Results tagged ‘ Brewers ’

Braves and Brewers still attempting to match pieces

The Braves and Brewers have continued to attempt to find the matching pieces to swap a young pitcher for an outfielder.  But late Wednesday morning, they both seemed reluctant to move the piece the other club was seeking. 

There’s no doubt that the Braves have interest in Lorenzo Cain, a 24-year-old center fielder from Valdosta, Ga. But they weren’t willing to acquire at the expense of losing Mike Minor, the 2009 first-round selection that the Brewers requested in exchange. 

The Brewers seem more willing to move Carlos Gomez, a 25-year outfielder who previously played for the Mets and Twins.  Likewise, the Braves seem much more interested in moving any of their young pitching prospects not named Minor, Teheran, Delgado and Vizcaino. 

Speaking of Arodys Vizcaino, a scout said that he saw him touch 96 during an Instructional League game a couple months ago.  That’s very encouraging considering it appeared the 20-year-old right-hander’s elbow was ailing to the point that it appeared he would eventually need to undergo Tommy John surgery this past summer.

Braves general manager Frank Wren has started making inquiries about some left-handed relievers.  But if a refreshed Jose Ortegano continues to pitch like he has recently in Venezuela, he might find himself as a candidate to join Eric O’Flaherty as a situational left-hander.

Ortegano struggled after arriving in Spring Training this past year with a lot of hype.  When his struggles continued into the regular season, the Braves gained the belief that he was simply overworked during last year’s Venezuela Winter League and the Caribbean World Series.

Through his first three appearances (one start) this year, Ortegano has worked 10 1/3 innings, recorded 13 strikeouts, surrendered seven hits and allowed two earned runs. 

Rule 5 outlook: Because he was optioned to Double-A Mississippi a couple weeks ago, Kenshin Kawakami will be eligible for selection in both the Major League and Minor League phases of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft.

But there’s essentially no reason to believe he will be selected.  The selecting team would be responsible for all of the $6.67 million he is owed this year. 

There is a chance the Braves could lose right-handed pitcher Michael Broadway or left-handed pitcher Scott Diamond in the Rule 5 Draft.

Diamond combined to go 8-7 with a 3.46 ERA in 27 starts with Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett this past summer. He was 4-1 with a 3.36 ERA in his 10 starts with Gwinnett.

Broadway posted a 4.39 ERA and recorded 57 strikeouts in the 53 1/3 innings he combined to throw for Mississippi and Gwinnett this year. 

Impressed by Hurdle:  After it was announced that he had agreed to a two-year deal with the Pirates late Tuesday night, Matt Diaz said that he was really impressed while meeting Monday night with new Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. 

Less than one week after being non-tendered, the former Braves outfielder was also comforted with the reality that he will receive $4.25 million over the next two years.  

   
  
 

 

Venters and Cox suspended

Major League Baseball didn’t buy Jonny Venters’ claim that he wasn’t intentionally throwing at Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder during Saturday’s eighth inning at Turner Field.

Venters has been handed a four-game suspension and levied with a fine for an undisclosed amount.  Bobby Cox has also been given a one-game suspension for what MLB described as “the intentional actions of Venters after a warning had been issued to the pitcher following the first intentional pitch thrown at Fielder.”  <p>

For those needing a reminder, Fielder hit a game-tying homer off Tim Hudson in the seventh inning.  When he came to bat to open the eighth, Venters threw a first-pitch slider over his head.  This prompted Angel Hernandez to issue warnings to both benches. 

When Venters followed with a fastball that drilled Fielder in the back, he and Cox were both ejected. 

After the game, Venters said he wasn’t intentionally throwing at Fielder.  Cox uttered this same belief in what seemed to be with what seemed to be a believable tone.  In other words, there wasn’t any indication that this was one of those instances where he was trying to quickly cover something up. 

MLB vice-president of on-field operations Bob Watson obviously didn’t buy these claims.

 Cox will serve his suspension during Tuesday night’s series opener against the Padres.  Venters will likely appeal his suspension, which would allow him to serve it at a later date. 

With left-handed reliever Eric O’Flaherty on the disabled list, the Braves can’t afford to go into this series without Venters, who ranks fourth among NL relievers with a 1.25 ERA.

There was reason to believe the Brewers would attempt to gain some retribution and some Braves believe they did during Sunday’s sixth inning when both Jason Heyward and Troy Glaus were hit with pitches. 

If Manny Parra was supposed to hit Heyward, he likely needed to explain himself after simply grazing the rookie outfielder’s right thigh.  Later David Riske drilled Troy Glaus on the left thigh with a 2-0 fastball that loaded the bases and marked the third of his seven consecutive pitches that missed the strike zone.

“We weren’t trying to hit Prince, but at the same time it looked bad,” McCann said Sunday.”Obviously their whole team thought we were trying to hit him.  Things like happen. They hit a couple of our guys today. But it’s over with.  No harm was done and that’s how you play the game of baseball.” 

 

Hanson searching for consistency

After watching Tommy Hanson struggle again during last night’s loss to the Brewers, Chipper Jones said, “For the first three or four innings, they were swinging like they knew what was coming.” 

There’s obviously a chance that Hanson has been tipping his pitches.  But his problems seem to primarily stem from the fact that he’s had trouble finding a consistent release point.  This seemingly led to him throwing more sliders than normal on Friday night.  

Instead of simply referring to Hanson’s inconsistencies as a sophomore slump,  it might be better to describe them as a product of one of the disadvantages created by a 6-foot-6 frame. 

While this might not have been a problem last year, Hanson has certainly had plenty of trouble keeping his lanky frame in sync with many of his deliveries this year. 

This is not a problem that will be fixed overnight.  But by the time October rolls around, the Braves will need him to be ready to serve as one of the horses that could carry them through the postseason. 

Heyward rests: With Chris Narveson starting for the Brewers tonight, Braves manager Bobby Cox has decided to rest his left-handed sluggers —  Jason Heyward and Brian McCann.   Left-handed hitters have batted just .204 against Narveson this year.  Right-handed hitters are batting .335 against him. 

BRAVES LINEUP
Prado 4
Infante 9
Gonzalez 6
Glaus 3
Diaz 7
Cabrera 8
Ross 2
Conrad 5
Hudson 1  

Braves not interested in Hart

The Braves see the Brewers as a potential suitor for Derek Lowe.  But contrary to a report on FOXSports.com, they have never been interested in trading the veteran sinkerballer in exchange for Brewers outfielder Corey Hart. 

The report indicated that the Brewers seem reluctant to deal for Lowe because he is owed $45 million over the next three years.  While that is certainly understandable, the Braves have also provided indication that they are not interested in Hart. 

In other words, if the Braves end up having to trade Javier Vazquez to the Brewers, there’s little reason to believe that Hart would be part of the return package.

Indications are that the Braves don’t like Hart’s undisciplined offensive approach.  The Brewers outfielder, who could draw a $5 million salary via arbitration this winter, hit .260 with 12 homers and a .753 OPS this past season. 

As the Braves continue to explore their options with Lowe, they still think there’s a chance that the Angels may be willing to add the veteran sinkerballer to their young rotation. 

It appears that instead of getting a Major League-ready outfielder in return, the Braves would be more interested in digging into the Angels farm system. 

Braves not talking to Dodgers about Vazquez

If the Braves determine that they can’t move Derek Lowe, they will have to increase their efforts to move Javier Vazquez.  But contrary to a tweet posted by former Reds and Nationals GM Jim Bowden, they aren’t currently talking to the Dodgers about Vazquez. 

As many of you have already pointed out in this forum, Vazquez’s contract includes a clause that prevents him from being traded to any of the teams from the West divisions of the American and National Leagues. 

In addition, early Friday afternoon a team source said that the Braves and Dodgers aren’t currently in the midst of any trade discussions. 

Before moving Vazquez and the $11.5 million that he is owed next year, the Braves will concentrate their efforts on moving Lowe and the $45 million that he is owed over the course of the next three years.

Earlier this week, I mentioned that the Yankees might have some interest in Lowe. But it now appears that they won’t attempt to land the 36-year-old sinkerballer, who went 15-10 with a 4.67 ERA for the Braves this past season. 

It now appears the more likely suitors for Lowe would be the Brewers or Angels, a pair of teams looking to add a veteran front-line starter.  

But the Angels will first wait to get a better understanding about how much it might take to bring John Lackey back to serve as their ace.   If the highly-sought right-hander signs elsewhere, they could gauge the possibility of trading for Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay before turning their sights toward Lowe.

As for the Brewers, there has been some indication that they would be more interested in acquiring Vazquez. 

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