Results tagged ‘ Adam LaRoche ’

Braves and Cubs still discussing Lee

UPDATED:

The Braves appear to be in the final stages of the process to land veteran first baseman Derrek Lee from the Cubs. Multiple sources seem quite confident that the trade will completed within the next hour or two.  

Lee’s recent back problems are certainly concerning.  But at the same time, it has simply been uncomfortable to watch Troy Glaus play through the leg discomfort that has him to be a liability in the lineup the past couple of months. 

The Braves have seen enough to know that Glaus’ legs aren’t going to get any better this year.  They can only hope that Lee’s back discomfort proves to be temporary. 

With Adam LaRoche reportedly clearing waivers, the Braves would have an option to bring him back to play first base for the rest of this season.  But they would rather get a right-handed bat with the power potential that Lee finally showed again this weekend.

Lee has batted .282 with six homers and a .454 slugging percentage over his past 43 games.  Four of those homers were compiled this weekend against the Cardinals.  Braves top scout Jim Fregosi was present during that three-game series in St. Louis.   <p>

Given that most of his recent power came during this recent three-day stretch, Lee isn’t a definite solution to the Braves offensive problems.  Entering this past weekend, he had homered just twice in his previous 41 games.

But while hitting .265 with a .682 OPS  during this 41-game stretch, he at least proved more productive than Glaus, who has hit .175 with a .551 OPS in his past 45 games.

Throw in the fact that Lee is clearly a superior defender and it’s obvious that this trade would at least improve the Braves.   But at the same time, it’s not exactly comforting to know that he would be coming to Atlanta with one of these back problems that seemingly never disappear overnight. 

If this deal falls through, the Braves might at least want to look at the risk of adding LaRoche to their already left-handed heavy lineup.  He has batted .382 (21-for-55) with two homers against left-handed pitchers since the All-Star break. 

Does this portion of the schedule still elicit optimism?

The Braves are about to embark on that portion of their schedule that looked so appealing as recently as Thursday, when there was still seemingly some reason to feel optimistic about their postseason hopes.  

Mathematically the Braves are still alive and while closing the season against the Nationals (seven games), Mets (three games) and Marlins (three games), they certainly have the chance to finish the season in impressive fashion.  

But while losing two of three to the Phillies this past weekend, the Braves fell 5 games behind the Rockies in the National League Wild Card race and seemingly lost the opportunity to fully take advantage of the schedule that awaits them.   

Trying to keep things positive after Sunday afternoon’s loss, Chipper Jones said that teams there are a number of instances throughout the season when clubs lose five and six games in a row.  

Well over the past month, the Rockies have encountered two lengthy skids that didn’t prove devastating to their postseason hopes.    While Colorado lost five straight from Aug. 26-30, the Braves gained two games and moved to within 3 games of the Wild Card’s top spot.

When the Rockies lost four straight from Sept. 12-15, the Braves gained 3 games and still found themselves five games back and further lamenting what they’d squandered during the first week of this month, when they squandered two sixth-inning leads against the Marlins and then got swept at home by the Reds.  

While the postseason aspirations are now truly hanging by a thread, the next couple of weeks should prove to be interesting for the Braves, who within the next week could learn whether Bobby Cox has decided to return to serve as their manager for at least one more season.   

Escobar’s removal:  It was somewhat surprising to see Cox remove Yunel Escobar from Friday night’s game after the shortstop made the fatal mistake of jogging toward first base in the same manner that Garret Anderson and many of the games other veteran do on a regular basis.  

Less than an hour earlier, I was telling a scout about how much better Escobar’s attitude had been.   Since his “talk to me when I get three hits” episode right after the All-Star break, he’s actually been pretty easy to deal with.  More importantly, he was seemingly smiling and interacting with his teammates more in the clubhouse.

During Thursday night’s game when he had slid in ahead of a tag at the plate and was ruled out, Escobar probably shouldn’t have shown up umpire Dan Iassogna by pointing toward Martin Prado and asking his opinion.  But at the same time, I thought the Braves shortstop displayed  his improved maturity when he didn’t react when Iassogna was seemingly baiting him to say something to him.  

Still even with all of the access that I get to the club, I still don’t see everything that evolves in that clubhouse.   Thus I have to think that Escobar’s removal from Friday’s game was based on something more than his decision to lackadaisically move toward first base.

There are still occasions when Escobar proves to be melodramatic.  The latest instance occurred on Saturday night, when he got hit in the left arm with Pedro Martinez’s 71 mph curveball and then remained on the ground before looking into the Braves dugout to see if the trainers were going to come out to check on him.

It was quite obvious that Escobar didn’t gain any additional supporters in the Braves clubhouse on Sunday, when he revealed that the damage created by this slow curve was going to prevent him from playing in the series finale against the Phillies.

LaRoche returns:   Adam LaRoche arrived at Citi Field today and told Cox that he was ready to return to action.  LaRoche is still feeling some discomfort in the middle of his back when he begins to swing.

TONIGHT’S LINEUP
McLouth 8
Prado 4
Jones 3
McCann 2
Escobar 6
Anderson 7
LaRoche 3
Diaz 8
Lowe 1 

LaRoche sits with sore back

Braves first baseman Adam LaRoche was out of the lineup for Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Phillies because of a sore back. 

LaRoche strained his back while diving for a ball during the latter portion of Friday night’s loss to the Phillies and felt further discomfort before exiting Saturday night’s game in the seventh inning.

“It wasn’t horrible until I took my last swing on a changeup or something,” said LaRoche, who took some additional swings in the batting cage before confirming he was unavailable for Sunday’s game.  “Hopefully it’s nothing that will keep me out very long.”

The Braves also started Sunday’s game without Brian McCann, who was given a day to rest, and Yunel Escobar, who told the Braves he was still feeling discomfort courtesy of the Pedro Martinez curveball that struck his left arm on Saturday night.

LaRoche exits with a sore right hip

PHILADELPHIA  —    Adam LaRoche was forced to exit Saturday night’s game against the Phillies because of right hip discomfort that has progressively worsened over the course of the past few days.  
 
After grounding out in the fourth inning of Saturday’s 9-1 victory, LaRoche told Braves manager Bobby Cox that he was able to swing the bat, but was having trouble running and moving in a lateral direction.  The veteran first baseman isn’t sure what initiated this discomfort.  

“I can’t pinpoint it,” LaRoche said.  “It started like three or four days ago.  Luckily I play a position where I can play through a lot of injuries.  So I treated it and for three or four days and I was just going to suck it up.  But today, it was just worse.”  
 
When LaRoche doubled off Cliff Lee during the second inning, he felt what he described as something grinding around his hip.    One inning later while having to lunge in an attempt to catch Derek Lowe’s throwing error, he felt increased discomfort.  
 
“That was kind of the icing on it,” LaRoche said.  “It was already hurting pretty bad.” 
 
LaRoche, who has hit .375 with eight homers in the 25 games he’s played since the Braves acquired him from the Red Sox on July 31, is hopeful that he’ll be able to return for Sunday night’s series finale against the Phillies. 
 
“I hope I wake up and this feels better tomorrow,” LaRoche said.  “I don’t want to miss a game.”   
 
 

Braves playoff hopes still alive

Within yesterday’s offday story, I pointed out that based on the developments that occurred during the previous two seasons, you can’t completely rule out the possibility that the Braves could still win the National League East.

At the same time, I provided a couple of recent examples (2007 Rockies and 2004 Astros) to reinforce the belief that the Braves are still very much alive in the National League Wild Card race.   Of course, I wrote that approximately 12 hours before the Rockies completed their 14-inning marathon against the Giants with Ryan Spilborghs’ walk-off grand slam.

While playing golf, fishing or resting tired muscles yesterday, the Braves lost a half-game in both the National League East and Wild Card races.  They now trail the Phillies by seven games and sit 4 games behind the Rockies.  

Having won seven of their last eight and 17 of their past 24, the Rockies aren’t providing any indication that they’re ready to release their stranglehold atop the Wild Card standings.   But at the same time, they’re providing reason to wonder if they may eventually fall out of this equation and catch the NL West-leading Dodgers, who have gone 10-12 this month and seen their lead over the Rockies shrink to three games.

The Dodgers, who owned an eight-game advantage over the Rockies entering this month, have hit .266, compiled a .330 on-base percentage and scored 4.5 runs per game in August.  From a pitching perspective, they’ve posted a 3.23 ERA.  

In the 24 games the Rockies have played since being shut out in consecutive games by the Mets, they’ve hit .274, compiled a .359 on-base percentage and tallied 5.79 runs per game.  During this span, their pitchers have posted a 3.95 ERA.  

While winning 14 of the 21 games they’ve played this month, the Braves have hit .272, reached base at a .348 clip and tallied 5.29 runs per game.   In the process, their pitchers have posted a 3.41 ERA.  

Looking at a larger sample size, the Cliff Lee-aided Phillies (3.04) are the only NL team that has posted a better ERA than the Braves (3.23) since the All-Star break.  With Spilborghs’ walk-off shot, the Rockies (5.30) became the only NL team that has scored more runs per game since the break than the Braves (5.28).   

Yesterday’s offday story also pointed out that the Braves current record of 66-58 matched the ones the Phillies had tallied on the way to winning the NL East both of the past two seasons.  In addition, I’ve since noticed that the 2006 world champion Cardinals also posted this same mark through their first 124 games.  

On the way to winning the Wild Card and advancing to the 2007 World Series, the Rockies possessed a 63-61 record and sat 3 games back in the Wild Card standings.  

Obviously the variables differ from year-to-year and the Braves certainly aren’t guaranteed the luxury the Phillies gained while the Mets collapsed both of the past two Septembers.   But recent history proves that they are still very much alive with the hope they’ve created courtesy of the recent success that they’ve encountered.  

Red-hot Roachy:  When the Braves acquired Mark Teixeira before the 2007 trade deadline, many immediately compared it to the trade that brought a first baseman named Fred McGriff to Atlanta for the final two months of the 1993 season.

While hitting .289 with nine homers, 26 RBIs and a .711 slugging percentage through his first 20 games,  Teixeira provided the similar immediate impact that McGriff did while hitting .364 with seven homers, 15 RBIs and a .753 slugging percentage during his first 20 games in Atlanta.  

When Adam LaRoche was acquired before this year’s trade deadline, there wasn’t any reason to put pressure on him to produce these kinds of outrageous numbers.  But through his first 20 games back as Atlanta’s first baseman, Roachy has hit .406 with seven homers, 16 RBIs and a .739 slugging percentage.  

Based on this success, the Braves will certainly attempt to keep  LaRoche in Atlanta after he hits the free agent market this offseason.  But with Freddie Freeman just a year or two away from reaching the Majors, they aren’t likely to offer him more than a two-year deal.  

Speaking of Freeman, he’s been placed on the seven-day disabled list with a bruised left hand.   During his first 41 games with Double-A Mississippi, the 19-year-old first baseman has hit .248 with two homers and a .650 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).  

For those of you who looked at yesterday’s box score and also noticed that Jason Heyward didn’t play for Mississippi, he simply got a day to rest.   Through his first 43 games at the Double-A level, Heyward has hit .338 with seven homers and a 1.046 OPS.  

These numbers are even more impressive when you account that he’s hit just .162 with one homer and three RBIs in his past 10 games.   The fact that he’s hit .243 with four homers and an .847 OPS this month should simply be a reminder that even the greatest 20-year-old prospects are going to encounter some form of struggles as they make their march toward the big leagues.  

Medlen’s turnaround:
  While Brian McCann provided the necessary offense, Sunday afternoon’s game against the Marlins couldn’t have been won without the two scoreless innings provided by Kris Medlen.  His effort negated the fact that Derek Lowe was forced to exit after five innings and just 67 pitches   —  a combined product of ineffective mound work and a short bench.
 
In his 13 appearances since the All-Star break, Medlen has worked 19 1/3 innings, posted a 0.93 ERA and limited opponents to a .197 batting average and .250 on-base percentage.
 
This obviously isn’t the same kid who was a nervous wreck when he arrived in the Majors in May.  Much more relaxed, Medlen has proven to be a funny dude in the clubhouse and a talented pitcher, who is going to continue to have chances to provide major impacts as the Braves continue to march into the heat of the postseason races.

Braves set for another pivotal weekend

During the second week of this season, while the Marlins were in the midst of winning 12 of their first 13 games, I approached Fredi Gonzalez with one of those casual, “How you feelin’?” and he quickly responded with  “How should I be feeling?”  

Gonzalez was feeling good about his club in April and as we approach the first week of September, he has every reason to feel even better about his club, which had registered double-digit hit totals in 15 straight games before recording just four hits during Thursday night’s loss to the Astros.

Having lost their final two games in Houston, the Marlins come to Atlanta this weekend deadlocked with the Braves in third place in the National League Wild Card standings.  These two teams also sported identical records when the Braves traveled to South Florida during the final week of July and lost two of three.

Simply looking at the fact that there’s an opportunity to push ahead of the Marlins provides reason to say  that this will be the fourth consecutive weekend that the Braves will be playing a “big, clutch, crucial pivotal (or whatever adjective you’d like to insert) series.  

But while spending the past three weekend’s testing themselves against the National League’s elite (Phillies and Dodgers), the Braves didn’t have the opportunity that is present this weekend.

If the Braves are able to complete a sweep while having the luxury of not having to face Josh Johnson this weekend, they’ll have a chance to gain ground on both the Giants and the Rockies, who will begin a four-game series against each other tonight at Coors Field.

Entering this weekend, the Braves and Marlins trail the front-running Rockies by four games and they are two games behind the Giants in the NL Wild Card chase.   

What we have here is the equivalent of a Saturday on the PGA Tour.   What occurs during this “moving weekend” could have a significant bearing on who emerges as this year’s WC winner.  

If the Braves or the Marlins were to complete a sweep this weekend in Atlanta, they’d severely damage the postseason hopes of the other team and gain the possibility to move within 1 games of the top spot —  only possible if the Giants were to take three of four from the Rockies.

Looking at a more likely development, if the Braves or Marlins were to take two of three this weekend and the two NL West teams were to split their four-game series, one of the two NL East teams would simply move to within 3 games of the top spot.

So while there’s a chance that significant ground won’t be gained, this still shapes up as intriguing weekend and one during which the Braves and Marlins will want to pull for the Giants to simply reduce the distance between their position and the top spot.

Church’s contributions:
  After last night’s win over the Mets, Braves manager Bobby Cox wondered what he would have done had he not had Ryan Church to play center field while Nate McLouth continues to deal with his strained left hamstring.

Gregor Blanco certainly wasn’t the answer and there’s no reason to even wonder whether Reid Gorecki or Brian Barton could provide what Church has from both an offensive and defensive perspective.

And there’s no doubt that Church has much greater range than Jeff Francoeur, who likely would have only been considered a late-inning emergency option in center field.

In the 28 games he’s played for the Braves, Church has hit .273 with a .373 on-base percentage, a .443 slugging percentage, two homers and 16 RBIs.

In the 36 games, he’s played for the Mets, Francoeur has hit .297 with a .329 on-base percentage, .471 slugging percentage, five homers and 22 RBIs.  

When you factor the value Church has provided with his defensive versatility, it’s once again evident that the Braves were very fortunate to be able to acquire him in exchange for Francoeur.  In fact, I’d have to say this one has worked out even better than Frank Wren could have imagined.

While thinking along these lines, there’s no doubt that Adam LaRoche has proven to be even better than Wren pictured when he acquired him before the Trade Deadline.   In his first 17 games with the Braves, LaRoche has hit .404 with six homers, a .507 on-base percentage, a .754 slugging percentage and 12 RBIs.

There’s no reason to once again compare these numbers to the ones that Casey Kotchman produced in Atlanta.  Instead it’s sufficient to explain LaRoche’s value by pointing out that he leads all NL first basemen in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage this month.  

Because he’d hit just .223 with a .390 slugging percentage against left-handers before he returned to Atlanta, LaRoche has found himself out of the lineup against some southpaws.  But with Martin Prado ailing, he’s taken advantage of the opportunity to prove that he can hit lefties. 

With the Braves, LaRoche has hit .360 (9-for-25) with a .520 slugging percentage against left-handers. 

The fact that the Marlins are scheduled to start three right-handers this weekend should be viewed as a positive for the Braves, who have hit .287 with a .449 slugging percentage against right-handers this month and .248 with a .408 slugging percentage against left-handers. 

During tonight’s series opener, Javier Vazquez will be pitted against Anibal Sanchez, who will be making his first start since being sidelined with a right shoulder sprain on June 2.   Sanchez is 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA in the four starts he’s made against the Braves since the start of the 2008 season. 

Making matters worse for Sanchez is the fact that he’ll be facing a Braves team that now includes Church.  In 16 career at-bats against the Marlins right-hander, Church has hit .500 with three doubles and a homer.
 
Time to head to the park.  I’ll be sure to provide injury updates regarding Prado, McLouth and Garret Anderson, who left last night’s game with some lower-back discomfort.  

 
 

Infante returns to face red-hot Nationals

Coming off a weekend during which Kris Medlen was one of the many players that proved to be huge at Dodger Stadium, the Braves are back at Turner Field to host the red-hot Nationals.  
Do I get any kind of bonus Scrabble points for describing Medlen as huge and the Nationals as red-hot in the same sentence?  

During my nine seasons on this beat, I’d have to say this past weekend’s four-game set in Los Angeles was one of the best series that I’ve witnessed.   How many times do you see a team bounce back from a potentially demoralizing walk-off loss with consecutive extra-inning victories and then end  up taking three of four against a team that entered the series possessing the best record in the Majors?

While their pitching staff has been weakened by injuries, the Dodgers still are one of the National League’s elite teams and this weekend, the Braves proved to themselves and everybody else that they have the potential to work their way into that same category.   

But everything that was accomplished in Los Angeles will go to waste if the Braves aren’t able to prolong this successful run against the Nationals, who have posted a 3.88 ERA and compiled a .322 batting average during the eight-game winning streak that they carry into tonight’s series opener.  

The Braves have lost 16 of their past 27 games against the Nationals and they realize that taking care of business during these next two days would put themselves in great position this weekend, when they welcome the Phillies to town and have the opportunity to directly affect how things look at the top of the NL East standings.

Chipper Jones seemingly understands the importance of these two games.  When he arrived at his locker before Tuesday’s batting practice he was told that his name wasn’t in tonight’s lineup.

“It’s not in there?” Jones said. “Excuse me a second.”  

A few minutes later after having a brief discussion with Bobby Cox, Jones returned and said that he was back in the lineup.  

Jones strained his left oblique muscle during Friday’s batting practice and was absent while the Braves won three straight against the Dodgers.   The ailment bothered him while he was in Los Angeles, but when he awoke on Tuesday he felt no discomfort and was determined to play.  

“If I can play at all right now, I’m going to play,” Jones said.  

Jones’ return to the lineup led the Braves to shift Omar Infante from third base to second base.  Martin Prado was positioned at first base because Cox opted to sit LaRoche against Nationals left-handed starter John Lannan.  

Since joining the Braves LaRoche has five hits in 14 at-bats against left-handed pitchers.  But he’s batting just .171 (7-for-41) against them since July 1 and is hitless in six career at-bats against Lannan.  

When the Braves activated Infante from the disabled list, they optioned Diory Hernandez to Triple-A Gwinnett.  With Infante’s presence, the Braves no longer needed to keep Hernandez around to serve as Yunel Esobar’s backup. 

While Greg Norton has hit just .138 this year and .087 (4-for-46) from the left side of the plate, it still seemingly made more sense to keep him around with the hope that he’ll turn things around.   It’s not as if Hernandez gave the Braves reason to believe he could be a valuable right-handed bat off the bench.   He’d hit just .143 in the 42 at-bats he’d compiled dating back to June 28. 

It was somewhat concerning to see Nate McLouth return to the bench during Tuesday’s batting practice and tell Bobby Cox that he was still feeling some discomfort in the same left hamstring that sidelined him for a week earlier this year.
 
McLouth, who tweaked the hamstring during Saturday’s 10th inning,  said he really doesn’t feel any discomfort until he attempts to push off while attempting to run down a fly ball.
  
Given McLouth’s blue-collar, win-at-all-costs approach to the game, it’s definitely in his best interest to wait a few more days before returning to regular action.   If he were to push himself attempting to score from second base or while running into one of the outfield gaps, he could incur an injury that would certainly handicap the Braves during this stretch run.  

Traveling to the park in style

buck commander.jpg

If you saw the Buck Commander bus heading toward Turner Field early Saturday afternoon,  there’s a chance you saw all of the bearded men pictured on the side and simply assumed that you’d just seen ZZ Top’s new tour bus.  
 
But I’m going to have to guess that there weren’t too many of you, who realized that Chipper Jones was on board and simply allowing his good friend and business partner Willie Robertson to give him a lift to the park
.  
Robertson, who was in Atlanta this weekend for a hunting-related convention, is the founder and president of the Buck Commander company that is financially supported by a handful of Major Leaguers, including Jones and Adam LaRoche.
 
After making his debut with the Braves during Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Dodgers, LaRoche jokingly said that he was going to spend the next two months living in the bus and keep it parked in Jones’ driveway.
 
When told of LaRoche’s plan, Jones provided his best Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson impersonation by simply raising his eyebrow.
 
Still LaRoche was given the opportunity to drive the bus back to Jones’ residence on Saturday night and in the process, he thinks there’s a chance that he might have caused Jones’ wife, Sharon, some aggravation.
 
“I think I ran over some of Sharon’s plants or flowers  pulling it in there,” LaRoche said.

Escobar update:  While taking batting practice in the indoor cage this afternoon, Yunel Escobar had some trouble getting his bat around on the inside fastball.  The swelling around his right wrist has subsided.  But he likely won’t know if he’ll be able to play during Monday’s series opener in San Diego, until he has the opportunity to take some swings and make some throws during the afternoon hours.  <p>
 
Hudson update:  Because he believes there’s a chance he could resume his Minor League rehab assignment next weekend, Tim Hudson won’t accompany the Braves on their trip to Southern California.  Instead, he’ll stay in Atlanta and continue to rehab the mild left groin strain that he suffered before Friday’s schedule rehab start.  
Hudson remains hopeful that this ailment won’t prevent him from rejoining the Atlanta rotation some time this month.

Norton’s rainbow:  While Greg Norton was certainly due to record pinch hits on both Friday and Saturday, there wouldn’t have been much reason to believe this would be the time he’d break out of this slump if you would have seen the multi-colored bruise he gained on his calf courtesy of a foul tip on Thursday night.
 
Initially Norton didn’t think it was a big deal and didn’t really realize any swelling until the Braves charter flight left Ft. Lauderdale and was en route to Atlanta.   The Braves medical staff drained some of the blood out of his calf on Saturday and the veteran pinch hitter has spent the past couple days limping around with his leg heavily wrapped.
 
The bruise extends from ankle to knee and I’d detail some of the colors present if I’d actually seen them before.   Believe me when I say it’s harder to look at Norton’s calf than it was to watch Jeff Bennett attempt to keep inherited runners from scoring.
 
Minor League Rehab stints:
  Both Omar Infante and Buddy Carlyle will play for Class A Rome on Tuesday night.  Carlyle, who believes he could return to the Atlanta bullpen soon, will pitch the first two innings.  This will mark the beginning of a Minor League rehab assignment for Infante, who has been out since May 20 with a broken left hand.  
 
 

LaRoche has arrived

After enduring quite a wacky travel experience, Adam LaRoche finally arrived at Turner Field at 2:55 p.m. ET or 65 minutes before he prepared to play first base and bat sixth against the Dodgers. 

Carrying a Boston Red Sox bag and wearing jeans and a t-shirt, LaRoche walked into the Braves clubhouse and immediately started receiving playful jabs from his teammates and coaches. 

Chipper Jones came around the corner and greeted his close friend with, “I can deal with the frayed jeans, but a t-shirt?   Then the veteran first baseman added, “You spend five whole days and they give you a bag?” 

After he was traded by the Pirates to Boston on July 22, LaRoche played six games with the Red Sox and then learned on Friday afternoon that he’d been dealt back to the Braves, who had employed him for his first three Major League seasons (2004-2006). 

“Does this mean we all get free deer now,” Braves bullpen coach Eddie Perez said while playfully making reference to LaRoche’s passion for hunting.  

After hitting a career-high 32 homers in 2006, LaRoche was dealt to the Pirates in exchange for Mike Gonzalez. 

When Gonzalez greeted LaRoche with a handshake and man hug, the first baseman smiled and said, “I never thought we’d be together.” 

When LaRoche learned of this latest trade, his plan was to fly from Baltimore to Boston to quickly pack a few items in his truck and then fly to Atlanta this morning. 

His travel problems began when his 8 p.m. ET flight out of Baltimore was delayed for three hours.  They were prolonged this morning, when the bomb scare at New York’s LaGuardia Airport caused his flight out of Boston to be delayed. 

But LaRoche eventually arrived at Turner Field and donned the No. 22 jersey that had been previously worn by Casey Kotchman, whom the Braves traded to the Red Sox in exchange for LaRoche.

Barbaro Canizares was optioned back to Triple-A Gwinnett to create a roster space for LaRoche. 

TODAY’S LINEUP
Nate McLouth 8
Martin Pado 4
Chipper Jones 5
Garret Anderson 7
Matt Diaz 9
Adam LaRoche 3
David Ross 2
Diory Hernandez 6
Derek Lowe 1

LaRoche stuck in Baltimore but plans to play Saturday

Adam LaRoche plans to be in the Braves lineup when the face the Dodgers at Turner Field on Saturday afternoon.  But first, the 29-year-old first baseman is going to have to get out of Baltimore. 

After learning the Red Sox had traded him to the Braves on Friday afternoon, LaRoche planned to catch an 8 p.m. ET flight to Boston, pack his truck and then catch an early morning flight to Atlanta.

But things have became complicated when weather delayed his flight out of Baltimore for approximately three hours.  Thus he’s now scheduled to arrive in Boston around 1 a.m. and then return to the airport for his 8:30 a.m. flight to Atlanta. 

“If Chipper (Jones) was a good teammate, he’d send his plane up here to get me,” LaRoche said.

When told about his close friend’s  remark after Friday night’s loss to the Dodgers, Chipper said, “Call him back, tell him to hold his breath and see how far that gets him.” 

While he certainly would have liked to have avoided this travel dilemma, LaRoche is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with Jones and the other Braves that were with him while he spent his first three Major League seasons (2004-2006) in Atlanta. 

“It’s going to be fun,” LaRoche said. “It’s nice to go back to somwhere that you’re familiar with.  I’m really looking forward to it.  But I’d be also be lying if I told you I didn’t love my experience in Boston.  That was really a great week there.” 

After being traded by the Pirates to the Red Sox on July 22, LaRoche had the opportunity to renew acquaintances with his good friend John Smoltz.  The two only had one opportunity to share a round of golf together.    

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