Results tagged ‘ Brandon Hicks ’
While attempting to build off the momentum created by this past weekend’s sweep of the Astros, the Braves will spend the entirety of their current nine-game road trip without Yunel Escobar.
With Escobar’s strained left groin still ailing, the Braves have placed the 27-year-old shortstop on the 15-day disabled list and filled his roster spot by promoting Brandon Hicks, a talented defensive player whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday.
Escobar, who is hitting .217 with eight RBIs, has been sidelined since straining his groin on Thursday. In his absence, Omar Infante will continue handling the starting shortstop duties that he filled during this past weekend’s series against the Astros.
While Escobar could be ready to play at some point this weekend, the Braves didn’t want to spend more time playing one man short. The talented shortstop will be eligible to come off the disabled list on May 15.
Braves manager Bobby Cox has said over the course of the past two years that Hicks is ready to serve as a Major League shortstop from a defensive perspective. But the 24-year-old infielder’s offensive struggles have slowed his rise toward gaining a permanent spot on the Major League roster.
While playing 128 games for Double-A Mississippi last year, Hicks hit .237 with 10 homers and 131 strikeouts. He has hit .179 with one homer and 21 strikeouts in 84 at-bats with Gwinnett this year.
Hicks, who has never previously been on a Major League roster, traveled with the club to Washington D.C. and will be available for Tuesday night’s series opener against the Nationals.
Before leaving the stadium on this afternoon, Tom Glavine turned to Matt Diaz and said, “If you go deep today, you owe me.”
About an hour earlier, Glavine had thrown approximately 20 pitches during a live batting practice session against Diaz, Jason Heyward and Brandon Hicks. While still feeling some crankiness in his left shoulder, the 42-year-old southpaw was encouraged with his location and the consistency of the movement of his changeup and curve.
“He told us what was coming and still all of us rolled over two or three (of his pitches),” Diaz said. “He’s just got that location and that movement that’s vintage Glavine. Obviously he wasn’t rearing back. It’s just fun to see him back out on the mound again.”
Glavine will likely throw another live BP session on Sunday. He’s still hoping to make his Grapefruit League season debut late next week.
Anderson set for debut: Garret Anderson will make his Braves debut against Venezuela this afternoon. Freddie Freeman is hitting cleanup and as expected Jeff Francoeur will serve as the DH. Francoeur plans to play the entire game and compile at least four at-bats.
Derek Lowe will be making his second start of the exhibition season this afternoon.
Needing arms: Because they want to protect some of their arms for the start of the World Baseball Classic, Venezuela will use Braves Minor League pitchers Brad Nelson and Kevin Gunderson during portions of today’s game.
Blanco absent from lineup: Braves outfielder Gregor Blanco is hoping to get some playing time with Venezuela over the next few weeks. But he wasn’t part of Thursday’s lineup. Venezuela’s starting outfielders on Thursday were Endy Chavez, Bobby Abreu and Carlos Guillen. Magglio Ordonez served as the designated hitter.
Odds and ends: Jordan Schafer has been out since spraining the A/C joint in his left shoulder while diving for a ball in Dunedin on Saturday. Braves manager Bobby Cox said the outfielder will likely return to action in three-to-five days…Right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton is still waiting for the Braves to clear him to start pitching again. He strained his left oblique muscle nearly two weeks ago.. Braves president John Schuerholz confirmed that he’s not interested in the Nationals’ vacant GM position. .
Josh Anderson CF
Omar Infante SS
Garret Anderson LF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Jeff Francoeur DH
Brandon Jones RF
Martin Prado 2B
David Ross C
Diory Hernandez 3B
When some scouts were comparing Jordan Schafer to Grady Sizemore last year, I didn’t exactly see the comparison. But I guess that’s why they’re paid to project and I’m paid to use their thoughts in an attempt to display intelligence.
While Sizemore and the Indians have abandoned their former Spring home of Winter Haven, his clone returned to Polk County on Wednesday and showed why Baseball America has rated him the game’s 42nd-best prospect and the seventh-best center field prospect.
Schafer showed off his arm with a strong first-inning throw, displayed his speed with a fifth-inning stolen base and then flexed his muscles while hitting a seventh-inning homer.
“There isn’t a tool this kid doesn’t possess,” said Matt Diaz, who spent the winter training with the young prospect who is going to bring Schafe-mania to Georgia next month.
One exhibition game obviously doesn’t change the fact that in some ways it makes sense for Schafer to start this season at Triple-A Gwinnett. But at the same time, when you see how natural this kid looks when he’s on the diamond, you can’t help but wonder how long the Braves can seriously keep this gem at the Minor League level.
<b> Garret update: </b> Garret Anderson worked out at Disney today and Cox thinks his new outfielder might be able to make his exhibition season debut early next week. I’m still of the opinion that Anderson was a solid pickup and possibly the best bargain of the offseason.
But when you just get a taste of what Schafer can do on the field, you get a better idea about why some of the Braves felt they would be fine if GM Frank Wren didn’t land an additional outfielder.
<b> Here comes Hanson: </b> This is my ninth season covering the Braves and never before have I been more excited about seeing somebody pitch. Tommy Hanson is scheduled to throw two innings against the Astros tomorrow and when he takes the mound, it might mark one of those rare occasions when every media member is simultaneously actually paying attention to what’s going on during an exhibition game.
<i> Baseball America </i> has rated Hanson as the top right-handed pitching prospect. He ranks fourth on the overall list, just one spot ahead of Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, who is rated the game’s top corner outfield prospect.
The five Braves listed in BA’s top 100 list include: Hanson (4), Heyward (5), Schafer (42), Gorkys Hernandez (62) and Freddie Freeman (87).
Brandon Hicks, a non-roster invitee who hasn’t received enough attention during the early days of camp, is rated as the game’s 10th-best shortstop prospect.
“He’s a Major League shortstop,” Cox said while Hicks was showing his power potential during batting practice on Wednesday.