Odds and ends from Braves camp: Wednesday
Tommy Hanson was back on the mound and Freddie Freeman’s limp did not look nearly as painful as it had 24 hours earlier. The Braves actually seemed to be returning to normalcy by the time Wednesday’s workout concluded.
After spending the previous three days limited to conditioning drills and throwing on flat ground, Hanson stepped on the mound for the first time since suffering a Grade 1 concussion on Feb. 20. Given that it had been a week since he had experienced any headaches or dizziness, the primary concern seemed to be on how quickly he regained comfort with the altered delivery he developed in January.
Fortunately for the Braves, Hanson exited the 30-pitch bullpen session rather encouraged.
“I think I threw a little better than I had expected,” Hanson said. “I’ve had some time to think about some mechanical stuff. I was surprised by how well I threw.”
Hanson could be cleared to face live batters in batting practice on Friday. But he’ll first have to pass one more portion of the concussion impact test, which tests memory and reaction.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez announced Mike Minor will start Saturday’s exhibition season opener against the Tigers. But he did not announce when his other projected starters will make their respective debuts during the exhibition season. This likely has something to do with the uncertainty surrounding Hanson.
Hanson will obviously not be ready to pitch during the first turn through the rotation. Once he is cleared to throw off the mound (which could occur Thursday), the club will be able to project when he could make his first exhibition appearance. This will allow them to know where to position Kris Medlen or any of the potential starters who could piggyback with Hanson once he returns.
Jair Jurrjens remains the favorite to be named Opening Day starter. Gonzalez said Wednesday that pitching coach Roger McDowell believes Hanson will be ready to pitch the first time through the rotation during the regular season.
With Lakeland just 25 minutes away, Minor could be facing a pretty talented lineup during his two-inning stint on Saturday. There should be some excitement around the game as Orlando-resident Prince Fielder is expected to make his Grapefruit League debut with the Tigers.
The Tigers plan to start Doug Fister on Saturday and Max Scherzer when the Braves travel to Lakeland on Sunday.
I know I pointed this out in September and referred to it in January. But this has to be the greatest of all the statistically-related Chipper Jones tidbits.
Jones is one of five players in Major League history to record a .300 batting average with at least 450 homers, 500 doubles, 1,400 walks, a .400 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage.
The other four players are Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Stan Musial and Lou Gehrig.