Results tagged ‘ Peter Moylan ’

Taking a look at the bullpen

Does the art of in-office procrastination remain enjoyable when you are overwhelmed by stories about T.O. and A-Rod?  Just wondering and assuming that you guys are ready to do some debating before the Braves stage “Bullpen Audition Night” tonight. 

This isn’t exactly a reality-show type competition.  When Jeff Bennett, Boone Logan, Manny Acosta and Phil Stockman face the Astros tonight, one of them isn’t necessarily going to be voted off of Disney Island.  But if they were to perform like Jeff Ridgway has recently, they certainly could be subject to the type of criticism that would make Simon Cowell proud. 

In two appearances, Ridgway has recorded a total of three outs, allowed seven earned runs, issued four walks and surrendered five hits. For Triple-A Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage’s sake, let’s hope things turn around for the left-handed reliever once the regular season begins.

There are still plenty of questions to answer about this year’s bullpen.  But a little more than a week into the Grapefruit League season, we can at least speculate about what it will look like on Opening Day.

Assuming that they prove to be healthy, I’d say that Moylan and Soriano join Mike Gonzalez and Blaine Boyer as the current locks to begin the season in Atlanta’s bullpen.

Boone Logan and Eric O’Flaherty are the top candidates to serve as the left-handed middle relievers and I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Cox carries both to begin the season.  When you’re fighing in a division that includes Ryan Howard, Carlos Delgado, Adam Dunn and Chase Utley, you can’t ever have enough lefties in your pen.

Assuming Logan and O’Flaherty will both begin the season in the bullpen, Buddy Carlye, Jorge Campillo, Acosta, Bennett and Stockman could find themselves fighting for the final available spot.

If Bobby Cox wants to keep a long-relief guy, Carlye might be chosen over Campillo, simply because the club might want Campillo to start the season at Gwinnett and remained conditioned as a starter in case he’s needed before Tommy Hanson is officially deemed ready for the Majors.

Of course if Jo-Jo Reyes continues to pitch like he has during his first two appearances, the Braves could choose to use him as their safety net and allow Campillo to start the year in Atlanta.  But let’s not forget that Carlyle was rock solid last year, minus two appearances that occurred right after the All-Star break.

If Moylan is available and capable of regaining his pre-TJ surgery form, the Braves may be less inclined to begin the year with Jeff Bennett as their late-inning groundball speciailist.  Moylan’s versatility arguably makes him the most important piece to this bullpen.

Even though he’s out of options, I’d still have to view Stockman as a longshot to start the year in the Atlanta bullpen.  I’m also putting have Acosta in that same category.

All of these projections come with the assumption that Moylan and Soriano will both be healthy at the start of this season.  With that being said, this certainly isn’t a guarantee. 

In fact, the only thing I’d be willing to guaranteed right now is that one or more of these relievers fighting for one of the final bullpen spots will be traded before the start of the regular season.  There are plenty of teams looking for economical bullpen solutions and they’ll be calling the Braves in the very near future.

- Mark Bowman 

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  

  

Cox places Heyward and Freeman in Sunday's lineup

After Sunday afternoon games at Turner Field, the Braves allow children to run the bases.  When it comes to Sunday afternoon Spring Training home games, they actually let the kids play. 

With the defending world champion Phillies in town today, Braves manager Bobby Cox has constructed a lineup that includes both first baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Jason Heyward. These 19-year-old phenoms were born three years after Phillies left-hander Jamie Moyer made his Major League debut. 

While Moyer didn’t make the trek to Disney, the Phillies did bring former Brave Marcus Giles, who seems to have an outside shot to begin the season in the Majors.  I’m not sure the same can be said for Andruw Jones, who has struck out during eight of the first nine at-bats he’s had with with the Rangers this Spring. 

The funniest line I’ve heard about Andruw came yesterday when a fellow scribe said, “I think he’ll stay in Rangers camp until at least March, but that’s only because this isn’t a leap year.” 

March has arrived and Peter Moylan is ready to start showing why he believes he might be ready to be part of the Opening Day roster.  Moylan, who is just 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to pitch an inning against the Phillies today. 

They’ve removed the tarp from the field and according to the radar, it looks like we might be able to enjoy an rain-free game today.  I’m sorry to hear that the weather gods aren’t being as kind to you in Atlanta today. 

My girlfriend just sent me a text that read, “It’s snowing like crazy here.”  I really don’t know what the big deal is.  I think all of us knew there we’d probably see a March snowfall in Atlanta before Andruw actually did something more surprising like put two balls in play during the same Cactus League game.

- Mark Bowman    

Soriano highlights Monday's workout

Anderson, Anderson and Francoeur. Seriously, should I have actually laughed out loud while wondering if this sounds like a law firm or an outfield trio? Actually there’s no need to answer that.  I just read over it again and formed the same stone face that Rafael Soriano displays whenever we ask him a question. 

Speaking of Soriano, he actually impressed Bobby Cox today with the velocity he showed during the bullpen session that preceded his first live batting practice session of the season on Monday morning  All indications are that the right-handed reliever’s elbow is healthy. 

Kenshin Kawakami followed Soriano on the mound and showed more consistency with his  location than he had when he threw his first live BP session on Saturday.  The Japanese hurler mixed in a few more breaking balls and received some compliments from the hitters that he faced. 

“You can see how that guy could have a lot of success by putting the ball where he wants it and where hitters don’t like it,” Kelly Johnson said. 

Charlie Morton impressed Cox with a solid bullpen session and then possibly strained an oblique muscle while throwing to hitters.  Over the next few days, the Braves will gain a better understanding about how much time Morton might miss.

There’s a slight chance that Garret Anderson could undergo his physical and join his new Braves teammates near the end of Tuesday’s workout.  Regardless as long as everything goes well, he’ll likely be officially introduced on Tuesday afternoon.

After Monday’s workout, many of the players headed out to participate in Tim Hudson’s charity golf tournament.  While practicing his swing, the always witty Peter Moylan said, “I’m the new John Smoltz and I’ve got the hairline to prove it.”

- Mark Bowman

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