Jones showers Strasburg with high praise; Boscan promoted
As Stephen Strasburg made his much-anticipated Major League debut on June 8, 2010, Chipper Jones and a number of other Braves huddled in front of a clubhouse television at Chase Field to get a glimpse of the young pitcher who had arrived on the big league scene as one of the most heralded prospects in the game’s history.
Despite the fact that Strasburg was just a year removed from his collegiate career, there was an immediate desire to see his potential greatness. Two years and a Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery later, the Nationals’ right-hander is displaying that greatness and proving he might actually be capable of realizing tremendous expectations.
“The guy is dominant,” Chipper Jones said. “He’s got the best repertoire of pitches I’ve seen from any one single pitcher.”
This is incredible praise coming from a future Hall of Famer who has played alongside multiple Cy Young Award winners and been challenged by the game’s top pitchers for more than two decades.
“He’s like a Kerry Wood in his prime, Justin Verlander hybrid,” Jones said. “He’s got the fastball just like those two and the breaking ball just like those two. The changeup is what sets him apart. Verlander has got a good changeup. But his is a circle change that just kind of fades away. (Strasburg’s) is a 90 mile an hour split that just falls off the table. When you’re going up there gearing up for 95 or 96 and he throws you 90 and the bottom falls out of it, that’s a pretty lethal combination.”
Unfortunately for the Braves, Jones will not be getting a look at this lethal combination this afternoon, when Strasburg opposes Mike Minor and the Braves at Turner Field. The 40-year old third baseman was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday night.
The decision to put Jones on the disabled list was heavily influenced by the fact that backup catcher David Ross will miss at least a couple of days with a right groin strain that he suffered during Friday night’s loss to the Nationals. The Braves could not progress through the next couple of days with both Ross and Jones unavailable.
Jones’ badly bruised left leg looked ugly yesterday and it was becoming apparent that he would not be available within the next couple days. Unfortunately the Braves used him as a pinch hitter during Wednesday night’s game. Had he not been utilized in that role, he would have been eligible for activation on June 3. Now he will be on the disabled list until at least June 8.
The Braves were hoping to allow Brian McCann to spend Friday night regaining the energy he had lost while missing the three previous games because of the flu. But McCann was forced to enter the game when Ross injured his groin during a second inning plate appearance.
Surprisingly McCann was not back in the lineup for Saturday afternoon’s game. He was feeling weak during the final innings of Friday night’s game.
The Braves promoted catcher J.C. Boscan from Gwinnett to take Jones’ roster spot and then inserted Saturday afternoon’s lineup. Nothing like a career Minor League catcher coming back to the big leagues in time for a matchup against Strasburg.
But isn’t that just the way things have been going for the Braves lately?