Tag:Fredi Gonzalez
Posted on: May 27, 2011 7:36 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2011 7:48 pm

No structural damage in Heyward's shoulder

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jason HeywardGood news for the Braves: A second MRI on outfielder Jason Heyward's right shoulder showed no structural damage.

"Just normal wear and tear of a normal major leaguer shoulder, some inflammation," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien.

Heyward went on the disabled list Sunday with rotator cuff inflammation, and Gonzalez said Heyward should be able to return soon after he is eligible. He has been bothered by his shoulder since spring training, missing three games in May before finally being put on the DL.

After finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting last season, Heyward has felt the sophomore slump, hitting .214/.317/.407 with seven home runs in 161 plate appearances this season.

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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 1, 2011 11:13 am
Edited on: April 1, 2011 2:13 pm

Kimbrel already Braves' closer?

By Matt Snyder

Heading into the season, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez tried to make it clear there was no set closer for his ballclub. If you want to read anything into the Braves' opening day victory over the Nationals, however, it would appear Craig Kimbrel is the primary, with Venters as the eighth-inning guy.

Jonny Venters, who is left-handed, was beckoned in the eighth inning to face Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. All three of those hitters are righties. Meanwhile, Kimbrel, a right-hander, pitched the ninth, squaring off against Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel -- two of whom are left-handed.

Both were outstanding. Venters needed only seven pitches to get through the Nats' top three hitters, including their two best. Kimbrel showed how nasty his stuff can be, missing bats and fooling hitters, striking out two and coaxing a fly out.

Now, being that this was only one game, we're required to say there's no reason to think this will happen every single time the Braves in the same situation. But the fact remains that Gonzalez didn't play matchups at all. He isn't stupid. He saw the batters coming up and used Venters in the eighth and Kimbrel in the ninth, ignoring the matchups completely.

The only thing Gonzalez would say about his bullpen after the game was that it was "oustanding" and several other derivatives thereof. There was no discussion specifically of naming a closer or why he didn't play the matchups, but the writing could very well be on the wall.

Both excelled in their respective roles. Crash Davis taught us to never eff with a winning streak. The basic jist? Stick with what works, and it worked pretty well for the Braves' bullpen Thursday. There's a good chance the Venters/Kimbrel order was a harbinger of things to come -- a pretty ominous one for opposing hitters.

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Posted on: March 19, 2011 12:08 pm

Braves looking at duo of closers

By Matt Snyder

Having two guys capable of closing games instead of one -- or none -- is a nice problem to have. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez believes he has that problem, and he's not going to solve it.

"In a perfect world, you'd like to name one guy," Gonzalez said. "But I can't sit here and tell you May 15 is going to be the day or June 20. Maybe we'll go the whole way with it. It's not a bad thing. It really isn't." (MLB.com )

He's speaking of choosing between right-hander Craig Kimbrel and left-hander Jonny Venters. He noted that he might determine which guy to use in the ninth based upon rest or matchups.

Venters, 25, was stellar last season as a rookie. He had a sparkling 1.95 ERA in 83 innings, striking out 93 hitters. Control was a slight issue, as he walked 39 guys, but he still found ways to prevent those baserunners from scoring. He did grab one save, but was used in a setup role in front of Billy Wagner.

Kimbrel, 22, was thought to be the closer of the future for the Braves, and he still might be. He was nearly untouchable last season in his brief taste of the majors. He had a 0.44 ERA in 20 2/3 innings, striking out a whopping 40 hitters.

This spring, Venters has been better. He's thrown eight shutout innings and only allowed four baserunners. Kimbrel has a 4.91 ERA, though he has struck out 10 in 7 1/3 innings.

You can just see teams that have had trouble filling the closer role shaking their collective heads with a "must be nice" thought in their heads. From Rafael Soriano to Billy Wagner to a pair of young flame-throwers -- one from each side -- is a pretty nice mix.

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Posted on: March 7, 2011 9:24 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:31 pm

Pepper: Raise a glass

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Orioles are a trendy pick to be better in 2011, and they should be. But no matter how the Orioles do on the field, things will be better this season in Baltimore because Natty Boh is back.

Before the take-over of the beer industry by the big brewing companies, regional beers were king -- be it National Bohemian (known as Natty Boh in Baltimore) in the mid-Atlantic, Hudepohl in Cincinnati or Hamm's in Minnesota.

These were different than the great microbrews of today, they were the macrobrews of yesterday. It's what you remember your grandpa dinking, whether it was an Olympia in Washington or an Old Style in Chicago. These were American, working-class beers. And they belonged with baseball, at the ballpark and at home, listening along to the local nine on the radio.

Well, one of these greats, National Bohemian, is back where it belongs, at the ballpark at Camden Yards. And for that, America and baseball are better than they were before. (Baltimore Sun)

For more fun, check out this video of old Natty Boh commercials (with an added bonus of Maryland history):

GARDNER MAY PUSH JETER FROM LEADOFF: The Yankees front office wants Brett Gardner, not Derek Jeter, leading off, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News writes.

Jeter has batted first or second for most of his career, but it seems natural to put the speedy Gardner atop the lineup. Gardner had a .383 on-base percentage last season, along with 47 stolen bases. He also saw an MLB-best 4.6 pitchers per plate appearance, giving him a good case to bat first for the Yankees.

HOLD 'EM OR FOLD 'EM: Boston's Mike Cameron had his name thrown around a bit this weekend after Philadelphia lost Domonic Brown to a hand injury, but with J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury roaming the outfield, is it wise for the Red Sox to get rid of any outfielder?

Although Cameron is making $7.5 million this season, that would hamper many other teams, but not the Red Sox. Cameron is also a rarity in the Red Sox clubhouse, a right-handed hitter. (Boston Globe)

HART SIDELINED: Brewers right fielder Corey Hart missed the last week after straining a muscle in his side. He was expected to miss two weeks, but after a setback during a throwing exercise on Saturday, Hart said he doesn't expect to be back in the original timeframe.

However, manager Ron Roenicke said he expects Hart to be ready for opening day. (MLB.com)

MOM KNOWS BEST: Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said he was feeling sorry for himself after suffering a broken bone in his left foot, until his mother set him straight.

"I woke up positive and [said] 'Let's do it,'" Cervelli told the New York Daily News. "That's it. Start the work, the therapy and get better. A lot of people in the world don't have legs or arms; I'm healthy. I just have something in my foot, but it's going to be OK."

MONTERO MAY BACKUP: Cervelli's injury may have opened the door for Yankees top prospect, Jesus Montero.

Many thought the Yankees would want him to play every day and not have him break camp just to back up Russell Martin. One who doesn't buy that theory, apparently, is Brian Cashman.

"There is a lot of knowledge that a catcher has to absorb that you just won't get at Triple-A," Cashman told FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. "If it's the second week of April and he has only pinch-hit or started one game, I won't consider it a lost week. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that he has never experienced before.

"He can watch, see how [Martin] goes through it -- pre-game, advance scouting meetings, all those things. When he gets in there in the future, he'll be fully prepared, rather than just sink or swim."

The Yankees know Montero's bat can play right away, but many question his ability to stick behind the plate.

TRADE STUNG SAUNDERS: Former first-rounder Joe Saunders said he was upset last season when the Angels traded him to Arizona.

"I was pissed off. I'm not going to lie to you," Saunders told the Orange County Register.

Saunders said it was weird heading into the visitor's clubhouse at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Angels' spring training home.

MULLET MANIA: Travis Schlichting has the greatest mullet in baseball history, and Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan has the story.

AUTHOR-PITCHER: Rays reliever Dirk Hayhurst -- better known as the author of The Bullpen Gospels than anything he's done on the field -- said he's walked a fine line between being truthful and writing a tell-all.

Hayhurst's often hilarious characters in the book (really, it's worth checking out, a fun, quick read), are real, but he doesn't name names. He's also working on a second book and has a contract for a third, but those will also be done in his particular style, where the only specific player you get dirt on is Hayhurst himself.

The Rays seem like a perfect fit, if only for the fact that when asked about Hayhurst, manager Joe Maddon used the word "ameliorated" in his response. (St. Petersburg Times)

OLIVO CONFIDENT: Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo had a scare on Saturday when he pulled up lame with a hamstring injury and had to be helped off the field. Olivo will have an MRI today, but he told reporters on Sunday that he's confident he'll be ready for opening day. (Seattle Times)

BOOF REMAINS A MYSTERY: Even Boof Bonser doesn't know how his name came about, even though he's legally changed it. (Star-Ledger)

FORTUITOUS CUT: Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is pretty happy he cut reliever Cristhian Martinez last year when both were with the Marlins. Martinez was optioned to Triple-A at the end of spring training last season and then designated him for assignment on April 3. The Braves signed him and now he's competing for the final bullpen spot.

Martinez struck out five in two innings against the Nationals on Sunday. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

MAYBIN MAY RETURN: San Diego's Cameron Maybin may return to action today after suffering concussion symptoms when he hit his head on a post during Wednesday's practice.

Maybin, the team's newly acquired center fielder, took batting practice on Sunday and said he felt good afterwards. (MLB.com)

D-LEE STILL OUT: Derrek Lee won't make his debut with the Orioles in the Grapefruit League until Wednesday at the earliest. (Baltimore Sun)

PEAVY TO MAKE SECOND START: White Sox starter Jake Peavy said he's sore from Saturday's start, but he's good enough to start on Wednesday. (Chicago Tribune)

FIRST BASE BATTLE: Here's something you don't hear very often -- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said defensive will be a key component to the team's search for a regular first baseman.

Russell Branyan, Brandon Allen and Juan Miranda are the other leading candidates for that job. (Arizona Republic)

ZAUN TO RETIRE: Veteran catcher Gregg Zaun is set to retire after 16 seasons in the big leagues.

Zaun, 39, was in the Padres camp. He's a career .252/.344/.388 hitter, but better known for his defense, spending most of his time as a backup catcher.

His retirement gives Rob Johnson the inside track at the Padres' backup job. (Sportsnet.ca)

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Posted on: March 6, 2011 9:34 pm

Heyward gives Braves a scare in return

Jason HeywardBy C. Trent Rosecrans

After missing three games with groin discomfort, Braves right fielder Jason Heyward gave his manager a scare when he landed oddly trying to avoid a tag at home.

Washington's Nyjer Morgan and Danny Espinosa gunned down Heyward, who was trying to score from first on a double by Alex Gonzalez in the second inning. Heyward slowed down and slid awkwardly in an attempt to avoid Wilson Ramos' tag.

"When he comes to the plate, you go, 'Get up, get up,' and then he got up," Fredi Gonzalez told MLB.com's Mark Bowman. "He's fine."

Heyward stayed in the game long enough to get two more at-bats. In three plate appearances, he walked once, was hit once and singled. He left the game for a pinch-runner following his seventh-inning single.

"It all felt good," said Heyward, who played in the field. "I didn't hold anything back."

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Posted on: February 19, 2011 7:04 pm

Chipper's knee could be a pain for Braves

Chipper Jones said the pain he felt in his knee on Saturday isn't a big deal -- and it may not be. But coming up on his 39th birthday and off of ACL surgery, it could be the rest of the season.

Saturday was the Braves' first full workout of the season, and Jones said he had to deal with pain throughout the three hours.

Chipper Jones "It was a bad day today," Jones said, according to MLB.com . "I didn't feel good doing anything. … Some days I wake up and I can tell it's going to be a good day, and other days I'm going to have to fight my way through it."

Jones said he felt he had to do all the drills on Saturday, because it was manager Fredi Gonzalez's first day and they were stressing defensive fundamentals and going through bunt defense.

Jones ran the bases for the first time on Friday and felt pain on Tuesday while doing defensive drills.

"It's going to happen. I just don't want to pile days on top of each other where I can't get in shape or get my reps in," Jones said. "It might keep me from doing my conditioning. But it's not going to keep me from doing my reps -- hitting, fielding, throwing."

That's for now, though. It's going to be something Gonzalez will have to watch throughout the season, as the Braves are counting on Jones to bounce-back from two seasons that were below his standards. In the last two seasons, Jones hit .265/.385/.429 with 28 home runs, good for a 118 OPS+ -- decent numbers for many, but not for the future Hall-of-Famer, who has a career 142 OPS+.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 18, 2011 1:29 pm

Video: Braves camp

The Braves are pretty happy to have Dan Uggla, at least that's what several players told CBSSports.com's Mark Morgan:

That Jason Heyward's not too bad, either:

Fredi Gonzalez takes over for Bobby Cox:

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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