Results tagged ‘ Derek Lowe ’
After Ubaldo Jimenez completed his masterpiece at Turner Field last night, Chipper Jones walked through the Braves clubhouse and said, “No batting practice, 13 hits, batting practice and we get no hits.”
Jones was playfully referencing the fact that the Braves opted not to take batting practice on the field on Friday and then erupted for 13 hits in the series opener against the Rockies. Then after going back to their regular pregame routine on Saturday they were saddled with the frustration of Jimenez’s no-hitter.
As was mentioned in today’s game story, Jones and a handful of other players and coaches have said “a loss is a loss.” While I think they’re trying to soothe the mood following Jimenez’s gem, Saturday’s loss certainly didn’t prove to be as frustrating as the one the Braves suffered on April 9, when they blew a two-run lead with one out in the ninth.
Talked to Derek Lowe about the no-hitter that he threw for the Red Sox back in 2002. He had gone seven years without watching footage of that game before the Braves video coordinator gave him a DVD copy to view on Saturday.
“What are the odds,” Lowe said.
Well the odds are pretty good that the Braves will tally at least one hit against Greg Smith today. Here is the lineup that Bobby Cox has assembled for this afternoon’s series finale.
Matt Diaz 7
Martin Prado 4
Chipper Jones 5
Brian McCann 2
Troy Glaus 3
Yunel Escobar 6
Jason Heyward 9
Melky Cabrera 8
Jair Jurrjens 1
When Jason Heyward arrived at the stadium this morning he was surprised to see that his name wasn’t in the lineup for this afternoon’s game against the Blue Jays.
Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton quickly chimed in with, “Don’t worry kid, you’re going to have plenty of chances to play for a long time.”
Given that two rainy days and one very minor back ailment have limited Heyward to three innings since the completion of Tuesday night’s game against the Phillies, there was certainly reason to believe the 20-year-old right fielder would have been back in the lineup for this afternoon’s contest.
But because Heyward is scheduled to travel to Dunedin tomorrow and to Viera on Monday night, the Braves opted to give him a chance to enjoy this bright sunny day in the Disney area.
If the Braves were still seriously debating whether Heyward was going to be on their Opening Day roster, I think it’s easy to assume he would have played Saturday under the watchful eyes of Bobby Cox, who won’t be making the trip on Sunday to see the split-squad team play in Dunedin.
Cox will instead be with the split-squad team that will send Kenshin Kawakami to the mound to face the Astros in nearby Kissimmee. The ever-versatile Kris Medlen will start Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays in Dunedin.
SATURDAY’S BRAVES LINEUP
NOTES: Derek Lowe completed his bullpen session in pain-free fashion this morning and was happy to report that he “got everybody out.” With the blister on his right toe once again covered by tape, Lowe will likely make his scheduled start on Monday night against the Natoinals…Before today’s game, the Braves will introduce Edward Salcedo, the highly-regarded Dominican shortstop that they signed a few weeks ago…Cox was pleased with what he saw while watching Takashi Saito complete a live batting practice session this morning. Saito has had trouble keeping his fastball down during his first two appearances this year.
As rain continues to pelt the tarp here at Disney, it appears Jair Jurrjens might have to wait until Tuesday to finally pitch against batters who are not wearing a Braves uniform.
But the Pirates made their scheduled departure from Bradenton at 10 a.m. and for now they are still scheduled to play the Braves here at Disney at some point today. According to weather.com, it appears the rain could subside between 2-4 p.m. ET.
Jurrjens’ scheduled debut was rained out last night and if Mother Nature continues to saturate the Disney area this afternoon, he will get his work in by simulating two innings in the indoor batting cages. The Braves will want him to be ready to at least attempt to complete three innings during his scheduled start on Tuesday.
To stay on his schedule, Tommy Hanson, who was scheduled to work four today, would also simulate his workload in the batting cages.
If today’s game is played, the Braves will have Martin Prado bat leadoff and move Nate McLouth down to the two hole. This is just an an example of one of the many ways Bobby Cox could toy with his lineup mix during the exhibition season.
As mentioned before, there’s not much reason to be concerned about the fact that McLouth has recorded just one hit in his first 16 at-bats. Really that simply amounts to a couple of bad games. But the fact that he has struck out six times already certainly intensifies the reason to wonder if the Braves would be better off with somebody out in the leadoff spot.
Derek Lowe seems pretty confident that he will be able to make his start against the Nationals on Monday night. When he took his sock off this morning, it was apparent that the blister on his right big toe wasn’t nearly as ugly as it was when he was forced to leave Wednesday’s game after just one inning.
Chipper Jones will be getting the night off and Melky Cabrera won’t be present to talk to Yankees reporters about how he’s doing now that he’s no longer wearing pinstripes. But Jason Heyward will be in Tampa tomorrow night to do more than simply watch Jair Jurrjens make his Grapefruit League season debut against the defending world champs.
While Jones and Cabrera aren’t scheduled to travel to Tampa, Bobby Cox confirmed that Heyward will be back in the lineup against the Yankees. The 20-year-old outfielder missed Wednesday’s game because the Braves wanted to give him a chance to rest the sore upper back that he encountered after running into the right field wall during Tuesday night’s game.
“He’ll be in there for sure, no problem at all,” Cox said.
Unfortunately the Braves can’t express the same level of confidence when asked about the odds of Derek Lowe making his next scheduled start on Monday night against the Nationals. But they are still optimistic that the blister on his right big toe won’t prove troublesome enough to prevent him from making his Opening Day start against the Cubs on April 5.
“Thank God, it’s not his arm,” Cox said. “You can miss one down here and still be fine. “I just hope that he can start next time. I’m sure he can. I think they can tape it up somehow or put Super Glue on it. I’m just joking. But I’m sure they can put something down there to toughen it up. It’s about the nastiest blister I’ve ever seen. “ <p>
When Lowe removed his sock to show the blister to reporters, he managed to reveal something that was actually uglier than the one-inning stint that he had just completed against the Mets.
Lowe felt the blister in the process of opening the game with a strikeout and then over the course of the next six batters he faced, he surrendered four singles, watched Chris Carter continue his recent home run tear and dodged one line drive that seemed destined to drill his forehead.
“Instead of worry about pitching, I was worrying about how to not drag my back toe,” Lowe said. ” Then I almost took one off the melon there. That would have been real fun. So it was a wasted day.” <p>
Because he only threw 27 pitches against the Mets, Lowe will have to make up for this “wasted day”. But even if he is unable to make his start against the Nats on Monday, he’ll still have an opportunity to make three additional starts, including one that would be scheduled to last five innings.
Still this isn’t exactly what the Braves envisioned when Cox went against tradition and made the early announcement that Lowe will serve as his Opening Day starter. The only other time I remember the veteran manager making this announcement this early was before the start of the 2004 season, when he bestowed the honor upon Russ Ortiz, who responded with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.510 WHIP.
Ortiz’s selection was either based on the 20-win season he had notched the year before or more likely the fact that for the first time since the first George Bush was president he was unable to provide this honor to somebody named Glavine, Smoltz or Maddux.
Nevertheless, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Cox will stay on the safe side of superstition and never again make an early announcement about his Opening Day starter.
Exiting sarcasm mode, Cox had nothing but good things to say about the way Craig Kimbrel looked while recording a pair of strikeouts and issuing a contested walk in a scoreless 10th inning against the Mets.
Cox said that plate umpire Jeff Kellogg admitted he missed a third-strike call that would have prevented Kimbrel from issuing his leadoff walk to Ike Davis. But young fireballer, who has been called “the right-handed Billy Wagner”, seemed unfazed as he responded with consecutive strikeouts and then ended the inning with a harmless pop fly.
Kimbrel’s ability to make his fastball look like it’s rising has Cox raving about his ability to serve as a top-notch closer in the future.
“A scientist will tell you that it’s an illusion, but it does come up a little bit,” Cox said of this fastball that has been clocked in the upper 90s. “It looks like it’s going to be low and it’s not.”
Saito and McLouth prolong struggles: Closer Billy Wagner bounced back from his shaky debut with an easy scoreless inning against the Phillies on Tuesday night. His setup man Takashi Saito’s attempt to experience a similar rebound prove unsuccessful as he was charged with three earned runs during his one-inning appearance against the Mets.
“He was up with everything,” said Cox of his 40-year-old reliever who issued a leadoff walk and later surrendered a two-run double to Carter and an RBI triple to Adams.
Saito didn’t have the opportunity to blame this outing on the discomfort of his contracts. The lenses he was wearing were different than the ones he was wearing on Friday, when he allowed the Pirates two runs in one inning.
Former Pirate Nate McLouth had another rough afternoon and now has just one hit through his first 16 at-bats of the year. It’s still way to early to be alarmed about results down here. But with that being said, you certainly have to hope that the six strikeouts he’s incurred so far don’t signal a trend.
As Jason Heyward went back to the right field wall on Tuesday night to attempt to rob Jayson Werth of the two-run homer that he hit off Kenshin Kawakami, I was half expecting to see the young phenom leap to the top of the wall, make the catch and then perform a dismount that would have made Shaun White proud.
Instead, Heyward proved mortal while running face-first into the wall and watching helplessly as the ball fell into the Braves bullpen. In the process, the 20-year-old right fielder tweaked his upper back and led Bobby Cox to take the precautionary route by giving a chance to rest during this afternoon’s game against the Mets.
“It’s nothing, he could play easily,” Cox said. “I told (our trainer Jeff Porter) that I’m going to make 10,000 people mad today.” <p>
Heyward, who compiled each of his three plate appearances after running into the wall, is expected to be back in the lineup on Thursday night, when the Braves visit the Yankees.
As this camp has progressed, it has been fun to hear writers, players and coaches compare Heyward to a number of different players from yesteryear. Fred McGriff, Darryl Strawberry and Dave Parker have been popular choices.
Cox provided an interesting comparison yesterday when he linked his young outfielder to Larry Walker, who arrived in the Majors with a large athletic frame and the same kind of five-tool talents possessed by the Braves young outfielder.
Thoughts about Halladay: When Matt Diaz arrived this morning, he asked if Roy Halladay had been as impressive on Tuesday night as his line (3 IP, 3H, 0ER, 5 Ks) indicated. My immediate response was “ask Martin Prado”.
Halladay froze Prado with front-door cutters for called third strikes during the first and third innings. It would have been great to see replays of both of these picture-perfect pitches to see just how identical they when they crossed the inside black portion of the plate.
Four of Halladay’s five strikeouts came at the expense of Prado and Nate McLouth, who has struck out five times in the 12 at-bats he has recorded entering this afternoon’s game.
Like it’s too early to begin worrying about McLouth, it’s also far too early for Troy Glaus to be overly excited about the fact that he has singled in each of his past eight at-bats.
“It’s a positive reinforcement,” Glaus said. “But I’ve been doing this long enough that it doesn’t matter right now. I’ve had good springs. I’ve had bad springs. I’ve had in between springs. It doesn’t matter.”
Glaus’ hot streak will be delayed until Thursday. Like Heyward, he has been given the day off.
Lowe is scheduled to pitch three innings today. Takashi Saito, Kris Medlen, Kyle Cofield, Mariano Gomez, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel are scheduled to serve as the relievers.
When I approached Tim Hudson this morning to ask him about the club’s plans to provide him an extra day of rest before his first few starts of the regular season, I was prepared for him to tell me that his arm feels great and that he’s fine with this arrangement.
After providing this confirmation, Huddy asked if the Giants were going to have an offday before he makes his season debut against them in their April 9 home opener. He was trying to figure out whether he’d get a chance to oppose his buddy Barry Zito, who had risen to prominence with him in Oakland.
When I informed him that he’d more likely face Jonathan Sanchez, Huddy said, “Well tell their manager not to get any ideas about holding (Tim) Lincecum back for their home opener.”
Instead it looks like Derek Lowe will draw the short straw and match up against the reigning Cy Young Award winner. So within the season’s first five days Lowe will likely be opposed by Carlos Zambrano and Lincecum.
And then to top things off it appears he won’t pitch during the early season series against the Padres. Hey, but isn’t it great to have the honor of making yet another Opening Day start?
Grapefruit League opener: The Jason Heyward batting practice tales grew stale a few days ago. It’s time to see what the kid can do against live pitching and MLB Network will provide you a chance to watch him make his Grapefruit League season debut against the Mets tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET.
The weather forecast for the Port St. Lucie area isn’t exactly promising. But if the rain holds off, you’ll get a chance to see Tommy Hanson start and likely work two innings before handing the ball to the bullpen, which will consist of Kris Medlen, Jesse Chavez, Mike Dunn, Chris Resop, James Parr and Manny Acosta.
Dunn and Chavez have put themselves in position to battle for the last remaining spots in the bullpen. For now, I’d still have consider Acosta a long shot, who may draw attention from some pitching-needy clubs over the next couple of weeks.
Chipper Jones, Troy Glaus and Matt Diaz are not scheduled to make the trip to Port St. Lucie. They will likely make their GL season debuts when the Braves host the Mets on Wednesday afternoon.
Hudson is scheduled to start Wednesday’s game. The relievers will consist of Peter Moylan, Eric O’Flaherty, Mariano Gomez, Stephen Marek (the remains of the Mark Teixeira trade), Johnny Venters and Jeff Lyman.
Venters seems to be a long shot to begin the season in Atlanta’s bullpen. But the 24-year-old left-hander has caught Bobby Cox’s attention with his sinker.
“He’s got a good chance to do something with that kind of sinker,” Cox said. “He’s got to pitch in the big leagues with that kind of sinker.”
Chipper potential early retirement: I’ll admit that I have never given much thought about the possibility that Chipper Jones would walk away from the game if he struggles again this season. But while talking to him again this morning for the story currently on MLB.com and braves.com, I will admit that there was definite sincerity in his voice and facial expressions.
At the same time there was an excitement about the results he could realize after working with his dad to fix the mechanics of his swing. While watching him last year, I thought he was being victimized by self-induced pressure to supply the club with power.
But it was interesting to hear him say that he feels his bad habits developed over the previous five years while attempting to compensate for a variety of different injuries. As the story mentions, he believes he might need to face live pitching for a few weeks before truly gaining comfort with these refined mechanics.
No interest in Mateo: One of our more knowledgeable bloggers inquired today about the Braves possibly having interest in Wagner Mateo, a 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican whose $3.1 million agreement with the Cardinals was voided last year because he failed a physical.
But a Braves source have since informed me that they do not have any interest in Mateo.
With a vote of confidence, Braves manager Bobby Cox has announced that Derek Lowe will be his Opening Day starter for the second straight season.
Lowe will take the mound when the Braves open the 2010 season against the Cubs on April 5 at Turner Field. Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson are slated to pitch the other two games against the Cubs that week and Tim Hudson is scheduled to make his season debut on April 9 in San Francisco.
Lowe’s eight scoreless innings against the Phillies on Opening Day last year served as one of the highlights of a season that soured for him down the stretch. But he was provided this honor once again from Cox, who views the veteran sinkerballer as a “big-game” pitcher.
As long as his shoulder cooperates, Jurrjens will start the April 7 game against the Cubs. Hanson would start the series finale the next day. This arrangement provides Hudson a chance to pitch with at least one extra day of rest before each of his first three starts in April.
Hudson made seven starts after returning from Tommy John surgery last year and all indications are that he is healthy. But the club wants to take it easy on him early and possibly be in position to monitor the innings completed by Jurrjens and Hanson during the season’s second half.
“We’re trying to keep (Hudson) strong and ready for the stretch
run, so that we can run him out there as often as we can and give Hanson and
Jurrjens a chance to be the guys that get the extra days in the second half,” Cox said.
Lowe would likely return to the mound for the April10 game in San Francisco. Kenshin Kawakami would make his regular season debut the following day during the series finale against the Giants.
Grapefruit League rotation:
Tues @ Mets – Hanson
Wed vs. Mets – Hudson (Moylan and O’Flaherty also scheduled to pitch)
Thurs. vs. Pirates – Kawakami
Fri. vs. Nats – Lowe (Saito and Wagner also scheduled to pitch)
Sat. @Astros — Medlen
Jurrjens will begin throwing off the mound again on Monday and after at least three side sessions, he could slot into the spot currently filled by Medlen.
Jason Heyward has arrived at Spring Training to enhance the growing legend that has built during his Minor League career. But with the presence of Hank Aaron, there truly was a legend present in Braves camp this morning.
While Aaron has flown to Florida with other Braves execs to just spend a couple days around camp, Heyward will be spending the next six weeks attempting to prove he’s ready to begin the season as Atlanta’s starting right fielder.
After making his arrival to Braves camp on Monday morning, Chipper Jones once again expressed that he is confident that the 20-year-old Heyward will be quickly transitioning himself from being one of those invitees with a high jersey numbers to being a big leaguer on Opening Day.
“I’m going to say he’s not (wearing) No. 71 at the end (of Spring Training),” Jones said in reference to Heyward’s current jersey number. “Just a hunch.”
Heyward, who is widely considered the game’s top prospect, has grown to be even more physically imposing than he was last year, when he experienced his first big league camp. Conditioning and maturity have allowed him to blossom into a 6-foot-5, 245 pound muscular figure.
After Derek Lowe said Heyward “looks like an outside linebacker”, Jones said, “He’s Jevon Kearse.”
Whatever the case, Heyward’s success over the next couple of weeks will play a big role on how the Braves look during the early weeks and months of the season. Despite the fact that he has compiled fewer than 200 at-bats above the Class A level, he is viewed as potential difference maker in this lineup.
When the Braves made their half-hearted attempt to pursue Johnny Damon, they recognized he might be able to improve their lineup as a leadoff hitter. But if Heyward proves he’s ready for the Majors, they knew that they probably could utilize the dollars that were earmarked for Damon in a more efficient manner.
If Heyward struggles during the early weeks of camp, the Braves may evaluate possibilities to grab a low-cost outfielder, who could help Matt Diaz and Melky Cabrera in the corner outfield spots. But for now, they are hoping their 20-year-old phenom is with them when the Cubs visit Turner Field for the April 5 Opening Day matinee.
“He’s going to be fine,” Jones said. “He’s got a good head on his shoulders. He knows how to handle it. I doubt that any of us are going to have to say a word. We’re just going to sit back and watch. The kid has a good head on his shoulders. He knows what he has to do. He was here last year and he knew last year that he was going to be in this situation this year. He’s been preparing all year for this moment.”
Troy Glaus also arrived in camp today. There haven’t been any sightings of Yunel Escobar or Martin Prado.
Before the Braves begin their workouts on this sunny Sunday morning in ESPN land, I figured I’d provide you a couple of light-hearted notes that have been gathered during the early days of this camp that is still awaiting the arrivals of Chipper Jones, Troy Glaus, Jason Heyward and a handful of other position players, who aren’t required to report until Monday.
When Derek Lowe called the Braves this winter to express interest in changing his number to 24, he was told the number had already been claimed by Nate McLouth, who was forced to change his to appease Billy Wagner’s request to wear number 13.
“The only reason that I took 24 is because it’s my favorite TV show and Lost isn’t a number,” said McLouth, who wasn’t willing to divulge what kind of compensation was provided by Wagner.
Lowe said he last wore 24 in high school and has since been unable to claim it in the Majors. When he played for the Mariners, some guy named Ken Griffey Jr. was wearing it and he’s unsure of why it was unavailable during his days in Boston. Then when he signed with the Dodgers, he learned the number had been retired for Walter Alston.
Wagner’s redneck football: Wagner is big believer in the benefits a pitcher can gain by throwing a football and he’s spent some time the past couple of days gripping the pigskin while sitting at his locker.
“It strengthens the arm, but also helps your grip,” Wagner said. “You’ve got to have strong fingers to throw a football correctly.”
While sitting at his locker this morning, Wagner tossed the football across the room to Takashi Saito and quickly learned that the Japanese hurler certainly hasn’t had much previous experience throwing one.
After Saito’s ugly unorthodox throwing motion produced a few wobblers acrosss the room, Wagner said, “He’s going to teach me Japanese and I’m going to teach him redneck football.”
Bye-bye Yankees paraphernalia: When hard-throwing left-handed reliever Mike Dunn learned that he had been traded to the Braves that sent Javier Vazquez to the Yankees, he gained the sense that he’d been provided a better opportunity to reach the Majors.
“I’m excited to come here and play,” Dunn said. “It’s a good chance for me. I’m not saying anything bad about the Yankees. They took care of me and I love them, but I think I have a better opportunity outside of the Yankees organization.”
As for Dunn’s family members, who pull for a range of teams located in the western portion of the country, they welcomed the opportunity to end their days of pulling for the Yankees.
“I tell you the family was pretty happy to get rid of the Yankees stuff,” Dunn said. “No matter what team I’m on, they’re going to cheer for them and that’s going to be their new team. But they were pretty happy to get rid of their Yankees stuff and drop the YES Network immediately.”
Wagner, who grew up within a family and rural Virginia community that includes plenty of Braves fans, also seemed to draw a positive reaction from friends and family members when he opted to sign with Atlanta in December.
“It’s funny because now everybody back home says, ‘now I can truly root for you,’” Wagner said.
Had Nate McLouth known how miserable his beloved Michigan Wolverines
were going to make him feel, he might have chosen to wait until the end
of the football season before correcting his vision with contact lenses.
now that he’s had about four months to get used to his contacts,
McLouth has arrived in Braves camp happy about the fact that he’s going
to be able to see better than he did towards the end of the 2009
season, when he started having trouble with his vision, particularly
during night games.
“During the day, it was OK,” McLouth
said. “But at night, when there’s a lot of lights, things kind of
blurred together. Now with the contacts, it has been great.”
Braves pitchers and catchers reported to camp on Friday morning,
McLouth and Matt Diaz highlighted the group of position players who had
reported to camp early.
Japanese hurlers Kenshin Kawakami and
Takashi Saito arrived at the newly named ESPN Wide World of Sports
comlex early Friday morning and immediately exchanged pleasantries with
the likes of Tim Hudson and Peter Moylan, a pair of fun-loving hurlers
who know how to create some laughs around the clubhouse.
indications are that they’ll be having some fun with their new closer
Billy Wagner, who came to camp this morning wearing a flannel shirt,
jeans, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat.
Craig Kimbrel, the
hard-throwingreliever who has been called the right-handed Billy
Wagner, shied away from his first opportunity to meet the veteran
closer. He’ll likely have the same kind of timid reaction when he first
sees Chipper Jones, whose number he wore while growing up as a third
baseman in Alabama.
“Right now I’m just trying to get past
seeing guys that I’ve watched when I was younger,” Kimbrel said. “I’m
trying not to let that get to me. I’m trying to focus on getting the
job done and remembering that it’s just a game.”
adjusts to this new Major League lifestyle, Wagner has already taken
advantage of the opportunity to get used to his new catcher Brian
After they completed a short throwing session
together, Wagner took McCann to the plate and started talking to him
about how he likes to throw to certain hitters, based on where they are
standing in the batter’s box.
The always-jovial Wagner also
took time to provide some laughs when talking to reporters. When asked
if he bought into thoughts of doing whatever it took to make sure Bobby
Cox’s final season is a special one, the veteran reliever provided the
reminder that he’s the one who has never had the opportunity to play in
the Fall Classic.
“Heck I haven’t been to the World Series
ever,” Wagner said with his southern drawl. “How about going out there
and putting out a little effort for me. (Peter Moylan) can go out
there and go like an inning and two-thirds and give me a
third-of-an-inning save every once in a while. I mean Chipper and all
these guys, Bobby, they’ve gone to the World Series a couple of times.
I’ve never been. How about one for Wags?”
remains confident that his arm is strong, is looking forward to the
opportunity to spend some more time with Saito, who was with him in
Boston’s bullpen for the final weeks of the 2009 season.
asked how they had developed such a bond, Wagner once again stirred
some laughs while pointing out that Saito had a firm grasp of the
“He speaks English,” Wagner said. “Like I
told him, it’s like everybody else. When you’ve got a second language,
you only can’t speak English when you’ve had a tough game…It’s
something where sometimes wish I had a second language.”
former Red Sox pitcher, Derek Lowe chose not to come to the stadium on
Friday. But pitchers and catchers were only required to report at some
point during the day that they have arrived.
The Braves expect Lowe in camp on Saturday, when pitchers and catchers stage their first workout.
MLB.com and braves.com later today for stories that include more
information about Wagner, McLouth and some of the other figures who
have reported to camp.