Results tagged ‘ Brian McCann ’
The Atlanta Braves are ready to open up Spring Training camp on Thursday, February 13. While, the majority of the 40-man roster returns from a season ago, the roster did take some hits this off season, losing Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm and Brian McCann to free agency. However, the Braves are locked and loaded to compete for their second straight East Division crown and their third straight postseason berth.
The Braves will enter camp with 62 players, inviting 22 non-roster players to join the fold in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Many of the players will get their first taste of big league camp, while others will compete for a chance at the 25-man roster. Arms are always at a premium, so we will go over all the hurlers that will report to the Disney complex on Thursday. The Braves invited 11 non-roster pitchers, left-handers Ian Thomas, Daniel Rodriguez, Atahualpa Severino and right-handers Lay Batista, J.R. Graham, Jason Hursh, Mark Lamm, Cody Martin, Yunesky Maya, Gus Schlosser and Shae Simmons.
Among the 11 invited, two have big league experience as Severino and Maya spent some time with the Washington Nationals. In 2009, Maya fled Cuba and signed with the Nationals. However, the 32-year old right-hander didn’t live up to the four-year, six-million dollar deal that he signed with Washington, going 1-5 with a 5.80 ERA in 16 games (10 starts) for the Nationals over the last four years. He will compete for a bullpen spot along with former teammate Severino, but they could end up with Triple-A Gwinnett.
Former Los Angeles Angels’ farmhand Lay Batista is the only other non-roster invitee that did not start his career in the Braves system. Batista reached Double-A last year, going 5-8 with a 3.37 ERA in 122.2 IP. He has relief experience, but primarily started the last two seasons. He will likely start in Double-A Mississippi, but he will get a long look at big league camp.
The rest of the invitees have been with the Braves since they began their professional careers. Left-handers Ian Thomas and Daniel Rodriguez are interesting prospects, as the Braves’ bullpen enters camp with one lefty reliever. While, Jonny Venters recovers from “Tommy John” surgery, the Braves will look for another southpaw to emerge during Spring Training. Thomas had a strong showing in 2013, going 7-8 with a 2.76 ERA in 104.1 IP. He struck out 123 batters while walking 37. Rodriguez’ numbers did not resemble Thomas’, but he has been in big league camp two straight seasons and starred in Triple-A Gwinnett last year before an injury shutdown his 2013 campaign.
Rodriguez was not the only one that was shut down with an injury in 2013, as Graham had to miss the second half of the season with a shoulder injury. Graham made a name for himself during last Spring Training, tossing in 9.0 IP, allowing six hits, striking out five and recording two saves. He was sent down to Double-A Mississippi, landing on the DL in May.
With Graham’s absences on the M-Braves roster, Schlosser, Lamm and Martin, had a chance to shine for the Braves Double-A affiliate. Schlosser had the most impressive resume, going 7-6 with a 2.39 ERA in 25 starts, but he was the only one of the three that was not promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett. Lamm and Martin got their first taste of the International League circuit. Lamm went 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA, while Martin went 3-4 with a 3.49 ERA for the G-Braves.
Finally, the last two players that will get a look during big league camp will be Simmons and Hursh. Simmons dominated Class-A Rome, recording a club-record 24 saves, surpassing former record holder Sung Ki Jung of the inaugural 2003 club. While, last season first round pick Hursh will get his first taste of the big leagues during Spring Training. Hursh lived up to the billing last year, going 1-1 with a 0.67 ERA in 27.0 IP for Class-A Rome. The former Cowboy has an impressive upside, but he is likely heading to Double-A Mississippi to continue his development.
The 11 pitchers that are heading to big league camp will get a long look during Spring Training, but it is likely that all players will start the season in one of the Braves Minor League systems.
Tomorrow we will go over the 11 position players that have been invited to big league camp.
Last night, Alex Wood made his Triple-A debut. His first start for the G-Braves was impressive, hurling five innings, scattering three hits, allowing one run and striking out five. He had control problems, issuing two walks, plunking two batters and tossing three wild pitches, but was able to limit the damage to pick up his first career Triple-A victory.
After an impressive start with the Double-A Mississippi Braves, Wood skipped right over Gwinnett. He made 16 appearances (one start), tossing 22 innings, while allowing six runs on 16 hits for the Atlanta Braves. He pitched well for the big club, but the Braves want him to get more work as a starter and sent him down to Gwinnett.
Wood took his demotion in stride, winning his first start for the G-Braves and becoming one of six players to make their big league debut before playing in a Triple-A game with Gwinnett. The other five players include catchers Evan Gattis and Brian McCann, outfielder Jordan Schafer, and pitchers Kenshin Kawakami and Cristhian Martinez. Gattis and McCann both played their first Triple-A games in rehab assignments, while the otehrs made brief stops in Gwinnett before returning to the big leagues.
On the Bump: Speaking of the Major Leagues, Brandon Beachy will make another rehab start for the Gwinnett Braves tonight at 7:05 PM. In his last start, the right-hander went four innings, allowing one run on four hits as he took the loss against the Durham Bulls. In five rehab starts for the G-Braves, Beachy is 0-3 with a 3.79 ERA.
Indians Starter: Stolmy Pimentel will face Beachy. The 6-foot, 3-inch hurler is 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA in six starts for the Indians. He was dominant in his last start, pitching eight innings of scoreless ball. He allowed two hits, while striking out five at Louisville.
Scouting Report: Pimentel features four pitches: four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, 12-6 bender and a changeup. His fastball sits in the low-90’s and has the ability to hit the high-90’s, while his curveball has a high-arc and great bend, sitting in the 70’s. He has not found great success with his changeup, as he continues to work through and learn the pitch, but it can be deceptive at 10-15mph lower than his fastball speed… Beachy also throws four pitches. He throws a low-90’s fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. His slider is his primary out pitch, but works off his fastball as he throws it over 60% of the time.
Last week in his rehab stint with the Gwinnett Braves, I sat down with Brian McCann to talk about his progress, what’s it like playing in his hometown and his feelings about returning to the Major Leagues.
JD- What’s it Like Playing in Gwinnett?
“It’s amazing. I went to High School at Duluth and I saw some familiar faces in the stands that I went to high school with. This is where I grew up and I’m excited to be here.”
Jd- Do you see people that you haven’t seen since high school up in the stands during games?
“That’s the beauty of being able to play in Atlanta. I’ve been very lucky. I grew up in Gwinnett County and to go and play for the Atlanta Braves, I get to have friends and family come to a game almost every night.”
JD- How are you feeling right now, physically?
“I feel great. Coming back from shoulder surgery I couldn’t be in a better spot right now. So I’m excited to join the big league team again and start playing.”
Jd- Describe the Rehab process?
“It’s the first surgery I ever had, so it took patience and a lot of hard work. I did both of those and the work has paid off. I feel extremely good.”
Jd- Have you had to time to sit down, and think maybe you were pushing this? Or rushing your return to the diamond?
“Not at all, I wasn’t going to come back unless I felt like I can help the team win and be myself out there. I’m throwing the ball great and just as good as before the surgery. This is the best I felt in a long time.”
Jd- Last season you played through the injury, Any regrets?
“No, the position the team was in didn’t allow me to. We had a chance to win a World Series and I wanted to be a part of that. If we didn’t have a chance to make the playoffs I would have definitely had the surgery earlier, but where we were at in the standings and how good our team was, I just wanted to be a part of that. “
Jd- Did you know of the severity of your injury prior to?
“I knew I was probably going to need to get surgery. It was a just a matter of of the significance of the injury and it turned out to be a pretty decent size tear.”
JD- What will it be like when you join your team?
“I won’t know until I get there (about first game). I know I’m excited to get back and playing with my teammates. I haven’t thought about what kind of emotions I will have when I step back onto the field. But, like I said I’m really excited to get back with the team.”
The G-Braves are on ten game losing streak, tonight they hope to snap it as they send Sean Gilmartin (2-1, 2.70 ERA) to the bump against Terry Doyle of the Pawtucket Red Sox. Game time is 6:05 PM at Coolray Field.
The Gwinnett Braves returned to Coolray Field, but couldn’t get back on track, dropping their fifth straight game.
The Braves outhit the Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 7-to-5, but could not come up with the timely hits, going 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Brian McCann, in his first rehab start with the Gwinnett Braves, punched the only run in with an RBI single in the eighth inning. After a two-out double by Todd Cunningham, McCann delivered with his first hit of the night.
In six rehab games, through Single-A Rome and Triple-A Gwinnett, he is hitting .333 with three homers and eight RBI. The six-time All-Star is not worried about his hitting, but looking to regain full strength in surgically repaired shoulder.
“The last thing I’m worried about is my hitting,” said McCann to Barrett Sallee in his post-game interview for MLB.com. “I feel great swinging the bat. I’m ready to go.”
His bat is not the only thing MLB ready, as he called a great game for the first six innings of the night. Entering the seventh inning, starter Sean Gilmartin was tossing a no-hitter. However, the left-hander surrendered a leadoff single to Melky Mesa and everything went south from there. He would be tagged for three runs in 6.2 innings of ball, suffering the loss.
Joey Terdoslavich had another big night, going 3-for4 and raising his average to the .333 mark. He leads the team in hitting, hits (37), doubles (13) and total bases (64).
The Braves will turn the page from last night’s loss, sending Yohan Flande (1-1, 4.43 ERA) to the mound tonight. The southpaw has been solid as a starter, posting a 1-1 record with a 3.14 ERA in 2013. He will face Graham Stoneburner (1-1, 3.00 ERA). The right-hander is 14th round draft pick out of Clemson University. He features a fastball, change up and a slider. In 2011, Baseball America ranked him the No. 17 prospect in the Yankees organization.
Tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
The Gwinnett Braves Front Office is taking a much needed breather from their 145-game Triple-A regular season schedule on Thursday, as we visit our parent club at Turner Field this afternoon. I am writing this article live during the Atlanta Braves (15-10) and Philadelphia Phillies (12-13) game from the Turner Field Press Box directly above home plate. The press level is magnificent and is at least 10 times the size of our press box in Gwinnett. This will be an easy adjustment for me to make.
Former G-Braves standout righty Randall Delgado (2-2, 6.30) will be matching up with the Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton (2-3, 3.81) for a 12:10 p.m. first pitch from Turner Field. Other current Atlanta Braves in today’s starting line-up that have donned a Gwinnett Braves uniform are Freddie Freeman, Brian McCann, Martin Prado, Jason Heyward and Tyler Pastornicky…just to name a few.
Regardless, all is well in Braves country. The Atlanta Braves are right in the thick of the National League East Division, as they trail the Washington Nationals by just half a game for first place. With all the hype surrounding the phenom Bryce Harper, it surprises me that there are still four other teams in the NL East besides Harper and his Nats. Needless to say, both the Braves and Nats had improbable wins Wednesday night…
Atlanta found themselves down 6-0 Wednesday night to Roy Halladay who had never lost a game when leading by six runs or more. Also, Halladay hadn’t allowed a grand slam since the previous decade (1999), which really set the stage for some Braves heroics. Following a Brian McCann grand slam that tied the game, 6-6, the Braves found themselves down four runs, 12-8, just an inning later.
Atlanta stole the show and Chipper Jones broke the collective back of the Phillies with not one, but two dramatic walk-off shots in the 12th inning. Jones’ first blast down the right field line was called just foul as the fans of Atlanta were primed to erupt….Nevertheless, two pitches later the living legend sent a no-doubter into the right centerfield stands for a walk-off winner, 13-12, as the Braves grabbed their first win over the Phillies in their last nine tries.
The G-Braves have also been cruising as of late with their league-best record. Gwinnett took one of two games from the back-to-back defending National Champion Columbus Clippers in a Wednesday double-dip. Currently, the G-Braves own the best record (18-8) in the International League and have the No. 1 ranked pitching in the IL this season. Stefan Gartrell has picked up after his 2011 pace, jacking two bombs this week and raising his batting average from .165 to .205 in a matter of days.
The G-Braves return home, alongside the rest of our Front Office staff, on Saturday for the first of 11 games in 10 days from Coolray Field. Gwinnett will be playing host to Charlotte (2 games), Buffalo (4 games) and Toledo (5 games) during the upcoming home stand. 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.
By: Tony Piraro