Results tagged ‘ Dusty Hughes ’

2013 Spring Training – Weekly Update

Ernesto Mejia is 1-for-6 in four games in Grapefruit League.

Ernesto Mejia is 1-for-6 in four games in Grapefruit League.

Spring Training is underway and the Atlanta Braves have got off to a slow start, losing three of their first four games. With new faces around camp and early departures for the World Baseball Classic, the Braves are not worried about win-loss records, but concerned with building a continuity to prepare for an exciting summer of baseball.

With several regulars leaving for the WBC, it has allowed for former 2012 G-Braves to make an impact in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Twelve of 15 Braves that wore the G-Braves uniform in 2012 have seen the field this spring.

Joe Terdoslavich made a big splash, hitting a solo-homer on Feb.22 against the Detroit Tigers. His home run was the lone run for the Braves, as they were stymied by seven different pitchers in a 2-1 loss.

Tyler Pastornicky has flourished since Andrelton Simmons left to Taiwan to prepare for the WBC. In his last two games, Pastornicky has picked up two hits and an RBI.

The other three positions players, Ernesto Mejia, Jordan Parraz and Jose Yepez have one hit each through the first four games. Jose Constanza, who is having visa issues in the Dominican Republic, is yet to report to camp.

On the hill, the race for five went from luke-warm to steamy. Sean Gilmartin and Julio Teheran matched each other on Sunday afternoon with two scoreless frames. Both hurlers picked up two strikeouts and allowed one base runner each. Gilmartin gave up a single, while Teheran walked one.

If the race for five was not enough, the bullpen battles are starting to get hot. Cory Gearrin has tossed two scoreless frames, allowing one hit and recording two strikeouts, while Dusty Hughes hurled a perfect frame with one strikeout.

Lefties Ryan Buchter, Yohan Flande and Daniel Rodriguez have struggled through the first few days of camp. Buchter has allowed two runs on three hits in one inning. Flande has given up six runs on seven hits in two innings of baseball. Rodriguez’ control issues continue to give him trouble, walking three and giving up three runs in his lone appearance.

The players return to action today at 1:05 p.m. at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, FL against the Washington Nationals.

-JD

2013 Spring Training – Competing to Make the Team

Ernesto Mejia led the G-Braves with 24 home runs in 2012.

Ernesto Mejia led the G-Braves with 24 home runs in 2012.

The 2013 Gwinnett Braves will see a lot of turnover as a majority of the team has moved on to different clubs. However, there is a great deal of players still connected to the Braves organization.  Here’s a look at some 2012 G-Braves heading to Atlanta’s Major League camp this year.

Former International League hitting champion Jose Constanza remains in the fold. The 5’9” outfielder remains on the Braves 40-man roster after leading the IL in hitting with a .314 batting average. Since being acquired through free agency in 2010, Constanza has been a solid pick up. In 174 games, he hit .318 (212-for-667) with two home runs and 52 RBI. He reports to MLB Spring Training fighting for one of the final Braves’ roster spots.

Constanza will not be alone fighting for a roster spot, as Ernesto Mejia looks to lock up one of the bench spots. The infielder came into his own last season, hitting .296 (152-for-514) with 24 home runs and 92 RBI. He was awarded the IL Rookie of the year and was added to the Braves’ 40-man roster at the end of the season.

Jose Constanza led the IL in hitting with a .314 batting average.

Jose Constanza led the IL in hitting with a .314 batting average in 2012.

While Constanza and Mejia head to camp as part of the 40-man roster, three former G-Braves will look to come out of nowhere and steal a spot on the roster.

Joe Terdoslavich, Jordan Parraz and Jose Yepez will push the veterans for a bench spot. Terdoslavich struggled in his first stint with the G-Braves in 2012, hitting .180 with four home runs and 20 RBI. He committed 22 errors in 53 games, but he turned it around after being sent down to Double-A Mississippi. He finished his second full season (third with organization) hitting .315 with five home runs and 51 RBI.

Parraz was solid as a utility outfielder last season. In 34 games, he hit .288 (34-for-118) with six doubles, two home runs and 19 RBI.  His 2012 campaign was significantly shortened by a pair of hand injuries.

Yepez will head to his second straight Spring Training, as he hopes to win the backup spot on the MLB roster while Brian McCann is out with an injury. Yepez played in 79 games for the G-Braves, hitting .264 with three home runs and 30 RBI.

With the Atlanta Braves offseason deal of Randall Delgado, an immediate spot in the rotation has opened up. Both Sean Gilmartin and Julio Teheran will go to Spring Training battling for the fifth and final spot in the rotation.

Teheran, who was IL Player of the Year and Atlanta Braves Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2011, is the front-runner for the rotation spot. In two seasons with the G-Braves, Teheran is second all-time in wins (22) and boasts the club’s best ERA (3.75).

Teheran will have to be careful, as Gilmartin is eager to win the final spot after completing his first full season with the organization. In 20 starts with Double-A Mississippi, he went 5-8 with a 3.54 ERA, while going 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA in seven starts for Gwinnett.

While Teheran and Gilmartin battle for a rotation spot, Cory Gearrin, Dusty Hughes and Anthony Varvaro will try to fit in the Atlanta bullpen. Gearrin has been outstanding, appearing in an all-time high 126 games for the G-Braves. Last season, he went 3-3 with a 2.30 ERA and 9 saves in 39 games for Gwinnett. He was even better in Atlanta, hurling 20 innings, allowing four runs (1.80 ERA) in 22 games for the Braves.

Hughes looks to crack the MLB team for the first time in his career. Having big league experience with the Kansas City Royals, Hughes knows what it takes to make the big team. The lefty had a solid 2012 in Gwinnett, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.31 ERA.

Varvaro rounds out the list of Spring Training invitees. He pitched well for Gwinnett before moving up to the big leagues. In 44.1 innings, the right-hander posted an 0-2 record with 2.23 ERA.

Ryan Buchter, Yohan Flande and Daniel Rodriguez also received invitations to camp. They will get an opportunity to win one of the 12 spots on the staff, but will have a tough hill to climb as all three have no MLB experience. Flande will go in with the most upside, as he spent all of last two seasons with the G-Braves. In 2012, he was 6-11 with a 4.21 ERA.

The bullpen may be a bit crowded with the acquisition of Jordan Walden from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but these six arms are up for the task.

While plenty of former G-Braves will look to make an impression on the Braves as full practices start tomorrow, there’s plenty of new faces in camp this year.  The next edition of the G-Blog will take a look at those new players, some of which could be heading to Gwinnett in 2013.

Trade Deadline Passes, Delgado Dominant in Win

Photo courtesy of Daniel Hamby

FORT MILL, SC. – After two starts at Gwinnett since being optioned from Atlanta on July 15, there was still reason to be concerned about young Randall Delgado. Those fears were put to rest Tuesday afternoon at Knights Stadium, as the right-hander dominantly pitched the G-Braves to a 7-2 win over the Charlotte Knights in the four-game series finale.

Delgado (W, 2-1) worked six strong innings for his second straight win, as he scattered five hits while giving up one earned run and one walk. Delgado also struck out 10 batters, including seven of the last 11 men he faced on Tuesday. The 10 strikeouts were two behind his career-high of 12 while with Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League of May, 2009.

The Knights jumped on Delgado early as Drew Garcia poked a one-out infield single in the bottom of the first, moved to second on a single to right by Brent Morel and scored on a single by Dan Johnson. The Knights were up 1-0 after one inning, but that would be the only run Delgado would surrender in the game.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Hamby

The G-Braves took the lead in the top of the third off former Parkview High School star Anthony Carter. With one out, Brian Friday singled to left and moved to second on a groundout by J.C. Boscan. With two outs, Felix Pie singled to center scoring Friday from second to tie the game, 1-1. Pie then scored from first on a double to left by Josh Wilsonfor a 2-1 G-Braves lead.

Gwinnett padded the lead in the top of the fifth off reliever Brandon Kloess, when Boscan drew a two out walk, stole second base and scored on a single to center by Wilson, giving the G-Braves a 3-1 advantage.

Andy Russell relieved Delgado in the bottom of the seventh and allowed the Knights only other run. Former No. 1 pick of the Chicago White Sox, Jared Mitchell greeted Russell with a single to left, and then took third when Russell’s pick-off attempt shot past Gwinnett first baseman Terry Tiffee. Tyler Saladino plated Mitchell from third with a groundout to first, cutting the Gwinnett lead, 3-2.

In the top of the ninth however, the G-Braves put the game away. Reliever Donnie Veal walked Josh Kroeger and Ruben Gotay with one out, as he gave way to Daniel Moskos from the bullpen. Moskos walked Friday to load the bases, then allowed Kroeger to score from third on a wild pitch, amping the lead to 4-2. Pie then drove in both Gotay and Friday with a single to center, boosting the lead to 6-2. A wild pitch moved Pie to third and an infield single by Wilson plated him with the seventh and final run of the game.

Carter (L, 2-5) worked two innings of relief for the loss giving up four hits and two earned runs. He stuck out one. Brian Bruney, pitching on a rehab assignment from the White Sox started the game and worked the first inning only with one hit and one strikeout. Kloess pitched 1.2 innings with two hits, one earned run, two walks and one strikeout. Former Gwinnett pitcher Deunte Heath worked 2.0 scoreless innings with one walk and three strikeouts. Veal was credited with 1.2 innings pitched, one hit, two earned runs, two walks and one strikeout. Moskos gave up two hits and one earned run and one walk and had one strikeout in 0.2 innings pitched.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Hamby

The G-Braves (51-61) and Knights (63-49) finish their 22-game schedule against one another with a season split, 11 wins each.

Russell worked the seventh with one hit and one earned run and Dusty Hughes worked a scoreless eighth with one strikeout. Anthony Varvaro closed the game out with a scoreless ninth, allowing one walk, alongside three strikeouts.

Pie and Wilson paced Gwinnett with three hits and three RBIs each and Stefan Gartrellwent 1-for-4 to increase his hitting streak to 11 games.

After an off day on Wednesday, the G-Braves open a four-game series in Durham, North Carolina against the Bulls. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Thursday night, asYohan Flande (5-7, 4.17) will start for Gwinnett against the Bulls TBA (0-0, 0.00). Listen to the broadcast on AM 550/FM 102.9 WDUN in Gainesville, Georgia with Tony Schiavone calling the play by play.

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 Sciavone & Tony Piraro

Storylines Since the Break

A new post on your Gwinnett Braves has been long overdue since the start of the final 52-game stretch of the regular season.  The G-Braves are off to a 1-4 start since the Triple-A All-Star break and maintain a 1.0-game lead on Durham for third place in the International League South Division.  Dave Brundage’s club stands 10 games behind South-leading Charlotte with time still on the clock to catch the Knights, but it’s clear that the time is now to make a move up the standings.

Here’s some of the storylines playing out since the break:

Constanza has hit in a franchise-record 19-straight games as of July 17. (Chris Roughgarden)

Jose Constanza is on a tear that may not end any time soon.

Constanza entered the All-Star break with a 14-game hitting streak in tact, tying the existing Gwinnett franchise record shared by Barbaro Canizares (2010) and Felix Pie (2012).  He’s re-written the record book with hits in five-straight games since, giving him a 19-game hitting streak as of July 17.  That streak is the second-longest in the International League this season, trailing only a 20-game streak accomplished by three players including former Toledo Mud Hen Brad Eldred.  Constanza isn’t just collecting a hit a night to advance history, he’s often doing it with huge, multi-hit efforts.  He’s logged more than one hit in 12 of the 19 games, hitting an impressive .400 (34-for-85) on the streak.  Not surprisingly, he’s shot to the top of the IL in batting average, now leading the circuit with a .322 mark.

Mejia leads the IL with 106 hits and ranks fourth with a .308 batting average. He’s among offensive leaders in just about every other category. (Karl Moore)

Ernesto Mejia has been even better since appearing in the All-Star Game.

What’s left to prove for Mejia after his first Triple-A All-Star Game selection?  Plenty.  He’s continued to do it with his bat, hitting .354 with four homers and nine RBI over the first 12 games of July.  The slugging first baseman is riding a three-game multi-hit streak that has raised his average to .308, fourth-best in the International League.  He leads the league with 106 hits (amazing for a player with such power to lead in total hits), while ranking second in total bases (189), tied for second in extra-base hits (44), tied for third in RBI (62), fourth in slugging percentage (.549), fifth in OPS (.916) and tied for fifth in home runs (19).  If he can keep up the pace, the IL Triple Crown could be within his grasp in his first year at the level.

Redmond went 6-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 18 starts for the G-Braves before the trade. (Kyle Hess)

It’s going to be weird not seeing Todd Redmond pitch every fifth day.

One constant over the first four years of G-Braves baseball has been the consistency of Redmond in the rotation.  The all-time wins leader in Gwinnett history was shipped to Cincinnati in exchange for shortstop Paul Janish on July 14.  Redmond went 34-30 with a 3.78 ERA in 101 games, 97 starts in a G-Braves uniform, making him one of the faces of the young franchise.  He’ll certainly be most remembered for his nine-inning no-hitter at Louisville on May 28, 2010, still the only no-no thrown by a G-Brave.  Die-hard fans will certainly remember his outstanding 2011 season in which Redmond went 10-8 with the IL’s third-best ERA of 2.92.  One thing is for sure, it’s going to be weird not seeing “Red” on the mound at Coolray Field.  Even stranger, he may face his old club when his new team, the Louisville Bats, come to town in August.

Since throwing his first career complete game on June 3, Teheran is 1-3 with an 8.56 ERA in his last six starts. (Kyle Hess)

With Redmond gone, who steps up?

It’s no secret that even when Redmond was still a member of the rotation, Gwinnett starters had been struggling.  The question is, who is able to shake off those struggles and consistently win for this team?  We’ve seen flashes of dominance from Julio Teheran, Eric Junge, Yohan Flande and Jose Lugo this year, but who takes the reigns as the staff ace?  Teheran would be the likely candidate given what he did just a season ago.  There’s still time for the 21-year-old to improve upon a 6-5 record and uncharacteristic 4.96 ERA.  Randall Delgado served up six runs in his first Triple-A start since being optioned to Gwinnett by Atlanta, but could also ressurect his season with a strong finish in Triple-A.

McCurry has thrown 5.0 scoreless innings across two appearances with Gwinnett this season. (Leslie Watts)

There’s a whole lot of new faces here.

Terry Tiffee, Cole McCurry, Andy Russell…who are these guys?  The G-Braves’ roster underwent nine transactions this past weekend, giving the roster a bit of a new look.  Not only the addition of Tiffee, a third baseman who has logged Major League time in Minnesota and Los Angeles (Dodgers), McCurry, a reliever who came over from the Baltimore  system earlier this year and Russell (not to be confused with Adam), a 28-year-old reliever in just his second U.S. season after pitching in his native Australia, but also the “re-addition” of Jordan Parraz.  Parraz had been out since May 7 with a broken left hand, but went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles in his first game back with Gwinnett on July 14 at Louisville.  Which of the new faces becomes a key piece of the puzzle?

Carlyle ranks second among IL relief leaders in fewest walks per 9.0 innings with a 1.76 mark. (Melinda Pease)

With a slim lead late in the game, who gets the call?

Triple-A All-Star Cory Gearrin is currently on the DL, so who gets the coveted closer’s role?  Jaye Chapman posted two saves and a win in three scoreless outings from July 4-12, but suffered a tough letdown in a blown save and loss on July 14 at Louisville.  Buddy Carlyle is the active bullpen leader in ERA (2.34) and wins (5), but gave up the grand slam to Bats’ catcher Dioner Navarro that defeated the G-Braves on that same July 14 evening.  Don’t count out the rest of the pen, Billy Bullock, Adam Russell, Dusty Hughes and others to get on track, but the late innings will still likely belong to Chapman and Carlyle.

That’s just a small sampling of what’s going on with the Gwinnett Braves just past the half-way point of July.  To find out how it all plays out, keep coming back to the G-Blog and gwinnettbraves.com, as well as catching the radio broadcasts with Tony Schiavone on WDUN 550 AM / 102.9 FM and WDUN.com.

-DL

G-Braves Notes for 4.30.12 at Toledo

It’s hard to believe the first month of the 2012 season is already ending tonight.  No matter what happens on April’s final night, the month is already a fantastic success for the Gwinnett Braves.  With yesterday’s 2-1 win in 10 innings, the G-Braves captured their 17th victory in 24 games and maintained a 4.0-game lead on Charlotte for first in the IL South.

The big story coming in, the first start for right-hander Jair Jurrjens since being optioned to Triple-A, turned out to be a big story after the game as well.  J.J. gave the G-Braves 7.0 innings of one-run baseball, allowing just four singles and three walks while striking out four.  He wasn’t overpowering, but he was efficient, needing 93 pitches (54 strikes) to get through a fairly potent Toledo offense.

After Jurrjens’ exit, the G-Pen was just about unhittable again.  Left-hander Dusty Hughes lowered his ERA to a microscopic 0.71 with a scoreless eighth, and right-hander Jaye Chapman had another impressive outing with 2.0 scoreless innings to secure his first win of the season.  As has been the case more than once this month, the Gwinnett offense was minimal but opportunistic as Greg Paiml led off the 10th with a double, took third on a bunt by Luis Durango and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jose Constanza.

Tonight, the G-Braves look to end April with  their third series sweep in the finale of the series at Toledo.  Right-hander Julio Teheran (2-1, 3.78) is 8-1 in 14 career Triple-A road starts, but struggled in his first venture away from Coolray Field this season (April 7 at Durham, 1.2 IP, 3 ER).  Hopefully he’ll look better than last time out, when he gave up four runs on seven hits (including a pair of HR) over 4.1 innings in a loss to Charlotte on April 25.  On a more positive note, Teheran dominated Toledo in his one start against them last year, throwing 8.0-innings of scoreless, three-hit baseball in a 2-0 win on June 9, 2011.

More about J.J., Teheran and the rest of the G-Braves in tonight’s Game Notes:  4.30.12 GBraves Game Notes

First pitch at Fifth Third Field is scheduled for 6:30 PM tonight, catch the broadcast with Tony Schiavone on WDUN 55o AM / 102.9 FM and WDUN.com.

-DL

G-Braves Game Notes for 4.28.12 at Toledo

The Gwinnett Braves started off the eight-game trip with a 3-2 win over the Toledo Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field last night.  Left-hander Yohan Flande finally proved human as he allowed two runs in the fifth inning to snap his 19.2-inning scoreless streak, but a 3-for-4, two-RBI performance from Jose Constanza led the G-Braves to the win anyways.  Constanza’s RBI single in the seventh scored Greg Paiml for the winning tally.  Right-hander Adam Russell (W, 3-0) minimized the damage for Flande in the fifth and earned the win as a result, while right-hander Anthony Varvaro (H, 2) and left-hander Dusty Hughes (S, 3) combined on 3.0 scoreless innings.

With pitching continuing to be the main story of the G-Braves, we’ll get a look at right-hander Todd Redmond tonight in game two of the series.  Redmond has lost each of his last two outings but hasn’t had a lot of offensive support to work with.  He’s 10th amongst all International league pitchers with a 2.61 ERA and ranks third in strikeouts with 27.  The ‘Hens are countering with left-hander Shawn Teufel (1-0, 3.18) today and pushing back lefty Andy Oliver to tomorrow.

Much more worth reading in tonight’s Game Notes:  4.28.12 GBraves Game Notes

Note that tonight’s game is a 6:00 PM start time, so tune in a little earlier to WDUN 550 AM / 102.9 FM to catch the action with Tony Schiavone.  As always, you can listen online as well at WDUN.com.

-DL

G-Braves Pitchers Ready To Shoulder The Load

(Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts)

The Gwinnett Braves (13-7) currently reside in first place of the International League South Division. A huge part of their early success thus far in 2012 can be attributed to their top-notch pitching staff. Presently, the G-Braves have the No. 1 overall pitching in the International League.

Gwinnett possess the top team ERA (2.56), shutouts (5), innings pitched (186.0), least total runs allowed (66) and least earned runs allowed (53) in the 14-team league. The G-Braves are also ranked third in the IL in wins (13), second in least losses (7), fifth in saves (6), fourth in least hits allowed (160), second in least home runs allowed (7) and third in strikeouts (171).

Marty Reed’s staff as a whole has been exceptional this season, but more importantly, they have been consistent. Every arm from top to bottom has made giant contributions to the G-Braves’ success. Already, one player has already been called up to the big club and he is in the form of Cory Gearrin. The righty reliever worked as a set-up man and part-time closer for Gwinnett, where he allowed no runs in 12.1 innings of work and recorded two saves.

Yohan Flande leads the pitchers with a 0.00 ERA through three starts, totaling 15.2 innings. The lefty has been dominant this season, as well as, being a pleasant surprise to the rotation. Flande has allowed just five hits total this season and struck out 16 batters, while walking seven.

Obviously, the reigning IL Pitcher of the Year and IL Rookie of the Year, Julio Teheran has been his usual self for the most part. Barring one start where he was on extended rest due to the Tim Hudson rehab appearances, Teheran has been solid. The ace of the staff is 2-1 with a 3.78 ERA and has struck out 13 batters through 16.1 innings of work. Teheran is rated the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball according to numerous sources including Baseball America and MLB.com.

The veteran of the staff, Todd Redmond has been consistently good as always. He is 1-2 on the year with a 2.61 ERA but has been dealing with a lot of tough luck. For instance, in his last start at Coolray Field, the righty allowed just one earned run and still took the loss. Currently, Redmond is second in the IL in strikeouts (27) with just 20.2 innings under his belt and he has only walked six batters this season. When his luck starts to turns for the better, watch out.

The bullpen consists of six remarkable Gwinnett pitchers who have an ERA below 3.00 in 2012. Anthony Varvaro has yet to allow a run in his short time with the club, after coming off a Major League rehab assignment. Dusty Hughes has an incredible 0.87 ERA through 10 innings of work, alongside a 1.05 WHIP. The southpaw is also tied with Gearrin for the team-lead in saves with two.  Jaye Chapman has a miniscule ERA at 1.74 so far, including a 0.87 WHIP and 11 strikeouts to just three walks through 10.1 innings pitched. Veteran of the bullpen Buddy Carlyle has been dominant so far in Triple-A. The righty owns a 1.80 ERA and has struck out 12 batters in 15.0 innings thus far. Right-hander Jason Rice possesses a 2.25 ERA this season through eight innings on the mound for the G-Braves. The former White Sox, Padre and Tampa Bay Ray Adam Russell has transitioned beautifully to the Gwinnett bullpen. The 6-foot, 8-inch righty is currently registering a 2.89 ERA, alongside a save and 11 strikeouts through nine and one-third innings of work.

The scary part is that this G-Braves team is leading the league in pitching and in first place before the bats have yet to awaken. Once the team is running on all cylinders, this G-Brave team is going to be more fun to watch than they already are. One fact remains unquestionable, the Atlanta Braves have a stockpile of hard throwers who are ready to get big league hitters out on a consistent basis whenever their time may arise.

By: Tony Piraro

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