Results tagged ‘ Jair Jurrjens ’

Mother Nature provides Jurrjens a chance to pitch

(UPDATED WITH HANSON INFO)

Mother Nature cooperated long enough for Jair Jurrjens to complete his two scheduled innings in scoreless fashion.  But a second-inning rain delay forced Tommy Hanson to simulate his four-inning appearance in the covered batting cages here at Disney.

This morning it didn’t look like the Braves would have a chance to send Jurrjens to the mound to make his Grapefruit League debut against the Pirates.  But the rain that has pelted this area over the past two days subsided just long enough for the 24-year-old right-hander to complete his work in impressive fashion.

Having already gotten himself warm by the time play was halted with one out in the bottom of the second inning, Hanson went sent to the batting cages to complete this work that keeps him on his regular schedule.   He’ll attempt to complete at least four innings again on Wednesday, when he returns to the mound to face the Marlins in Jupiter.

Jurrjens opened his outing by getting Andrew McCutchen to look at three consecutive strikes and exited it having allowed just one hit  — Ryan Doumit’s second-inning leadoff single. 

The game was halted during the bottom half of the second inning after Yunel Escobar drilled that struck Ross Ohlendorf on the back his right leg, just above the knee.

During the bottom of the first, Martin Prado provided a leadoff single and advanced to third base when Nate McLouth’s well-placed bunt single drew a wayward throw from Ohlendorf.  But  Prado got caught in a rundown after Chipper Jones directed a grounder to first base and McLouth got picked off attempting to steal third base.    

BRAVES LINEUP
Martin Prado 4
Nate McLouth 8
Chipper Jones 5
Troy Glaus 3
Brian McCann 2
Yunel Esbobar 6
Jason Heyward 9
Matt Diaz 7
Jair Jurrjens 1

Notes:  Bobby Cox said that Scott Proctor will pitch in his first game around March 19.  The right-handed reliever has impressed with the arm strength he has shown while attempting to return from Tommy John surgery…Tom Glavine will arrive in camp early next week and handle the broadcasting duties for Tuesday’s game against the Marlins.

Watching it rain

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. 

    

 

It sure looks like an Opening Day lineup

When a couple of national scribes look at tonight’s Braves lineup, they essentially said something that amounted to “tonight’s game must be televised because that certainly looks like an Opening Day lineup.” 

With Chipper Jones back in the mix to face Roy Halladay and the Phillies tonight, Braves manager Bobby Cox has indeed assembled a lineup that could very easily be identical to the one he constructs before the April 5 Opening Day contest against the Cubs. 

And yes, you will get a chance to see Jason Heyward and Co. on television tonight.  The game will be carried on CSS, MLB Network and online by  MLB.TV.

When asked if tonight’s lineup was an Opening Day lineup, Cox laughed and said, “We might not be able to keep Heyward down that low in the lineup if he keeps hitting like he has been.”

TONIGHT’S LINEUP
Nate McLouth 8
Martin Prado 4
Chipper Jones 5
Troy Glaus 3
Brian McCann 2
Yunel Escobar 6
Jason Heyward 9
Melky Cabrera 7
Kenshin Kawakami 1

Schafer and Jurrjens updates: The most important health-related news of the day might have been the fact that Jair Jurrjens completed another pain-free live batting practice session and is now ready to start against the Yankees on Thursday night in Tampa.

But given that was expected, the most important health-related development seemingly came courtesy of Jordan Schafer, who took batting practice in the indoor cages this afternoon and returned to the dugout with a smile on his face. 

“That’s the best that I’ve felt in 10 months,” said Schafer, who injured his left hand on during the fourth game of last year’s season and then dealt with frustration and discomfort until the ailment was surgically repaired in September. 

Because he was in a cast for an extended period following the surgery, Schafer found himself feeling weak while attempting to swing the bat during the early days of camp.  But it now appears there’s at least a chance he’ll be ready to begin the season with Triple-A Gwinnett.

Tonight’s pitchers:  Kenshin Kawakami is scheduled to pitch three innings and Billy Wagner will attempt to rebound from Friday’s shaky season debut. There will also be reason to keep an eye on Jesse Chavez, the right-handed reliever who has struggled during his first two appearances of the year. 

 

 

Conrad and Thurston could stage a tight battle

If the battle to earn the last roster spot for a position play ends the way it has started, Brooks Conrad and Joe Thurston are going to force the Braves to make a tough decision. 

Conrad has been displaying some power  (two doubles and a homer) while hitting .462 (6-for-13) during his first six games of the Grapefruit League season.  Thurston’s .500 batting average has come courtesy of the four singles he has recorded in his eight at-bats. 

“Conrad has been playing great and Thurston, the same thing,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

From a defensive standpoint, Thurston and Conrad possess similar skills.  Both have seen most of their playing time at second and third base and also shown the ability to play the outfield if necessary.

The starting lineup for Monday afternoon’s game against the Tigers had Conrad at second base and Thurston positioned at third base.

NOTES:

Javy Lopez has arrived in camp this week to serve as a special assistant, which basically means he’s in town to have some fun, soak up the atmosphere and catch up with some old friends from the organization. 

Lopez made the trip to Lakeland this afternoon and immediately started talking to Miguel Cabrera about using some of the bats his company, Bones, manufactures.  The former Braves catcher also wants Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman to test some of his bats. 

Chipper Jones wants to get an early look at Roy Halladay during tomorrow night’s game against the Phillies.  The Braves third baseman was hurt when Halladay faced the Braves last year and he has just two career regular season at-bats (with both coming in 1999) against the former American League Cy Young Award winner.

But Cox indicated that he may opt to show some precaution with Jones, who has been sidelined since jamming his right thumb on Friday.   

“We’ll see,” Cox said. “You know jams don’t go away that quickly.” 

There might be another change in the schedule for Jair Jurrjens.  Cox now says the 24-year-old right-hander will throw his second round of live batting practice tomorrow.   This was the projected schedule until Sunday, when the Braves revealed he would wait until Wednesday to throw again.

Check back after the game to get clarification about Jurrjens’ schedule.

BRAVES LINEUP for Monday’s game
Infante 6
Cabrera 8
Heyward 9
Glaus 3
Hinske DH
Diaz 7
Ross 2
Conrad 4
Thurston 5
 

 

Jurrjens throws while Chipper and Heyward sit

MLB.com’s Peter Gammons arrived in Braves camp today just in time for Jason Heyward’s first day off since the Grapefruit League season began. 

Braves manager Bobby Cox said he selfishly wanted to put Heyward in the lineup for the sixth straight day, but was persuaded by his bench coach Chino Cadahia a day to rest.

Chipper Jones will also miss this afternoon’s game against the Astros because of a jammed right thumb that he incurred when he got jammed with a pitch on Friday.  Not wanting to aggravate this ailment that he has occasionally battled in the past, Jones plans to rest at least one more day before possibly returning to the lineup on Tuesday night against Roy Halladay and the Phillies.

Jair Jurrjens’ 24-pitch live batting practice session was completed in a pain-free manner this morning and the 24-year-old right-hander will likely repeat this exercise on Wednesday.  It now appears that his first Grapefruit League start could come Saturday against the Blue Jays.

Scott Proctor also impressed Braves manager Bobby Cox with the live batting practice session he completed this morning.

“He’s really firing the ball,” Cox said of the right-handed reliever, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery.

Proctor could begin pitching in games within the next week to 10 days.  Once he does, the Braves will gain a better sense about when he could be added to their outfield mix.  While possible, Opening Day still seems to be a rather optimistic projection.     

BRAVES LINEUP vs. Astros

Nate McLouth 8
Martin Prado 4
Melky Cabrera 9
Troy Glaus 3
Brian McCann 2
Yunel Escobar 6
Matt Diaz 7
Brooks Conrad 5
Tommy Hanson 1

Braves to face Halladay Tuesday night

This upcoming week should be an interesting one for the Braves, who are scheduled to meet the Phillies and Yankees in a span of three days. 

Tuesday night’s matchup against the Phillies at Disney will give the Braves to get their first look at Roy Halladay in a Philadelphia uniform.  Halladay, who replaced fellow former Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee in the Phillies rotation, will be opposed by Kenshin Kawakami.

As you likely remember Kawakami began showing his “big-game” capabilities when he tossed eight scoreless innings and led the Braves to a 1-0 win over Halladay and the Blue Jays last year.

It seems safe to assume this will be the first of many matchups against Halladay, who has made just this one regular season start against the Braves in his career. 

Thursday night’s game against the Yankees in Tampa will pit the Braves against another former Blue Jay.  But the storyline following the matchup against A.J. Burnett will certainly be trumped by Jair Jurrjens, who could make his Grapefruit League season debut that evening.

The Braves have not announced that Jurrjens will start.  But if his live batting practice sessions go well on Sunday and Tuesday, there’s a good chance that he’ll be making his exhibition season debut against the defending world champions. 

Filling Jurrjens’ rotation spot, Kris Medlen will start this afternoon’s game against the Astros. Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Troy Glaus didn’t make this cross-town trip to Kissimmee.  But Jason Heyward is once again in the lineup, batting third. 

Don Sutton and Jim Powell will be broadcasting today’s game which can be heard on MLB.com by clicking here.  If you’re in your car in Atlanta, turn the dial to 680 The Fan.    

Braves Lineup
McLouth 8
Prado 4
Heyward 9
Hinske 3
Escobar 6
Diaz 7
Infante 5
Ross 2
Mitch Jones DH

Freeman can only laugh about his long single

As he sat at his locker after Friday’s 11-8 win over the Nationals, Freddie Freeman could laugh about a baserunning mistake that would have drawn widespread attention had it occurred amid a much more competitive setting. 

After appearing to hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning, Freeman was ruled out because he passed Joe Thurston, who who was preparing to tag up in case the ball did not clear the right field wall.

By the time the ball landed in the Braves bullpen, Freeman had passed Thurston and been ruled out.  Instead of being awarded a three-run shot, the 20-year-old first baseman was left with a two-run single. 

“Thurston was tagging and he didn’t have much room,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He went by him.  That should never happen, but it happens.”

Freeman simply said, “I can laugh about it because this is Spring Training.” 

Jurrjens update: Cox said Jurrjens will begin throwing live batting practice on Sunday.  It appears Jurrjens could make his Grapefruit League season debut on Thursday against the Yankees in Tampa.

Filling Jurrjens’ spot, Kris Medlen will start against the Astros tomorrow afternoon in Kissimmee.   

Bullpen watch:  Relievers are bound to have at least one bad outing during Spring Training.  But it’s safe to say Jesse Chavez didn’t want to have two in a span of his four days of playing games with the Braves. 

Chavez issued a pair of one-out walks and then allowed an Ian Desmond sixth-inning grand slam on Friday afternoon.   During the 2 2/3 innings he’s worked so far in Grapefruit League season, he has allowed six earned runs and issued four walks. 

While it’s not time to write Chavez off yet, there’s certainly reason to no longer consider him a favorite to win one of the final two available bullpen spots.  But the Pirates reporters who were here yesterday said the 26-year-old reliever also struggled during Spring Training last year before being a surprise addition to Pittsburgh’s Opening Day roster. 

During tomorrow’s game against the Astros in Kissimmee, Craig Kimbrel and Kyle Cofield are scheduled to pitch.   Both are strong-armed relievers who could find their way to Atlanta at some point this year.  But for now, it appears both need to work on their control at the Minor League level. 

Earlier this week an American League scout said that Coffield has a lot of potential. 

“He doesn’t know where the ball is going, but I love his stuff,” the scout said. “He reminds me of John Smoltz. But he’s got to work on his control.”

   

McDowell taking superstitious approach with Jurrjens

Roger McDowell ended his playing career 14 years ago.  But as he enters his fifth season as the Braves pitching coach, it’s apparent that the old prankster hasn’t lost his belief in the superstitious element of the game.

After revealing that Jair Jurrjens experienced another pain-free mound session on Friday morning, McDowell was asked whether the 24-year-old right-hander would now be cleared to begin throwing live batting practice. 

McDowell limited his response to “we’ll see” and then smirked when asked if he was simply choosing not to put the cart before the horse. 

Given the important role Jurrjens is expected to play during the upcoming season, it’s easy to understand why McDowell has chosen not to tempt the superstition gods. 

But further encouraged by the fact that his shoulder provided no discomfort while he threw all of his pitches during Friday’s mound session, Jurrjens expressed nothing but confidence when asked if he would be ready for his scheduled regular season debut on April 7. 

“I’m going to be ready,” Jurrjens said.  “I’ll definitely be ready.”

When Jurrjens reported to camp three weeks ago, he was dealing with inflammation that formed around his shoulder after he made an awkward throw to second base.  He has since showed steady progress and now finds himself solely bothered by some stiffness that is felt when he begins warming up.

Jurrjens said this stiffness usually subsides about five minutes into his warmup exercises.  He has continued to utilize some of the stretching exercises that were prescribed after he received the results of an MRI exam that was performed in Atlanta on Feb. 16. 

Heyward in the two hole: Jason Heyward will bat second again during this afternoon’s game against the Nationals.  While this essentially means nothing, it provides proof that Bobby Cox is at least toying with the idea of having his 20-year-old right fielder sit in front of Chipper Jones in the lineup.

During his Minor League career, Heyward has shown the ability to consistently put the ball in play and compile high on-base percentages.  Whether he is capable of establishing these trends at the Major League level remains to be seen.

But there’s certainly reason to understand why the Braves are looking at this as a possibility.

I’m not sure you’d necessarily want a pair of left-handers (Nate McLouth and Heyward) sitting in the first two spots against a left-handed starter. But they could always bat Yunel Escobar, Matt Diaz, Martin Prado or Melky Cabrera in the leadoff spot when pitted against a southpaw.

BRAVES LINEUP vs. Nats

Prado 4
Heyward 9
Chipper 5
Glaus 3
McCann 2
Escobar 6
Cabrera 8
Ross DH
Clevlen 7

Derek Lowe gets the start today and as mentioned before both Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito are scheduled to pitch.  Even though he was pitched on Wednesday, Mike Minor is still listed among the available relievers.   

Murphy arrives; updates on Jurrjens and Proctor

Dale Murphy has arrived in camp and had the opportunity to reunite with his former teammates Gene Garber and Glenn Hubbard.  If not for the grey hair and creaky knees,  there might be some who could draw memories from 1978, when each of these guys were part of the group that Bobby Cox assembled during his first Spring Training as a big league manager.   

Of course you might also want to ignore the chilly conditions that arrived in the Disney area during the late-morning hours.  My guess is that West Palm Beach seldom felt as wintry as these conditions, which greeted the cast of backups that the Mets brought north for this afternoon’s game.  

For the second straight day, the Braves pitchers will be facing a lineup that doesn’t include Jeff Francoeur, whose former No. 7 Braves jersey is now being worn by non-roster invitee Joe Thurston.

As for the Braves, their lineup once again includes Jason Heyward, who has been moved down to the fifth spot of the lineup to account for the additions of Chipper Jones and Troy Glaus, who didn’t play during Tuesday’s Grapefruit League season opener.  

BRAVES LINEUP
Melky Cabrera 8
Martin Prado 4
Chipper Jones 5
Troy Glaus 3
Jason Heyward 9
Yunel Escobar 6
Matt Diaz 7
David Ross 2
Brett Clevlen DH

Bullpen sessions:  Jair Jurrjens made another step in the right direction with a mound session that consisted of approximately 30 pitches this morning.  The 24-year-old right-hander mixed fastballs and changeups during this session that was described as “pain-free” by Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell.  

“He had no problems,” McDowell said. “Everything went well.”     

If Jurrjens feels good tomorrow, he’ll be scheduled to complete a longer bullpen session on Friday.  While optimistic about the progress, McDowell still isn’t willing to place a particular timetable on his young right-hander, who reported to camp dealing with some discomfort caused by inflammation in his right shoulder.

But if Jurrjens continues on his current path, there’s certainly reason to believe he could make his first Grapefruit League start some time during the latter portion of next week.  

McDowell also reported that Scott Proctor looked strong during his 40-pitch bullpen session this morning.  The veteran right-handed reliever, who is returning from Tommy John surgery, will begin throwing live batting practice on Friday.   

It still seems optimistic to believe Proctor could break camp as a member of the Atlanta bullpen.   But the 32-year-old right-hander remains encouraged about the progress that has allowed him to reach a point where he is throwing with what he deems 90 percent of his effort.  <p>

“I keep taking steps in the right direction, not moving in the wrong direction, thank goodness,” Proctor said.  “I’m feeling really, really good.  I’m looking forward to at least getting a hitter in the box.”

In response to a comment from an earlier entry,  I want to thank you for providing me this opportunity to prove that I could prove capable of providing you an update that hopefully proved worthy of your expectations.  
 

Lowe named Opening Day starter

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.

LATE ADDITION: 

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.  

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