Results tagged ‘ Garret Anderson ’

Can I still claim Dale Murphy as my favorite player?

When we were about eight-years-old, my best friend, Steve Myers, adopted Dale Murphy as his favorite player. Ignoring the globalized options provided by TBS, I stayed within the region and tabbed Pirates catcher Tony Pena.

More than 25 years later, it’s still obvious that I ended up on the short-end of this selection process.  While Pena taught us bad technique to utilize behind the plate, Murphy has spent his entire life proving to be a great example on and off the field.  

Murphy arrived in camp this morning and he’ll stay with the Braves over the course of the next week to essentially serve as an ambassador/special instructor.  The 53-year-old, two-time National League Most Valuable Player remains one of the kindest and most considerate individuals ever to be associated with baseball. 

I spent some time talking to Murphy and Bobby Dews about the days they spent together in the Minors.  I’ll provide more information in a story that I’m writing later this afternoon.  But to provide a teaser, I’ll let you know that it will include details about a day when Dews attempted to kick dirt toward an umpire and ended up breaking his foot. 

Transitioning from one of the most beloved outfielders in Atlanta history to the newest one, you’ll be glad to hear that Garret Anderson plans to resume running exercises on Friday.  The 36-year-old left fielder has been sidelined since March 6 with a strained right calf.  It still looks like he could return to action some time next week.

Jair Jurrjens and Mike Gonzalez are both scheduled to pitch today against the WBC-less Mets, whose lineup is headlined by Marlon Anderson, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church.  While not providing any predictions about the game, I’ll guarantee you that Church will be getting down if he’s sliding into second base with Yunel Escobar attempting to turn a double play. 

Both teams will be wearing green hats today.  And with that, I’ll say Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Today’s Lineup
Yunel Escobar SS
Kelly Johnson 2B
Matt Diaz LF
Casey Kotchman 1B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Omar Infante 3B
David Ross C
Josh Anderson CF
Jair Jurrjens P 

Did you really want Peavy?

Instead of bashing Jake Peavy when he comes to Turner Field this year, Braves fans might want to thank him for the fact that he had no desire to pitch in Atlanta. 

While watching Puerto Rico’s 11-1 win over the U.S. Dolphin Stadium last night, I started to draw comparisons between Peavy and Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington.  But I eventually concluded that  Pennington hadn’t got hit nearly as hard by Ray Lewis and the rest of the Ravens defense during this year’s playoffs. 

Had the Braves acquired Peavy via trade, they would have paid him at least $63 million over the next four seasons.   When you’re dishing out that kind of coin, you’d at least like to have some confidence that he’ll be answer the bell when you need him in big games.

While the sample size is small it’s still somewhat alarming to know that Peavy is 0-3 with a 9.53 ERA (22 2/3 innings, 24 earned runs)  in the six combined career starts he’s made during the postseason and the World Baseball Classic.

Instead of Peavy, the Braves ended up with Derek Lowe, who is 6-5 with a 3.33 ERA in 21 career postseason appearances (10 starts).   Over the course of eight days in 2004, Lowe won a Game 7 start at Yankee Stadium and tossed seven scorless innings to allow the Red Sox to clinch their first World Series in 86 years. 

When Lowe takes the mound at Disney this afternoon, he’s not going to be feeding off his “big-game” adrenaline.  But the Astros, who are 1-13-1, might look at this afternoon’s game a little different.  Frustrated by his team’s struggles, manager Cecil Cooper required every position player make the short trip across Osceola Parkway. 

After Lowe exits today’s game, Peter Moylan will continue his Sunday afternoon tradition of making a Grapefruit League appearance.   His only two previous appearances this year have occurred on Sundays. 

Before this development, the only thing linking the tatooed Australian to the NFL was the fact that his arms are as decorative as Kyle Turley’s.  

You probably best remember Turley as the Saints offensive lineup who imitated Moylan’s sidearm delivery while tossing a Jets helmet across the field during a nationally-televised game.

While pitching against the Phillies last week, Moylan looked tremendous and gave more reason to believe he might indeed be ready by Opening Day.  But the Braves will remain cautious with the right-handed reliever, who is just a little more than 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery. 

Rafael Soriano is also scheduled to make his second Grapefruit League appearance this afternoon. 

Other than finding out where Dayton will be bracketed in the NCAA tournament, I’d have to say the appearances made by Moylan and Soriano will be the most important developments of the day.

The Braves are expected to announce their next round of cuts later today or on Monday.  James Parr, who impressed with four strikeouts in 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Marlins on Friday, has already been informed that he’s heading to Minor League camp.

“I did everything that I could do,” said a distraught Parr, who allowed one run in 7 1/3 Grapefruit League innings. 

With a little more than two weeks left before the start of the regular season, the Braves may attempt to take advantage of their pitching depth via trade.  While he might not net a return greater than a mid-level Minor League prospect, Buddy Carlyle has been receiving some attention from clubs looking to improve their bullpen. 

Anderson update:  Garret Anderson hasn’t started running yet.  But the veteran outfielder, who has been sidelined since March 6, continues to be encouraged about the improvement of his strained right calf.   It’s starting to look like he could be available for the final two weeks of the exhibition season.

Today’s lineup:
Jordan Schafer CF
Yunel Escobar SS
Kelly Johnson 2B
Matt Diaz LF
Jeff Francoeur RF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Martin Pradro 3B
David Ross C
Derek Lowe P   

Just another odd southpaw

When I entered  the clubhouse this morning, I saw Boone Logan’s left hand adorned with gauze. Naturally, I responded with, “Have you been playing with Blaine Boyer’s apple slicer.”

Logan said that he regularly places gauze on his hand in the morning. After imitating Rafael Soriano with a stone-faced reaction, I later saw the big left-handed reliever on the field without any gauze, tape or padding on his hand.  With this I further concluded that southpaws are simply a different species.

Speaking of left-handers, Garret Anderson was moving around the clubhouse with relative ease this morning and he said his strained right calf has progressively improved over the past few days.  After seeing him lift his leg and bend over to pick up his keys with relative ease, I think we can project that he’ll likely be in the Opening Day lineup.

Fortunately for Anderson, he hasn’t felt the urge to start jumping around like Jair Jurrjens did after the Netherlands defeated the Dominican Republic again on Tuesday night. 

“I’m surprised that nobody called the cops on me,” said Jurrjens, who opted not to pitch for the Netherlands during the first round of the WBC. 

Jurrjens wanted to pitch in the second round this weekend.  But in order to do so, he would have had to replace a injured pitcher from the current roster.  When he never received word that this opportunity had arisen, the 23-year-old right-hander prepared for this afternoon’s start against the Nationals.

If the Netherlands continues their miracle run, Jurrjens might join the team for the semi-final round.  But as great as this story has been, I think we can all assume that it’s nearing its end.

Remember Dennis Neuman, the Pedro Martinez-clone, that I was heralding after watching him pitch a scoreless inning for the Netherlands against the D.R. on Saturday?  Well he’s obviously also subject to the jinx factor of this blog. 

But after issuing two walks in Monday’s loss to Puerto Rico, the 19-year-old Red Sox farmhand came back Tuesday and tossed 1 2/3 innings scoreless innings against the D.R.

“He’s going to be good,” said Jurrjens, who worked out with Neuman in their native Curacao this winter.  “He has heart and he knows what he wants.”

Now that I’ve exhausted my charitable Dennis Neuman public relations campaign, it’s time to return to Braves info.  Jordan Schafer opened some eyes when he returned yesterday and the highly-regarded outfield propsect is back in today’s lineup to serve as the right fielder. 

Matt Diaz and Jeff Francoeur were permitted to go home after this morning’s workout.  Both are scheduled to travel to Jupiter for this weekend’s two-game series against the Cardinals and Marlins. 

As for me, I’m not making the southbound trek down the Florida Turnpike.  But I’ll likely post at least one blog entry on Friday or Saturday.  Tommy Hanson is scheduled to start tomorrow’s game against the Marlins and Kenshin Kawakami will go against the Cardinals on Saturday.

After Jurrjens exits today’s game, we’ll place our focus on Mike Gonzalez and Kris Medlen, who are both scheduled to pitch.

Today’s Lineup:
Josh Anderson CF
Jordan Schafer RF
Yunel Escobar SS
Casey Kotchman 1B
Omar Infante 2B
Martin Prado 3B
Brandon Jones LF
David Ross C
Jurrjens P
  

Reyes looking to extend pitching dominance

As you know, it’s not wise to put much stock in Spring Training statistics.  But it’s hard to ignore what the Braves pitchers have been doing over the past week.  

During the five games that preceded this afternoon’s contest against the Phillies, Braves starters had worked 19 2/3 innings, surrendered eight hits, allowed two earned runs, recorded 18 strikeouts and issued six walks.  Before you grab your calculator, that equates to a 0.92 ERA.  

The 2.83 ERA the Braves pitching staff has compiled during Grapefruit League play is almost one run better than any other National League team.  In addition, Roger McDowell’s pitchers still haven’t surrendered a homer. (Now that Rother has declared that I’ve placed a jinx on Jo-Jo Reyes this afternoon, I’ll point out that every other NL team has surrendered at least six homers during this exhibition season.) 

It will be nearly impossible for Reyes to duplicate the dominant performance Derek Lowe produced while not allowing the Astros to hit the ball out of the infield yesterday.  But if the young left-hander continues to pitch like he has during his three previous Grapefruit League appearances, the Braves will have even more reason to believe he’s turned the corner.  

Reyes, who went 0-7 with a 7.81 ERA in his final 13 appearances (12 starts) last year, has surrendered one run in nine GL innings.  During his past two outings, he has worked seven scoreless innings, surrendered two hits and issued three walks.  

Realizing that there likely won’t be an available rotation spot for him in Atlanta to start the year, Reyes has had reason to seem more relaxed than he was last year, when he often panicked when he encountered potentially-damaging situations.  

If he continues to pitch effectively, Reyes could certainly prove to be a benefit in Atlanta this year.  The Braves want Tommy Hanson to continue his maturation process in the Minors during the early portion of this season.  If another starter is needed before Hanson is deemed ready, Reyes or Jorge Campillo would be the most likely candidates to move into Bobby Cox’s rotation.

Schafer returns:  Jordan Schafer, who has been sidelined since Feb. 28 with a sprained left shoulder, is back in the lineup today.  Both Cox and general manger Frank Wren said there is still plenty of time for Schafer to make the center field battle interesting.   But it still appears Josh Anderson is clearly the favorite in that battle.

Anderson update:  The Braves still aren’t sure when Garret Anderson might be able to return.  But once again, Cox said he’s hopeful that the veteran outfielder will be in his Opening Day lineup.  

STARTING LINEUP:

Yunel Escobar SS
Jordan Schafer CF
Kelly Johnson 2B
Greg Norton 1B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Matt Diaz LF
Diory Hernandez 3B
Clint Sammons C
Reyes P

Saying hello to old news

I would have started writing this blog sooner if I hadn’t waited 20 minutes for Mike Hampton, only to have the Astros announce that their clubhouse was closed.

Hey when you spent three years waiting for a guy to pitch, I guess you can wait 20 minutes for him to greet you with, “What do you want from me?  I’m old news.”

Speaking of old news, today the Braves released right-handed pitcher Anthony Lerew, who last week had accepted an assignment to Triple-A Gwinnett.  They also re-assigned Emiliano Fruto, Juan Perez and Rafael Cruz to Minor League camp.

Today’s news actually centers around Rafael Soriano, who is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League season debut  against the Astros.  The right-handed reliever reported to camp with an upper respiratory infection and fell behind schedule.  But all indications are that his right elbow is sound and in about an hour we’ll get a chance to make our own evaluations. 

Soriano missed most of last year with elbow soreness that was relieved in August during a surgical procedure that transposed the ulnar nerve of his elbow.  I’ve never transposed and I’m certainly not sure if I even have an ulnar nerve in my elbows.

So I’ll take Soriano’s word that he was dealing with tremendous pain while spending most of the 2008 season on the disabled list.  As he prepares to make $6.1 million in the final year of his contract this year, I’ll also guarantee that we’ll be seeing a lot more of the stone-faced reliever this year.

Derek Lowe will make his third appearance of the GL season today.  Soriano, Blaine Boyer, Boone Logan and Eric O’Flaherty are scheduled to work in relief.

Anderson update:  While the Braves aren’t too concerned about Chipper Jones’ oblique, they are currently a little bit worried about Garret Anderson’s strained right calf.   Bobby Cox said this morning that Anderson might miss anywhere from two weeks to a month.  But at the same time, he indicated that remains hopeful that the veteran outfielder will be in the Opening Day lineup.

Today’s Lineup:
Josh Anderson CF
Matt Diaz LF
Kelly Johnson 2B
Casey Kotchman 1B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Omar Infante SS
Martin Prado 2B
David Ross C
Derek Lowe P 

Glavine encouraged after live BP session

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. .

Today’s lineup:

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 

Francoeur set to face Yankees and Tiger

With the sun shining above and the Yankees in town, we have a near-perfect setting for Jeff Francoeur to begin what many would consider a near-perfect athletic experience. 

After collecting a few at-bats against the WBC-depleted Yankees, Francoeur will grab his clubs to join Tiger Woods and John Smoltz for a round of golf this afternoon.  With the Red Sox having the day off, Smoltz has driven to the Orlando area to enjoy this annual round with two of his closest friends.

When Kenshin Kawakami takes the mound against the Yanks today, he won’t have to deal with the likes of A-Rod, Jeter and Posada, who are all eithter preparing for the WBC or visiting a hip specialist. Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady are the only regulars in the lineup for the Bronx Bombers, who will utilize Juan Miranda as their cleanup hitter. 

Glavine arrives:  Tom Glavine arrived in Braves camp this morning and revealed that he’s aiming to make his first appearance in a game late next week.  The 300-game winner has recently experienced some cranky discomfort with his shoulder.  But he says the discomfort isn’t anything different than what he’s often had to deal with during Spring Training. 

“I’ve had a little bit of crankiness now that I’ve thrown batting practice and thrown a little harder.  There ‘s a little soreness with my shoulder. But I’m not surprised. I knew it was going to happen sooner or later.  It’s happened every year for the last 15 years.  But it’s more manageable and that’s what we were kind of hoping for.” 

Glavine, who hasn’t had any problems with his surgically-repaired left elbow, doesn’t seem to concerned.  He said the shoulder discomfort he’s feeling this year doesn’t compare to the discomfort he was feeling at this time last year. 

The fact that Glavine is scheduled to make just two starts in April (18th and 29th) could prove to be beneficial.  After pitching in the frigid temperatures at Coors Field in early April last year, he started to experience increased discomfort in his elbow and shoulder.

Impressed by Hanson:  Braves announcer Don Sutton was certainly impressed after getting the chance to watch Tommy Hanson face Panama yesterday.  The Hall of Fame hurler was most intrigued by the 22-year-old  top prospect’s advanced maturity.

“When you look at a talent like him, after you talk to him for five minutes, you can throw his birth certificate out the window,” Sutton said. “He has the four pitches.  He’s a quick learner, makes great adjustments.  I just wish for him good health.  I think he has a chance to be a superstar.

Thursday vs. Venezuela:  Garret Anderson is expected to make his Braves debut when Derek Lowe takes the mound to face Gregor Blanco and Venezuela’s WBC team at Disney tomorrow afternoon.  First pitch is set for 2:05 p.m. ET.  

Today’s Lineup:
Josh Anderson CF
Yunel Escobar SS
Kelly Johnson 2B
Casey Kotchman 1B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Jason Heyward LF
Omar Infante 3B
David Ross C
Kenshin Kawakami P

 

 
 

Hanson ready to face Panama

During his 1985 rookie season, Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell learned that you had to have thick skin and a good personality to co-exist with the personalities possessed by the likes of Keith Hernandez, Wally Backman, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and Howard Johnson.

That was the year that Gooden went 24-4 and the Mets finished three games behind the Cardinals in the National League East race.

As McDowell remembers, at the conclusion of that season, Hernandez hollered at Gooden and said, “Hey Doc, if you hadn’t lost those four games we would have won the division.”

Gooden’s name came up this morning, because I wanted to get a sense about whether you can get an early feel about whether a top prospect is going to truly be special.  In another words, I was chasing another Tommy Hanson angle.

Nobody is saying that Hanson will duplicate the early dominance of Gooden, who went 58-19 with a 2.28 ERA and 744 strikeouts in the  744 2/3 innings he completed during his first three big league seasons.
 
But the more you hear about Hanson, the more you want to see and hear more about him.

“I just want to buy stock in Tommy Hanson,” said 300-game winner Don Sutton, who arrived in Braves camp on Tuesday morning to prepare for the games he’ll broadcast with his new radio parter, Jim Powell, this weekend.

Sutton, who has rejoined the Braves broadcast team after spending the past two years with the Nationals, will get a chance to watch Hanson pitch against Panama this afternoon.  Maybe this time around, Carlos Lee will actually recognize that this isn’t just some run-of-the-mill prospect.  

After being frozen by a couple of breaking balls that Hanson threw in his Grapefruit League debut last week, the Astros left fielder acted like he was unimpressed by essentially limiting his comments to, “He throws hard.”

Based on the fact that Lee had just looked at a called third-strike slider, maybe he didn’t actually get a good look at the right-hander, who certainly has more than simply a fastball that has registered 99 mph.

Hanson made another good impression on the Braves coaching staff yesterday, when he showed up to throw and work out before the inter-squad game. His decision to come to the park on an off-day further proved his early fame hasn’t led to him gaining an early sense of entitlement.

Acosta set to face his country:  Manny Acosta decided last week that he won’t participate in the World Baseball Classic.  So instead of pitching for Panama on Tuesday, the right-handed reliever will be pitching against his native country’s team.  He is scheduled to throw one inning.

Walking wounded:  Jordan Schafer (shoulder), Josh Anderson (tailbone), Casey Kotchman (finger and quad) and Freddie Freeman (quad) are all nursing minor injuries that might keep them out of the lineup for another day or two.  But each of them participated in Tuesday morning’s workout. 

Prepared to play: Garret Anderson thinks he might be ready to make his Braves debut on Thursday against Venezuela.  The veteran outfielder, who signed with the Braves last week, has told Bobby Cox that he needs approximately 30 at-bats to be ready for the regular season.

Odds and ends:  Tom Glavine is expected to arrive in Braves camp on Wednesday…Peter Moylan said that he hasn’t felt any discomfort since throwing an inning against the Phillies on Sunday.  It was his first appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery on May 8.

Today’s Lineup:
Yunel Escobar SS
Omar Infante CF
Kelly Johnson 2B
Greg Norton 1B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Matt Diaz LF
Brandon Jones DH
Dave Ross C
Martin Prado 2B

- Mark Bowman  

  

Thoughts from Lakeland

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.

  

This Time It Counts

I’m not sure if I should have checked with the MLB licensing execs before using that headline.  But given what has transpired with the Braves over the course of this offseason, I didn’t see any need to wait until the All-Star Game to use it.

Before you ask whether one of Paul Kinzer’s term sheet requests or premature speculation is going to prolong the soap opera that was Frank Wren’s offseason, I figured I’d let you know Garret Anderson really has signed and no, he didn’t use invisible ink. 

Having been left at the alter on more than one occasion this offseason, the Braves were very guarded about the comments they made before Anderson underwent his physical on Tuesday and officially said, “I do.”

It’s quite obvious that many of the Braves are ecstatic about the fact that Ken Griffey Jr. opened the door that allowed Anderson to come to Atlanta.  Instead of worrying about the uncertainties Griffey would have brought while serving in a platoon, they now find themselves looking forward to the consistencies that Anderson will provide while playing left field on a regular basis. 

“It’s a tremendous pickup, great, great pickup,” Braves manager
Bobby Cox said. “This guy can practically play every day.”  <p>  

These aren’t exactly the words you’d want to hear if you’re Matt Diaz, who now finds himself as a backup who will see occasional time in left field.  But Chipper Jones is among those whose seems happy to know Anderson will be resting with him somewhere in the middle of the lineup.

“He’ll make a difference, ” Jones said. “We’re a little left-handed for my taste.  But Garret is going to help this team win ballgames and that’s all I care about.” 

The projected Braves lineup consists of two right-handed hitters: Jeff Francoeur and Yunel Escobar; and one switch hitter in Jones.  But manager Bobby Cox doesn’t seem too worried about the fact that his lineup will regularly consist of five left-handed hitters   — Anderson, Josh Anderson, Casey Kotchman, Brian McCann and Kelly Johnson. 

“Garret, Johnson, Mac and Kotchman have all hit left-handers in the past,” Cox said. “It really doesn’t matter how it shapes up.”

<b> Morton update:  </b>  Charlie Morton strained a muscle on his left side on Tuesday and it will be at least another week until he’s able to resume throwing. 

<b> Going to Lakeland </b>  Chipper Jones and Garret Anderson (presumably) will be the only projected starters not making the trip to Lakeland for Wednesday’s Grapefruit League opener.  Jair Jurrjens, Jo-Jo Reyes, Manny Acosta, Stephen Marek and  Eric O’Flaherty are all scheduled to pitch.

Late blogotorial addition: (Sorry we didn’t have this information for the early edition)

<b> Minor freak injury:  </b>  As I mentioned earlier in a comment, Blaine Boyer sent me a text to tell me the cut he suffered on his right index finger came courtesy of an apple slicer.  Unfortunately for the right-hander, he had no intention to even make contact with that utensil.  He was simply reaching for a can opener. 

Boyer said the small laceration had no effect on him during his Tuesday morning bullpen session.  But he won’t make his scheduled appearance against the Tigers on  Wednesday.

- Mark Bowman

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