Tag:Nate McLouth
Posted on: May 23, 2011 7:47 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 8:00 pm

McLouth joins Heyward on Braves' DL

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Nate McLouthThe Braves have placed center fielder Nate McLouth on the disabled list with discomfort in his left oblique. The team called up Jordan Schafer from Triple-A.

McLouth strained his oblique on Sunday and saw trainers in Atlanta on Monday as the team traveled from Anaheim to Pittsburgh, MLB.com's Mark Bowman writes.

Schafer is expected to get most of the starts in center while McLouth is on the DL. Schafer was hitting .256/.343/.387 at Triple-A Gwinnett with one home run. McLouth was hitting .238/.332/.341 with three homers.

McLouth joins Jason Heyward as outfielders on the disabled list. Heyward (shoulder) went on the DL after Sunday night's game.

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Posted on: May 22, 2011 6:42 pm

Heyward to DL

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jason HeywardBraves outfielder Jason Heyward is headed to the disabled list with a sore right shoulder, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.

Heyward had a cortisone shot last week after he was diagnosed with rotator-cuff inflammation. Heyward missed five games last week, returned to play three and then aggravated the shoulder before batting practice on Friday. He did enter Saturday's game as a defensive replacement.

"Going into the National League games, you don't what to be short," Gonzalez told the AJC earlier in the day.

Heyward has struggled in his sophomore season, hitting .214/.317/.407 with seven home runs.

Wilkin Ramirez was recalled to take Heyward's spot on the roster. 

The Braves will also have outfielder Nate McLouth's oblique re-examined on Monday, an off-day as the Braves travel from Anaheim to Pittsburgh.

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Posted on: April 18, 2011 6:09 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 6:10 pm

Heyward batting No. 2 in lineup

By Evan Brunell

Jason Heyward batted second in Sunday's game, but that's only because Nate McLouth was out of the lineup.

Ah, but Monday, Heyward is in the two-hole while McLouth is No. 8. 

Will this be a permanent move? Who knows, especially given manager Fredi Gonzalez's insistence that McLouth would stay in the two-hole, but it's promising as it's been clear to many for now that Heyward belongs No. 2 in the order.

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Posted on: April 14, 2011 2:48 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 3:00 pm

Gonzalez: McLouth staying in No. 2 spot

By Evan Brunell

McLouthFredi Gonzalez is still adamant that Nate McLouth belongs in the No. 2 hole for the Braves despite Atlanta getting off to a slow start offensively. While Jason Heyward withers away in the No. 6 hole much to the consternation of fans, Gonzalez believes the human element can't be discounted in making out the lineup.

"When you make out the lineup, the lineup is a function of the entire lineup -- eight guys, not just one guy," Gonzalez told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Statisticians, numbers crunchers and my SABR [Society for American Baseball Research] people -- I’m a member -- they shoot holes in that stuff. But you’re dealing with humans in the way the lineup is constructed."

Gonzalez went on to ask what exactly would happen if Heyward batted second as it would effectively leave the No. 6 batter behind Dan Uggla as a much lesser hitter, even if McLouth was moved down to the No. 6 spot. No. 5 hitter Dan Uggla would start seeing less pitches to hit and that could have a bigger effect on the lineup. Gonzalez also puts emphasis on balancing the abilities and handedness of hitters.

"Everybody [in the lineup] has got a function," Gonzalez said. "Like the situation [Tuesday], when McLouth bunts [Martin] Prado over to third,” Gonzalez recalled. "Now are you are going to play the infield in? Are you going to pitch to Chipper or pitch to [No. 4 hitter Brian] McCann? That kind of stuff."

The main complaint structured around Heyward batting No. 2 instead of McLouth -- besides the obvious talent disparity between the two -- is the extra plate appearances that Heyward could receive.

"Then why don’t we lead off [Albert] Pujols?" Gonzalez asked. "Or [Barry] Bonds? Lead 'em off."

In the end, the amount of plate appearances Heyward could gain from such a switch and the added value therein won't make or break the season. Statistically, projecting out each player's statistics along with spot in the lineup won't add up to a full win's difference. Things could change if McLouth proves he just can't hit in a Braves uniform, but even Gonzalez is smart enough to engineer a change if that happens. But when both are swinging the bat well, it's clear Gonzalez wants McLouth batting second.

All in all, the outrage over Heyward batting sixth and not second is a bit overblown. If McLouth fails, Gonzalez will move him out at minimal cost to the team. If McLouth succeeds, it won't really matter who bats second or sixth.

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Posted on: April 5, 2011 2:10 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 2:59 pm

Gonzalez comfortable with McLouth in two-hole

McLouthBy Evan Brunell

One of the more curious decisions to start the year was Jason Heyward batting sixth in the lineup.

Given Heyward had an incredibly successful rookie campaign and is already considered one of the better hitters in the game, slotting him all the way down at sixth is odd, despite manager Fredi Gonzalez's claim he wants Heyward to get more RBI opportunities.

Part of the confusion is due to Nate McLouth's (pictured) presence in the two-hole. Yes, the guy who hit .190/.298/.322 in 288 putrid plate appearances last season. So why is he batting second?

"[McLouth] has swung the bat pretty good and you just hope he continues to do that out of the two-hole, because you need to have his speed at the top of the lineup, because it helps us to be able to manufacture runs," third baseman Chipper Jones said by way of an explanation, according to MLB.com. "He's a good bunter. So with [leadoff hitter Martin Prado] always on base, [McLouth] can be a threat to bunt, hit-and-run, double in the gap and hit for some power."

McLouth is coming off a strong spring training, and Gonzalez is a fan of the power and speed McLouth can bring to the top of the lineup. To be sure, if McLouth produces to what he did in 2008 (.276/.356/.497 with 23 stolen bases, 26 home runs and 46 doubles) but the Braves would even take 2009, where he finished with 20 blasts and 19 thefts with a .256/.352/.436 line.

Oh, and those successes came batting first or third in the lineup, which Gonzalez's has noticed.

"We're dealing with humans," Gonzalez said. "If Nate is swinging the bat and he's feeling good up there and he's comfortable, then why not? The Washington Nationals have the $158 million man [Jayson Werth] or whatever hitting second. That fits his team at this point, so why not?"

It's just me, but you want your best hitters in the first five spots without question, and the second spot is criminally underrated these days. It's actually an important linchpin in the lineup as it is both an RBI position thanks to the leadoff man and also a runs position as the batter needs to get on base to set up the power hitters. Either way, there's lots of pressure on the No. 2 hitter to perform.

Really, one of your three best hitters should be in the No. 2 spot. Given Heyward appears to be the best hitter on the team, he should be batting No. 2, regardless of how well McLouth can work out in the spot.

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Posted on: January 21, 2011 10:44 am

Braves hoping for bounceback year from McLouth

McLouthThe Braves haven't gone after a center fielder because they think they have their answer on the roster.

Despite his poor season, Atlanta is committed to Nate McLouth at the position. He finished 2010 with a poor .190/.298/.322 line in 288 plate appearances after struggling with a concussion. McLouth did bounce back with an encouraging .273/.353/.527 line in 65 September plate appearances.

"We think he can do it," GM Frank Wren told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of McLouth holding onto the center field job. "I think we saw enough in September, and we’ve seen enough in his career. I mean, he’s a good player. I believe -- and I think most people around here believe -- that what we saw for that first year he was with us, was an aberration. That’s not Nate McLouth. I mean, he’s too good a player, there’s too many teams that would love to have him. And he brings some things to the table that we don’t have.

"I feel real good about where he is now, both physically and mentally, to get the job done this year."

A pessimist might think the $6.5 million salary in 2011 with a team option in 2012 might be why the Braves have opted to stick with McLouth, but Wren says that had no bearing on it.

"The money never was in the equation," Wren said this week. "The talent is what makes those decisions and drives those decisions. And Nate has talent."

Part of McLouth's frustrations involved a demotion to Triple-A to get his swing and confidence back in order, and Atlanta couldn't have been more pleased with how the lefty handled the demotion.

"It couldn’t have been handled by the organization, by Bobby [Cox] and Frank, in a better way," McLouth said. "I appreciated how they handled it. I tried to handle it as professionally and as well as I could, and to use my time in the minors as a positive, not be upset and bitter about it."

With the season and lingering effects of the concussion behind him, McLouth can see the light at the end of the tunnel. McLouth was unable to work out extensively due to the concussion, which sapped his strength, especially near the end of the season. He was unable to weight train during the season as he did not want to risk soreness, so the amount of strength he lost was remarkable.

"When I got back in the gym after the season, I noticed how much explosiveness and core strength I had lost," McLouth revealed. "That’s one thing that’s been encouraging this winter. It took a while to come back, but I’ve gotten most of my strength back. I feel good."

Laughing, McLouth added, "I will not use the phrase, 'I’m in the best shape of my life.' I promise I won’t use that, because everybody uses that."

He may not be in the best shape of his life, but the Braves will certainly be happy with anything close to it.

But what if McLouth fails? What if the concussion only masked a clear regression from the ex-Pirate? 

The club does have an internal option in Jordan Schaefer, who hit .204/.313/.287 in 195 plate appearances back in 2009 as a 22-year-old. Schaefer has struggled with a fractured bone in his wrist, but seems to be moving past that injury. Atlanta could also swap for a CF in a deal, much like they acquired Rick Ankiel at the trade deadline to help plug the gap McLouth's ineffectiveness had vacated.

But Atlanta would much prefer a bounceback year from McLouth.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 27, 2010 5:54 pm

Time runs out on McLouth

Nate McLouth
The Braves have decided they can't wait any longer for Nate McLouth to prove he can get things turned around, optioning their center fielder to Triple-A Gwinnett.

McLouth, 28, was batting just .168 on the season and was 1-for-15 in five games since returning from a June head injury suffered in a collision with Jason Heyward. He missed nearly six weeks, and has been completely lost at the plate since coming back July 21.

McLouth is in the second year of a three-year, $15.75 million contract.

The Braves have recalled Brent Clevlen from a rehab assignment to take McLouth's spot on the roster, but he's probably just keeping the seat warm until Gregor Blanco can come back from Gwinnett. Blanco, who has batted .310 in 36 games with the Braves this season, was sent to Gwinnett last week and rules say can't be recalled until he's been down 10 days. That's four days from now.

So what now for the first-place Braves? Melky Cabrera has been sharing time with Matt Diaz in left, but can play center full-time and leave Diaz, who's hot at the plate, more playing time. There are outfielders on the block, but perhaps nobody except Scott Podsednik who could play center.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: July 20, 2010 7:18 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2010 7:23 pm

Reds make offer for Isringhausen

Jason Isringhausen The Reds have offered Jason Isringhausen a contract, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer .

"Izzy" threw at Great American Ballpark before Reds executives on Tuesday, and clearly the brass were impressed enough to send out an offer.

Isringhausen is best known for being one of the game's best closers from 2000-2007, all but two seasons with the Cardinals. He began his closing career with the Athletics and racked up 272 saves and a 2.81 ERA over 490 games.

Isringhausen last pitched in 2009, with a brief nine-game stint with the Rays. He posted a 2.25 ERA before undergoing Tommy John surgery -- this after going down in late 2008 with a torn flexor tendon.

Reds GM Walt Jocketty, who acquired and presided over Isringhausen while with the Cardinals, says that the club is currently waiting for a response from Isringhausen's camp.

Jocketty did caution that Isringhausen won't be an immediate savior.

"He’ll have to go through spring training," Jocketty said. "He had his surgery the same time as [Edinson] Volquez. The difference is Volquez had the luxury of working out with a team with that scrutiny. Izzie been working out on his own."

If Isringhausen, 36, is looking for inspiration on a recovery from TJ surgery at such an advanced age, he only has to look to his possible teammate in Arthur Rhodes, who went under the knife in the beginning of 2007 when 37. Rhodes made his first All-Star team in 2010 and currently has a 1.46 ERA in 37 innings.

Jocketty has been busy building relief depth by signing veteran relievers. Russ Springer was just brought into the fold, another player Jocketty acquired while with the Cardinals. Seems like a pattern emerging of Jocketty bringing back former relievers he once had on his squad.

Who's next, Dennis Eckersley?

-- Evan Brunell

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com