Results tagged ‘ Gwinnett Braves ’

Brian Snitker Interviewed on 92.9 The Game

Snitker PC

Brian Snitker answers questions at his January 23 press conference at Coolray Field (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

In case you missed it, new Gwinnett Braves Manager Brian Snitker was a guest on Mike Sammond’s radio show on 92.9 The Game last Saturday.  In the roughly 10-minute interview, Snitker talked about his move back to the minors, the challenges of managing and coaching third base simultaneously, his experience as the Major League third base coach for Bobby Cox and Fredi Gonzalez, the development of Braves’ top catching prospect Christian Bethancourt, his thoughts on Atlanta’s club in 2014 and more.

Click below to listen:  

-DL

G-Braves Introduce Manager Brian Snitker

Manager Brian Snitker and GM North Johnson.  Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden. (For full press conference video-click photo.)

Manager Brian Snitker and GM North Johnson.
Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden.

The Gwinnett Braves held a press conference on Thursday afternoon to introduce their new Field Manager Brian Snitker.

In front of local media, VIP guests and front office staff, Snitker officially took over as the new skipper of the Gwinnett Braves. He replaces Randy Ready, who left the organization after one season with the Braves. Snitker will serve as the third manager in Gwinnett Braves’ franchise history.

“This is a great opportunity for me,” said Snitker. “I live 14 miles from here. I have raised my kids here in Lilburn and Brookwood High School. My mom lives five minutes from here. This couldn’t be any better for me.”

Snitker, who last served as the third base coach for the Atlanta Braves, has plenty of managerial experience, spending 17 seasons with the Atlanta Braves organization. He posted a career 1140-1145 record while leading ten different affiliates from 1982 through 2006. In 1999 and 2000, he led the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to consecutive Carolina League Championships. After the 2006 season, Snitker joined the Atlanta Braves as their third base coach and served under Hall of Fame Manager Bobby Cox and current Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez.

“I got to work with two of the better managers in the game of baseball, Bobby Cox and Fredi Gonzalez,” said Snitker. “They were practically the same guy on how they handled situations, players and the adversity that people don’t see on an everyday basis.”

Atlanta Braves prospects from left to right: Aaron Northcraft, J.R. Graham, Gus Schlosser, Kyle Kubitza and Lucas Sims. Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden

Atlanta Braves prospects from left to right: Aaron Northcraft, J.R. Graham, Gus Schlosser, Kyle Kubitza and Lucas Sims. Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden

The thirty minute conference was lighthearted and fun, as Snitker was joined by General Manager North Johnson, Media Relations Manager Dave Lezotte and Atlanta Braves prospects Lucas Sims, Kyle Kubitza, J.R. Graham, Gus Schlosser and Aaron Northcraft. Snitker and the prospects fielded questions from the local media as well as Gwinnett Braves season ticket holders. Snitker will head to Spring Training as soon as pitchers and catchers report to Lake Buena Vista, FL at the beginning of February.

Season ticket holders and G-Braves staff. Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden

Season ticket holders and G-Braves staff. Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden

All in all, it was a great day to be at Coolray Field. With the beginning of the season approaching, Snitker is up for the job. Gwinnett kicks off the home schedule at Coolray Field on Friday, April 11th at 7:05 p.m. against the Durham Bulls. For more information on the G-Braves and Coolray Field, visit Gwinnettbraves.com, as well as our social media outlets at facebook.com/GwinnettBraves1 and twitter.com/GwinnettBraves!

-Juan Dorado

Tom Glavine: The First G-Brave in Cooperstown

Newly-minted Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tom Glavine pitched twice for Gwinnett in 2009.

Newly-minted Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tom Glavine pitched twice for Gwinnett in 2009 (Gwinnett Braves).

Though he played just two games with the club, legendary Atlanta Braves’ left-hander Tom Glavine is a former G-Brave.  With the announcement of Glavine as part of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2014 induction class yesterday, the Gwinnett Braves Baseball Club has its first member of Cooperstown.

Glavine, who will be enshrined in the Hall alongside rotation-mate Greg Maddux and their manager Bobby Cox on July 27, 2014, was ever-so-briefly a member of the Gwinnett roster in 2009.  The G-Braves were not quite two months into their inaugural season at then-named Gwinnett Stadium when Glavine came to town on a minor league injury rehab assignment.

Glavine had rejoined Atlanta as a free agent in 2008 after spending the previous five seasons with the New York Mets.  He went 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA in 13 starts that year, a campaign shortened by three trips to the disabled list.  A nagging left elbow strain ended the left-hander’s season in mid-August, and Glavine underwent surgery with Dr. James Andrews to repair a torn flexor tendon on August 21.  The 2009 season was to be the 43-year-old’s comeback from the only major injury of his career.

His first rehab outing came with Double-A Mississippi on April 12, 2009, a 2.0-inning start in which he allowed a run on three hits in a no-decision.  Though he was efficient with 26 strikes among his 36 pitches, Glavine wouldn’t take the mound again until late May.

It was on May 23, 2009 when Glavine made his Gwinnett Braves debut.  In front of a Gwinnett Stadium crowd of 9,294, he turned in 3.0 innings against Toledo, yielding three runs on five hits.  Two of those runs came on a two-run homer by Mud Hens’ first baseman Ryan Roberson in the third inning.  Glavine left in line to lose, but the G-Braves scored seven runs over the fourth and fifth innings to take a 9-3 lead.  Two scoreless frames from reliever Francisley Bueno and a rain storm that erupted prior to the sixth gave Gwinnett the 9-3 victory in a shortened five-inning contest.

Five days later, Glavine made his final appearance in a G-Braves uniform and provided one last glimpse of his legacy for the 5,571 in attendance.  He handcuffed the Indianapolis Indians to six hits over 5.0 scoreless innings, walking one while striking out two.  Glavine threw 67 pitches, 41 for strikes to earn the win as Gwinnett prevailed, 10-6.

Those two outings (1-0 with a 3.38 ERA) marked the whole of Glavine’s time as a G-Brave.  However, it was not his final outing in professional baseball.  The last start of his career came with the Class-A Rome Braves on June 2, 2009.  Glavine won that game as well, tossing 6.0 scoreless, three-hit innings, walking none and striking out two in a 3-0 blanking of Augusta.

Glavine’s rehab assignment ended after that game, as did his professional career.  Though he had been dominant in his last two minor league starts, the 22-year Major League veteran was released on June 3, 2009.  The following February, he officially retired from the game in order to join the Atlanta Braves’ broadcast team and serve as a special assistant to Braves’ president John Schuerholz.

Four years later, Glavine is rightfully headed to the Hall of Fame.  He goes in as a career 305-game winner, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, a 10-time All-Star, a World Series MVP and lastly, a former G-Brave.

Though Glavine is the first player to don the Gwinnett Braves uniform to reach the Baseball Hall of Fame, he’s not the only member of the 2014 class with ties to the Richmond/Gwinnett franchise.  Glavine, along with managers Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa, all spent time as players with the Richmond Braves.

Bobby Cox, Richmond Braves third baseman in 1967.

Bobby Cox, Richmond Braves third baseman in 1967 (left photo).

Long before his days in the Atlanta dugout, Cox was a Braves’ farmhand himself, playing in 99 games with Richmond in 1967.  A 26-year-old third baseman, Cox batted .297 with 17 doubles, four triples, 14 home runs and 51 RBIs for manager Luman Harris and the ’67 squad.  That team finished first in the International League with an 81-60 regular-season record before falling in the first round of the playoffs.

Tony La Russa played for Atlanta in 1971 and was a member of the Richmond Braves in 1972.

Tony LaRussa played for Atlanta in 1971 and was a member of the Richmond Braves in 1972.

LaRussa played second base for Richmond in 1972 and appeared in 122 games for the club led by manager Clyde King.  Like Cox, he was productive at the plate, hitting .308 with 13 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs and 42 RBIs.  The ’72 R-Braves finished sixth in the IL with a record of 65-78, missing the playoffs.

Glavine as a member of the Richmond Braves, likely during the 1987 season.  (Gwinnett Braves Archives)

Glavine as a member of the Richmond Braves, likely during the 1987 season. (Gwinnett Braves Archives)

And finally we’re back to Glavine, who also pitched for Richmond in 1986 and 1987.  After going 11-6 with a 3.41 ERA in 22 starts for Double-A Greenville in 1986, Glavine joined Richmond and went 1-5 with a 5.62 ERA in seven starts.  Though his numbers weren’t great, he contributed to a team that claimed the franchise’s second Governors’ Cup Championship.  A 21-year-old Glavine returned to manager Roy Majtyka’s club in 1987, and despite a tough-luck 6-12 record, posted a respectable 3.35 ERA and four complete games in 22 starts.  That would be his last non-rehab stint in the minor leagues, as he joined the Atlanta Braves that same season and became a Major League mainstay in 1988.

While Cox, LaRussa and Glavine are going into the Hall based on the merits of historic Major League careers, each began their journey to Cooperstown in the minor leagues.  For a moment in time, those journeys intersected with the rich history of the Richmond and Gwinnett Braves franchise.

-DL

New on the 40: Ryan Buchter

Yesterday, I delved a bit into the background of right-hander Wirfin Obispo, the hard-throwing Gwinnett Braves closer who was just added to the Atlanta Braves’ 40-man roster last Friday.  Today, it’s time to do the same for the other newest 40-man addition, left-hander Ryan Buchter.

The 26-year-old Buchter emerged as a bullpen force for the G-Braves last season, compiling a 4-0 record and a 2.76 ERA in 51 relief appearances.  In addition to converting all five of his save chances, the southpaw also ranked among International League relief leaders in strikeouts per 9.0 IP ratio (1st, 14.95) and lowest opponent batting average (3rd, .168).  Buchter’s most impressive work came down the stretch as he posted a 0.00 ERA over his final 14 appearances in August and September.

Much like Obispo, Buchter’s “breakout” season in 2013 came after a well-traveled start to his career.  Originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 33rd round of the 2005 draft, the New Jersey native has already been traded twice.  The Nationals dealt him to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for right-hander Matt Avery in 2008, and the Cubs moved him to Atlanta in a deal for right-hander Rodrigo Lopez in 2011.  Amid the ever-changing scenery, including stops in eight different leagues, Buchter put together All-Star seasons in the Class-A Midwest League in 2009 and the Double-A Southern League in 2010.

Buchter’s travels and subsequent learning experiences were featured in a story I wrote for the final regular-season issue of Tomahawk Talk last year.  In it, he reflected on his unlikely discovery by the Nationals, the benefits of being traded, his confidence gained from the 2012 Arizona Fall League, his “rollercoaster” 2013 season in Gwinnett and more.

Ryan Buchter, photo by Karl Moore / Gwinnett Braves.

Ryan Buchter, photo by Karl Moore / Gwinnett Braves.

Buchter Breaks Out

Left-hander Ryan Buchter has emerged as a go-to arm out of the Gwinnett Braves bullpen in 2013

by Dave Lezotte (published in Tomahawk Talk, August 26, 2013)

He may not qualify as the biggest prospect arm on the Gwinnett Braves’ roster, but what left-hander Ryan Buchter has been able to do in his first full Triple-A season is nothing short of impressive.  The New Jersey native has held International League hitters to a .178 batting average, striking out 83 over 51 innings in 42 outings this year.

Buchter’s professional career, including stops with the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs organizations, has always been a bit under-the-radar.  Even his signing by Washington came about almost on accident.

“It was a mistake,” said Buchter about his discovery by the Nationals.  “I ended up pitching against somebody who was being scouted already.  I kind of outpitched him, and it all started from there.”

The pitcher being scouted by both the Nationals and the Cubs was Winslow Township High School right-hander Chris Rollins.  The Nationals passed on Rollins in the 2005 First Year Player Draft, but took Buchter in the 33rd round out of Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, NJ.

A draft-and-follow selection, Buchter attended Gloucester County Community College in nearby Sewell, NJ before starting his professional career in 2006 at age 19.  His first two seasons as a Nationals’ farmhand were anything but successful.  In his first year in the Gulf Coast League, he went 1-1 with a 7.24 ERA in 11 games, one start.  The next year, he went 1-2 with a 6.82 ERA at Short-A Vermont.  He finally showed some promise in 2008, going 4-2 with a 2.59 ERA in 17 games between the GCL and Class-A Hagerstown, but was traded away after the season.

The Nationals dealt Buchter to the Cubs in exchange for right-hander Matt Avery on November 3, 2008.  The change of scenery proved to be a turning point in his career.

“Getting traded kind of jump-started me,” said Buchter about the move to the Cubs.  “It made me take a different path in my career.  I started to work a little harder that off-season and it started to show right away.  From there, I kept building and building.  I attribute (my success) to being traded and not wanting to let the new team down.”

With his career refreshed in a new organization, Buchter put together two award-winning seasons in the Cubs’ system.  In 2009, he made his first professional All-Star Game, going 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA and five saves in 38 games for the Peoria Chiefs of the Class-A Midwest League.  A year later, he was an All-Star again in the Double-A Southern League, going 7-2 with a 4.65 ERA in 47 games for the Tennessee Smokies.  His third campaign as a Cub began with mixed results as he split time between Tennessee and Advanced-A Daytona, but another shakeup was imminent.

On May 26, 2011, Buchter was traded for the second time.  The Cubs sent him to Atlanta in exchange for 35-year-old right-hander Rodrigo Lopez.

“I was just sent down to High-A to iron out some kinks,” reflected Buchter on the time of the trade.  “I started throwing well in Daytona with the intention of (moving back up) to Double-A or Triple-A.  When I got traded, (Daytona manager Buddy Bailey) pulled me aside and said ‘I have good news and bad news for you.  The good news is, you’ve been traded.  The bad news is, you’re going back to High-A.’  That was a difficult thing to handle.”

Buchter started his Atlanta Braves’ career with Advanced-A Lynchburg, going 2-5 with a 3.59 ERA and a career-high 15 savs in 2011.  In 2012, he moved on to Double-A Mississippi, returning to the Southern League for the first time since pitching with Tennessee.  Facing familiar competition, he boasted a 3-1 record, 1.31 ERA and four saves in 35 relief outings for the M-Braves.

“I just went out and did what I knew I could do,” said Buchter about his success.  “Just give me an opportunity and I’ll pitch and throw well, especially late in the game.  I embraced the role I was being used in, seventh, eighth, sometimes ninth (inning) and it worked out.”

His stint with Mississippi worked out for a late-season promotion to Gwinnett for his Triple-A debut.  Buchter went 0-2 with a 10.12 ERA in nine outings for the G-Braves, indicating that he still needed some refinement.  A trip to the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League and an extended look in Braves’ Major League camp during the spring helped him regain confidence.

“It helped me iron out some bad habits that I created when I came up here (to Gwinnett),” said Buchter about his fall and spring assignments.  “It made me realize that I can get anybody out.  I can get the prospects out; I can get the big league guys out.  Once you realize that, I don’t want to say the game becomes easier, but you start to have a little more faith in yourself.”

Buchter began his 2013 season on Gwinnett’s Opening Day roster and was nearly unhittable early, postin a 1.00 ERA in nine April outings.  He came back down to earth in the summer months, going 0-0 with a 4.58 ERA in 28 games from May through July, but found his best stuff in August.  Through his first seven games, he went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and one save.

“It’s been a pretty fun rollercoaster,” said Buchter about 2013.  “With pitching, it’s easy to be a perfectionist and want to go out and pick yourself apart for giving up a walk or giving up a hit.  Sometimes the hardest thing is to realize that if you throw up a zero (no runs), it’s actually a good inning no matter what else happens.”

He’s had plenty of those good innings lately for Gwinnett, most of them in pivotal spots.  With the departure of closer Cory Rasmus to the Los Angeles Angels in a July trade, Buchter has been given more opportunities to pitch with late leads and in save situations.  Pitching in tight ballgames is something he relishes.

“The game’s a little more fun when you’re out there and you’re up by one, down by one and you know your team needs you to throw up a zero,” said Buchter.  “It’s something that I’ve learned to embrace and I look forward to a one-run game.  I get a little antsy in the bullpen hoping they’ll call down and say my name, that way I get a chance to come in.”

Buchter has climbed to the top of the league in relief strikeouts thanks to a fastball that sits in the mid-90’s and a willingness to challenge hitters with it.  For the left-hander, getting ahead in the count quickly is the key to his prolific strikeout numbers.

“If I get ahead, a lot of times my success rate is a lot higher than a lot of guys,” said Buchter.  “Get strike one, and then I try to pitch to one side of the plate for righties and lefties.  If I get two strikes on a guy, then I’ll try to put him away.  It’s a very simple game plan.  A lot of fastballs; then I’ll mix the cutter in and then try to put them away with the breaking ball.”

Buchter’s professional career started with an unlikely discovery, progressed with three different organizations and has resulted in a 2013 season that has him closer than ever to the Major Leagues.  While he waits for a shot at Atlanta’s bullpen, he remains optimistic and focused.

“Obviously, you’re waiting for your turn, and for a lot of bullpen guys, it’s luck,” said Buchter.  “It’s luck and what the team has planned for you.  They may have a plan for you, they might not, but you’ve got to continue to stay focused on the task at hand down here (in Gwinnett).  It’s good to just keep your mind on things down here and do your job every day.  If you don’t do your job here, they’re not going to be looking for you anyway.”

The Atlanta Braves will certainly be giving Buchter a long look when Spring Training starts up in February.  For the first time in his career, he has the stability that comes from being on a Major League 40-man roster.

-DL

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (51-69) vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs (60-60)

Mejia (Cooper)

Mejia (Cooper)

Fri: LHP Yohan Flande (7-6, 4.42) vs. RHP David Buchanan (1-0, 2.57)

Sat: RHP Cody Martin (2-3, 2.96) vs. LHP Greg Smith (6-2, 2.50)

Sun: RHP David Hale (6-6, 2.99) vs. LHP Adam Morgan (1-5, 4.05)

Mon: RHP Omar Poveda (5-7, 3.42) vs. LHP Tom Cochran (3-6, 5.70)

The Gwinnett Braves enter the series coming off back-to-back one-run victories over the Norfolk Tides, while Lehigh Valley has dropped two straight games. The IronPigs have slipped to fourth place in the North Division and sit two games out of the Wild Card lead.

Batters: The G-Braves offense has been held to four runs or less in their last eight games. They have found a way to win three of those games, but runs are at a premium for the Braves… Ernesto Mejia will try to carry the offense. In his last contest, he hit a game-winning home run against the Norfolk Tides. On the season, he has belted 28 dingers, while hitting .243 (95-for-391) with a league-leading 77 RBI. Stefan Gartrell has carried a hot bat the last five days. In four games, he is hitting .417 (5-for-12) with a solo homer.  

Pitchers: In the last six games, the pitching staff has allowed 12 runs (11 earned), while logging 47 innings on the mound. They have posted a 2.11 ERA in that span, allowing 32 hits, 13 walks and striking out 41… Yohan Flande has led the way, winning three straight contests and being named IL Pitcher of the Week last week. In his last three starts, he has gone 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA (3ER/23IP), while fanning 15 and issuing one walk. He will try to improve to improve on his 7-6 mark, as he takes the ball in game one.

Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Batters: The IronPigs lineup features multiple table-setters and one big bopper in Cody Oberdeck. The first baseman leads the team in homers (19), runs (51) , RBI (58) and possesses a .265 (99-for-373) batting average…. Cesar Hernandez is one of the table-setters at the top of the lineup. The No. 15 prospect in the Phillies organization according to Baseball America is having a stellar campaign with the IronPigs. In 87 games, he is hitting .310 (104-for-335) with 11 doubles, eight triples, two homers and 31 RBI.

Pitchers: The pride of Georgia State University, David Buchanan, will take the ball in game one of the series. The right-hander made his Triple-A on 8/4, tossing seven innings, scattering six hits, allowing two runs and striking out four en route to his first career Triple-A victory. The Atlanta, GA native will have a large crowd in attendance, as he pitches in his home state for the first time in his career since being drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 First Year Player Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Brundy’s Back: Dave Brundage returns to Coolray Field for the first time since taking the managerial job with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. He was the first manager in G-Braves history.

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (45-61) vs. Charlotte Knights (48-58)

Hale (Makensie Cooper)

Hale (Makensie Cooper)

Fri, July 26: RHP David Hale (4-5, 3.03) vs. RHP Zach Stewart (5-10, 4.91)
Sat, July 27: RHP Omar Poveda (5-6, 3.30) vs. LHP Charlie Leesman (2-1, 3.62)
Sun, July 28: RHP Joe Bisenius (3-3, 5.83) vs. TBA
Mon, July 29: TBA vs. RHP Jason Berken (8-9, 3.85)

Gwinnett dropped their last two at Durham, losing the road-home series three games to one. Charlotte is on a roll of late, winning their last three games and taking sole possession of third place in the South Division.

Batters: Since rejoining the G-Braves, Tyler Pastornicky has hit in four straight games. In his last four games, he is hitting .462 (6-for-13) with one run scored and two RBI. On the season, he is batting .317 (78-for-246) with 13 doubles, two triples, four homers and 27 RBI for Gwinnett… Todd Cunningham returned from a minor hip flexor strain on fire. In three games, he is hitting .455 (5-for-11) with a double and three runs scored. He has been a sparkplug, taking over the leadoff spot since returning to the lineup. In 20 games as the leadoff hitter, he is batting .280 (21-for-75) with two doubles, one triple and two RBI.

Pitchers: David Hale will get the ball in the opener. In his last seven starts, he is 3-2 with a 1.12 ERA (5 ER/40.1 IP) and a 1.16 WHIP. Hale won his first career Triple-A contest against the Charlotte Knights on 4/6, tossing five innings of two-run ball. Omar Poveda continues to have solid starts for the G-Braves. In his last contest, he went six innings, allowing seven hits and two runs in a 2-1 loss to Indianapolis. Poveda leads the squad with 13 quality starts.

Charlotte Knights
Batters: Charlotte has had a rough time against the G-Braves, posting a .251 (98-for-390) batting average, while striking out 105 times… Steve Tolleson leads the team in hitting, batting .292 (83-for-284) with six homers and 43 RBI. However, the infielder has struggled against the G-Braves, posting a .238 (10-for-42) batting average… Mike McDade fared well against the Braves in their two game series three weeks ago. In two games, he went 3-for-7 with two walks. On the season, he is hitting .257 (82-for-319) with eight homers and 42 RBI.

Pitchers: Zach Stewart is having a tough season. Originally the opening day starter for the Knights, the right-handed hurler has posted a 5-10 record with a 4.91 ERA. The long ball has been one of his problems, as he has issued 13 in 20 starts… Charlie Leesman suffered a huge setback last season, tearing his ACL in an International League playoff game; however, he has come back strong in 2013. In 11 starts for the Knights, he is 2-1 with 3.62 ERA. He has struck out 54 in 59.2 innings, while walking 25 batters. Last season he was 12-10 with a 2.45 ERA.

Knight Tales: Charlotte enters play 7.5 games back of the Wild card spot. They will need a big weekend against the G-Braves, as they have lost eight of 12 against Gwinnett.

Gwinnett Braves (42-57) vs. Indianapolis Indians (61-39)

Wood (Lofton)

Wood (Lofton)

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.

-Jd-

Brandon Beachy vs. Jair Jurrjens

Beachy (Moore)

Beachy (Moore)

Often times, in a game that involves so much turnover, it’s common to see former teammates square off. On Tuesday night at 6:05 PM at Coolray Field, Atlanta Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy will make his fourth rehab start with the Gwinnett Braves against former Brave and now Norfolk Tides hurler, Jair Jurrjens. This will be the first time that both pitchers will meet in a head-to-head matchup.

In 2011, Jurrjens stared for the Atlanta Braves, posting a 12-3 record with a 1.87 ERA in the first half of the season. He led the league in wins and was second in ERA, as he headed to his first career All-Star game. His fast-paced start was eventually slowed by injuries, finishing the season 1-3 with a 5.88 ERA.

The right-hander ended the season, with a solid 13-6 record with a 2.96 ERA. However, is downward slide gave a pitcher like Beachy an opportunity to take his roster spot. While in 2011, both were rotation mates, it didn’t take long for Beachy to surpass Jurrjens on the Braves depth chart. In the second half of the 2011 campaign, the Kokomo, IN native went 4-2 with a 4.12 ERA, while striking out 91 in 74.1 innings.

Beachy carried over his success to the next season. In 13 games in 2012, he was tied for the Major League lead with a 1.98 ERA and led the Majors with a .171 opponent batting average prior to suffering a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on June 16.

 In light of the injury, Jurrjens had an opportunity to regain his spot in the Atlanta Braves’ rotation, but he went 3-2 with a 5.63 ERA in his seven games after Beachy’s injury. Jurrjens would scuffle through Triple-A Gwinnett and Atlanta the rest of the way, going a combined 7-10 with a 5.74 ERA. At the end of the season, the Braves organization didn’t not pickup Jurrjens’ option and their once promising young star was let go.

While, Beachy is working his way through rehab, Jurrjens is trying to regain the form that earned him an All-Star Game invitation in 2011. In 15 starts with the Norfolk Tides, affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, he is 5-6 with 4.38 ERA. He has made two MLB starts, but was roughed up to the tune of an 0-0 record with a 4.91 ERA.

 -JD-

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (38-53) vs. Norfolk Tides (48-42)

Bisenius (Karl Moore)

Bisenius (Karl Moore)

Mon, July 8: RHP Joe Bisenius (2-1, 5.87) vs. LHP Jake Pettit (3-1, 2.37)
Tue, July 9: TBA vs. RHP Jair Jurrjens (5-6, 4.38)
Wed, July 10: RHP Cody Martin (2-1, 1.38) vs. TBA
Thu, July 11: RHP Kameron Loe (3-2, 2.97) vs. LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (2-4, 5.14)

The Gwinnett Braves are off to a slow start in their current homestand, dropping three of their first four games. Despite holding the No.1 offense in the International League, the Durham Bulls, to one run during their two-game series, the G-Braves only came away with one victory.

Batters: With Ernesto Mejia sidelined with a sore hamstring, the G-Braves have had to rely on others to take care of the offensive load… However, the Braves have scored five runs in their last five games, while being shut out three times… Luis Nunez has been the best hitter during that span, hitting .267 (4-for-15) with one run… Sean Kazmar and Jose Yepez have driven in two apiece during that span…

Pitchers: After getting routed 13-0 on Wednesday night at Norfolk, the pitching staff has been sharp during their current homestand. They have allowed nine runs, eight earned in 36 innings, while scattering 31 hits… Kameron Loe is the only pitcher to collect a victory during this homestand. On 7/7, he tossed five innings of scoreless ball, scattering three hits and striking out two. His night was washed away, as a 51-minute rain delay impeded his chances from returning to the game… Mark Lamm made his Triple-A debut on Saturday, recording two innings of shutout ball and picking up a hold…

G-Bites: Since being optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday, Cory Gearrin has not appeared in a game.

Norfolk Tides lead the Wild Card race, ahead of the streaking Rochester Red Wings (47-45), by 2.0 games and sit 7.5 games behind the front-running Durham Bulls (56-35) in the South Division.

Batters: Jason Pridie is having a great season, hitting .300 (91-for-303) with 21 doubles, three triples, 11 homers and 43 RBI. He has tormented G-Braves’ pitching, hitting .326 (14-for-43) with four doubles, one triple, one homer and nine RBI…L.J. Hoes has been even better, the fleet-footed outfielder is batting .353 (12-for-34) with one double, one homer and six RBI against Gwinnett in 2013.

Pitchers: Triple-A All Star and former G-Brave, Jairo Asencio is having a fantastic season in 2013. In 33 games, he is 4-0 with a 2.21 ERA, converting 19 of 24 save opportunities. In five games against the G-Braves this season, he is 0-0 with four saves, while striking out six and allowing one run… Game two will feature former G-Brave and Atlanta Braves hurler, Jair Jurrjens. Jurrjens has made a few starts for the Baltimore Orioles, but has spent most of the season with the Tides. In 15 starts, he is 5-6 with a 4.38 ERA.

Off-Shore: The Tides have dominated the G-Braves in 2013, posting an 8-2 record against their South Division foes.

-Jd-

Cory Gearrin Optioned to Gwinnett

Ayala (Roughgarden)

Ayala (Roughgarden)

The Atlanta Braves have optioned right-handed reliever Cory Gearrin to Triple-A Gwinnett, effective Friday, July 5. Right-hander Luis Ayala will take his place on the 25-man Major League roster as he has completed his rehab stint with Gwinnett. To make room for Gearrin on the G-Braves’ roster, the Braves have announced that left-hander Cole McCurry has been released.

The 27-year old Gearrin had been with the Atlanta Braves the entire season prior to being optioned to Gwinnett on Friday. In 37 appearances with the Braves, the right-hander was 2-1 with a 3.77 ERA (13 ER in 31.0 IP). He recorded his first career Major League save on May 20 vs. Minnesota. Despite strong outings early in the year, Gearrin had appeared in just seven games since the end of May, going 0-0 with a 12.00 ERA (8 ER in 6.0 IP) in that span.

The Chattanooga, TN native will return to Gwinnett for his fourth career stint with the club. From 2010 through 2012, Gearrin was one of the top workhorses out of the G-Braves’ bullpen. He appeared in 126 games, posting a 10-9 record with a 2.63 ERA (54 ER in 185.0 IP) and 13 saves in 16 chances. Gearrin was named to the 2012 Triple-A All-Star Game after going 3-1 with a 1.25 ERA and seven saves in 28 games prior to the break. Following the season, he was named Gwinnett’s Pitcher of the Year by the Atlanta Braves.

Gearrin is in his seventh professional season with the Atlanta Braves organization. He was originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2007 First Year Player Draft out Mercer University (Macon, GA).

Replacing Gearrin on Atlanta’s 25-man roster will be Ayala, who will return to the Major Leagues for the second time this year. The right-hander had been on the Braves’ disabled list since April 30 with anxiety disorder and had made 11 minor league rehab appearances between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. With Gwinnett, he went 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA (6 ER in 8.1 IP) in eight outings. Before being placed on the disabled list, Ayala was 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five games with Atlanta.

McCurry went 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA (21 ER in 33.0 IP) and two saves in 20 relief appearances with Gwinnett this season. He also pitched with Double-A Mississippi, going 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA (3 ER in 8.0 IP) in four games, one start.

The Gwinnett Braves return to action on Friday night at 7:05 PM against the Charlotte Knights. Right-hander

Cody Martin (2-0, 1.29) will start for the G-Braves, while right-hander Jason Berken (6-8, 3.95) will counter for the Knights.

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