July 2012

Braves Sign Ben Sheets to Minor League Deal

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

Early Sunday the Atlanta Braves signed former Major League superstar pitcher Ben Sheets to minor league contract. The right-hander will be assigned to Double-A Mississippi to begin his journey toward the big leagues. Sheets hasn’t appeared in a Major League Baseball game since July 9, 2010 when he was a member of the Oakland Athletics. Since then, the hurler has undergone Tommy John reconstructive surgery nearly two years ago as he looks to regain his former strength.

Sheets possesses a 90-92 record alongside a 3.79 career ERA, 1.22 WHIP including 1547.1 innings pitched with 1,290 strikeouts to just 356 walks. He’s a four-time All-Star and earned National League Cy Young Award votes in 2004 after posting a sparkling 2.70 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 264/32 K/BB ratio across 237 regular-season innings with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 33-year-old will head to Double-A Mississippi on Wednesday to begin pitching in live games. Sheets may take time to get ready for Major League hitting, nearly two years after surgery. However, the right-hander has always been a bulldog. If there is any pitcher out there, prepared to make a comeback of epic proportions, it’s Ben Sheets.

Sheets threw a bullpen session at Turner Field on Sunday afternoon prior to the Braves and Washington Nationals game at 1:05 p.m. His next stop will be Mississippi, and then it’s anybody’s guess after that. I know one thing, the Braves have a legitimate competitor who is going to be able to teach the Braves pitching prospects how it’s done and how to be successful at the Major League level.

By: Tony Piraro

G-Braves Face “Mr. Perfect Game” Phil Humber

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

7.1.12 GBraves Game Notes

It was more heartbreak for the struggling Gwinnett Braves in the opener of a four-game series against the Charlotte Knights on Saturday night at Coolray Field. The Knights broke a 1-1 tie on a passed ball charged to catcher J.C. Boscan in the eighth, then added three more runs in the frame against Cory Gearrin to capture a 5-3 win over the G-Braves. Boscan atoned with a two-run double in the ninth, but couldn’t prevent Gwinnett from extending their franchise-record losing streak to 15 games.

This year’s G-Braves have lost 27 of their last 32 games dating back to May 30, including 25 of 30 contests this month. It was the first game of a seven-game homestand in the next nine days, including six of the next nine against Charlotte. The loss move the G-Braves to a season-high 11 games in back of Charlotte for first place in the International League South standings.

Some lone bright-spots for the G-Braves this season was Ernesto Mejia and Cory Gearrin both being named to the Triple-A All-Star team for the game on July 10, in Buffalo, New York at 7:05 p.m. ET. Luis Durango currently leads the IL in stolen bases (28) and is one shy of leading all of Triple-A baseball in swipes with 29. Felix Pie is currently on a 13-game hit streak, which is good enough for the tie of best mark this season by a G-Braves. Mejia tied the longest with a 13-game streak, which was one hit shy of the franchise record 14-game streak by Barbaro Canizares. Also, Jose Constanza currently possesses a seven-game hit streak for Gwinnett since rejoining the team from Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

Saturday, June 30 G-Braves Starting Line-up from Coolray Field:

The Gwinnett Braves (37-47) play game two of the four-game series against the Charlotte Knights (48-36) tomorrow night at Coolray Field, first pitch scheduled for 5:05 PM. Right-hander Todd Redmond (6-5, 3.13) is scheduled to start for the G-Braves against right-hander Matt Zaleski (3-2, 4.48) of the Knights. The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

Charlotte Knights (47-36, 1st IL South) vs Gwinnett (37-46, 4th IL South) 

Sunday is night two of Braves All-Star Weekend at Coolray Field, presented by Springer Mountain Farms. Former Atlanta Braves greats Dale Murphy and Ryan Kleskowill be on hand for special meet-and-greets and autograph opportunities. The first 1,000 fans will receive Gwinnett Braves pennants courtesy of Springer Mountain Farms. It’s also a Family Day at the ballpark including pre-game catch on the field and post-game base run for kids 12 and under. Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Charlotte Knights Batting Order:

1) Tyler Kuhn, LF

2) Ray Olmedo, 2B

3) Dan Johnson, 1B

4) Hector Gimenez, DH

5) Dallas McPherson, 3B

6) Josh Phegley, C

7) Justin Greene, CF

8) Ozzie Martinez, SS

9) Kyle Shelton, RF

G-Braves Batting Order:

1) Jose Constanza, LF

2) Tyler Pastornicky, SS

3) Felix Pie, RF

4) Ernesto Mejia, DH

5) Stefan Gartrell, LF

6) Christian Marrero, 1B

7) Ruben Gotay, 3B

8) Lance Zawadzki, 2B

9) J.C. Boscan, C

By: Tony Piraro