOohh ho ho ooho hooo !

Man that was rich! Way to go Giants!

There is no joy in Pudville, the FatBoy has struck out!!!!!

I wouldn’t mind seeng Werth get a shot in Alanta. I think he can play center. How does an outfiled of Werth, Heyward and Infante sound? They can keep McClouth as a 4th outfielder and Diaz as well. They need one proven outfielder. Too bad Ankiel can’t make better contact. I love that throwing arm. I know Chipper is not the same player he was, butI will take his 270/15/75 with a 375 OBP over most free agents. If he faulters, they still have Infante and Prado. This year would have been interesting if they had Chipper and Prado in the playoffs. For a while, we all tried to convince ourselves that Conrad was just as good, but this was not the case.

Werth might be our only shot at a power bat in the OF long term. I say we do whatever is necessary. Giving him a backloaded contract could work, seeing as how KK and McLouths deal are set to expire next year, Derek Lowe and Chipper’s in 2. Those are essentially 4 of our 5 biggest contracts.

Yea glad to see the fillies invited Bill over to there blog. Hey Viva you left out that Frenchy will be playing in the WS.

Glad to see some of you guys on the Jayson Werth bandwagon, but it is getting a might crowded on here :)

Ok here the way to solve our rh bat and a centerfielder and its Aaron Rowand. The Giants are stacked with outfielders so why not make a go at him. I mean the Giants got Him Ross Burrell and Torress so why not make a trade for him i mean i bet we can pull it off. Him in Cf Mclouth/freeman in lf and heyward in Rf and D.Lee at first. I mean they gonna need **** so why not give up Gonzo and couple minor leaugers to SF for Rowand and make either Diory or Hicks are SS of the future.

Or the other thing we can do is send JJ hanson and omar to the Rangers for Hamilton or Cruz but that isnt gonna happen.

I bet if it happen the Braves be in first place and maybe playing for a WS.

So the Rangers are going to trade the best player in the American League who is also the batting champ, AL MVP, and ALCS MVP for an injured pitcher, one w a losing record, and a utility man? Also, I wouldn’t even trade Hanson straight up for Cruz. You’re crazy.
Also, Rowand hit 230/281/378 this year. Gonzo hit 250/294447 and is a brilliant defender. So… you wanna give up Gonzo AND more players for a guy whose last good year was 2007? Why do you think the Braves would sell the farm for has beens or that other teams would trade their best players for our junk? Also, WHY DO I KEEP RESPONDING TO YOUR DRIVEL???

Isn’t it funny that after the trade deadline, we never heard from nc, and now here he is posting everyday. How’s that Prince Fielder deal going, nc?

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