Results tagged ‘ Melinda Pease ’

Video: Former G-Braves Flourishing in Atlanta

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Craig Kimbrel

The best closer in baseball title belongs to the former Gwinnett Braves farmhand Craig Kimbrel. This season with the Braves, the right-hander has recorded 30 saves (2nd in MLB) alongside an insane 1.35 ERA and 0.65 WHIP. He has struck out an impressive 67 batters in just 40.0 innings of work, while we has walked just 10 hitters all season.

The days of playing at Coolray Field on a regular basis are long gone for Kimbrel. The right-hander consistently registers between 97-99 mph on the radar gun, as is quickly becoming one of the most respected relievers in all of baseball. This former Gwinnett Brave is creating a path to greatness.

Freddie Freeman

Forever connected will Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman be in the minds of Braves fans. They both came up to Atlanta together after stellar Gwinnett career’s, and both set the league on fire upon their emergences. Freeman just lost the National League Rookie of the Year voting to his teammate, but was happy for Kimbrel nevertheless.

This season the first baseman is coming into his own, hitting .270 with 13 home runs, 61 RBI and 22 doubles with Atlanta. Not only is his offense on the rise, but his defense has never been better. Freeman, when on the field, has been one of the more consistent Braves this season. With time, he will grow into one of the most feared hitters in baseball.

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

Jason Heyward

The Braves prized product is finally producing in the way the Braves imagined when they drafted the 22-year old. This season Heyward has taken the next step in his career, further enhancing his growth in the game. Heyward is batting .270 with 15 home runs, 49 RBI, 18 doubles and 15 stolen bases alongside fantastic defense in right field.

He has become a full-time player in 2012, starting almost every game against left-handers as well. There is no question the future is still indeed very bright for Heyward, as he continues to scratch the surface of his immense talent.

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Mike Minor

Most fans probably assumed that the fourth name would be Tommy Hanson, however Mike Minor has been far more impressive at certain points this year. The southpaw had a rough start to 2012, but he has resurrected his season as he surges to the finish. The lefty is churning out quality starts as if they were going out of style. Minor has worked 6.0 innings or more in each of his last four starts, including striking out nine while he walked none in his sixth win this season during his last start against the Phillies.

The left-hander has trimmed his ERA to a respectable 5.17, alongside a 6-7 record with 98 strikeouts in 113.0 innings of work, yielding 42 free passes. The future ace of the Atlanta Braves rotation? Possibly. He could surprise you as most of these former G-Braves standouts have already done with early success in their young MLB careers.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts

By: Tony Piraro

Braves 2011 First Round Pick Joins Gwinnett

Left-hander Sean Gilmartin, Atlanta’s first round pick in the 2011 June free agent draft, has joined the Gwinnett Braves. The Atlanta Braves announced Gilmartin’s promotion from Double-A Mississippi to Gwinnett on Friday, July 27.

Gilmartin, 22, will make his Triple-A debut with the G-Braves after opening the season with Mississippi. In 20 games, all starts for the M-Braves, he compiled a 5-8 record and 3.54 ERA (47 ER in 119.1 IP). The southpaw struck out 86 batters while walking only 26 and held Southern League opponents to a .248 average (111-for-448).

His solid Double-A debut included back-to-back complete games on May 3 at Mobile (loss, 6.0 IP, 2 ER) and May 8 against Pensacola (win, 7.0 IP, 1 ER). Gilmartin threw a career-high 9.0 innings in a no-decision on July 6 vs. Jackson, striking out seven while allowing only a run on four hits. For that effort, he was named the Southern League Pitcher of the Week on July 8.

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

Gilmartin was drafted 28th overall in 2011 by the Braves out of Florida State University. He went a combined 2-2 with a 3.09 ERA in six starts between the Gulf Coast League and Class-A Rome in 2011. The Thousand Oaks, CA native began the year as the No. 5 ranked prospect in the Atlanta Braves organization according to Baseball America.

Gilmartin, wearing No. 56, will join the rest of his Gwinnett teammates on Friday night as they take on Durham in the finale of a four-game series. Left-hander Yohan Flande (4-7, 4.44) is scheduled to start for the G-Bravss, while the Bulls counter with right-hander Jim Paduch (5-8, 5.27) for a 7:05 PM scheduled first pitch. Listen to the broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play. The television broadcast will air on CSS.

Join the G-Braves in celebrating the 2012 Summer Olympics with Olympic Games Night on Friday night. The first 1,500 fans will walk away with a Cowbell presented by CSS. Post-game fireworks sponsored by WAGA Fox 5 Atlanta will follow the game. 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 & Dave Lezotte

Randall Delgado Heading to the Gwinnett Braves

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

Randall Delgado made his final start with the Atlanta Braves for the time being on Saturday. The right-hander started the second game of a doubleheader against the Washington Nationals. With the new Major League rule, when a team has a doubleheader, they can legally have 26 players on the roster to help the stress of the bullpen when playing two games in a day. With the emergence and addition of Ben Sheets to the Braves rotation, Delgado is the odd man out, for now.

The right-hander has been extremely solid during his first full MLB season, posting a 4-9 record with a 4.42 ERA in 17 starts for the Braves in 2012. Delgado has struck out 73 hitters and walked 42 amidst 91.2 innings of work. Opponents are batting .259 off Delgado this year.

Last season with Triple-A Gwinnett, Delgado registered a 2-2 record with a 4.15 ERA in four starts for the G-Braves. He struck out 25 batters while walking just 11 in 21.2 innings pitched for Gwinnett. He went 5-5 with a 3.84 ERA in 21 starts for the Double-A Mississippi Braves.

So far, the transition for Sheets has been better than the Braves ever imagined. The 34-year-old is exceeding expectations as he is 2-0 in his first two starts with zero signs of fatigue or rust settling in. This is a good problem to have for the Atlanta organization, as nobody has ever complained about having too much talented pitching within the organization. For Delgado, it is just a matter of being patient while waiting for his turn once again.

By: Tony Piraro

Rain Momentarily Delays Jurrjens’ Return to Braves

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

The wait is finally over for Jair Jurrjens and company, as the right-hander will rejoin the Atlanta Braves rotation on Friday night for a match-up in Boston against the Red Sox….However, you may have to wait an extra hour or so, as the game has already been delayed due to rain in the Boston area. Experts are saying the game should begin around 8:00 p.m. ET. Stay tuned.

The Atlanta right-hander Jurrjens (0-2, 9.37) will oppose Boston southpaw Jon Lester (4-4, 4.53) for a TBA first pitch from Fenway Park. It will be Jurrjens first appearance in a Major League game since April 23, when he started against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In that game, Jurrjens took the loss after allowing five runs on nine hits in just 3.0 innings of work, while he struck out nobody and walked one.

Gwinnett has been rotating players through Atlanta’s doors quite often in the last few days in an effort to keep every pitcher fresh. Anthony Varvaro was promoted in favor of G-Brave closer Cory Gearrin, meanwhile Todd Redmond just received his first career Major League call-up on Sunday as Julio Teheran was reassigned back to Gwinnett. Most of these moves are in conjunction with the Braves pitching injuries this season, including their most recent DL-bound pitcher, former Gwinnett standout Brandon Beachy.

This season, in nine starts with Gwinnett, Jurrjens is 3-4 with a 5.27 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, alongside 28 strikeouts and 12 walks in 56.1 innings of work. Jurrjens has surrendered a total of 39 runs (33 earned) on 68 hits in his limited time at Triple-A Gwinnett. The right-hander did go the distance once on the season for the G-Braves on May 11, against Toledo. Jurrjens went 7.0 innings for the complete game victory in the first game of a doubleheader, as he allowed just two runs on eight hits for the game.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

In his last three big league starts, Jurrjens is 0-1 with a 10.50 ERA amidst 12.0 innings pitched. The righty has struck out five and walked seven in that timespan. For his Major League career, Jair Jurrjens possesses a 50-35 record alongside a solid 3.58 ERA. He has a 488 career strikeouts and 252 walks in 718.2 total innings amassed over six Major League seasons.

The Atlanta right-hander led Major League baseball in wins (12) during the first half of the 2011 Major League Baseball regular season.  Unfortunately, Jurrjens finished last season with just 13 victories, winning one game after the All-Star break.

Jurrjens has come a long way since he was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 2003 MLB Amatuer Draft. Either way, it has been a long road for Jurrjens thus far, and it will get a bit longer as he travels to Boston for a meeting with one of the American League’s best teams on Friday night. Stay tuned to The G-Blog in the coming days for updates, breaking news and more.

By: Tony Piraro

First Place Indians Provide Huge Test for Gwinnett

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

The Gwinnett Braves began their nine-game homestand in eight days on Thursday night with a loss to Columbus. The G-Braves wound up losing the series 3-2 after sweeping the doubleheader from the Clippers, then dropped the next two contests. On Father’s Day the G-Braves were trailing by just one run for most of the game until late in the ballgame when the Gwinnett bullpen surrendered three runs. Columbus won the season-series with the G-Braves 5-3 after taking two of three from Gwinnett in Ohio earlier this month.

Monday the G-Braves welcome the International League West leading Indianapolis Indians to Lawrenceville for four games to conclude Gwinnett’s current nine-game homestand. The Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A affiliate is currently in first place in the IL West with an impressive 40-29 record. They lead the next closest team in the division, Columbus, by a staggering 7.5 games which is easily the biggest first place lead in the league.

The Indianapolis Indians are stacked with former Major League pitching talent such as; Rick VandenHurk, JoJo Reyes, Daniel Cabrera, Daniel McCutchen and Jeff Karstens just to name a few. Indianapolis will be one of the G-Braves toughest tests so far this season at home.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Sunday, June 17 Starting Line-up from Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Georgia:

The second place Gwinnett Braves continue the homestand with a four-game series against the IL West leading Indianapolis Indians on Monday night at Coolray Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM with G-Braves southpaw Jose Lugo (1-1, 3.30) set to make the spot-start against Indianapolis right-hander Rick VandenHurk (4-0, 1.14). The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play. The game will also air on CSS.

Indianapolis Indians (40-29, 1st IL West) vs Gwinnett (37-34, 2nd IL South) 

Monday is Kids Eat Free Monday, as all kids 12 and under will receive a voucher for a free hot dog, a bag of chips and a small soda. It’s also Splash Day at Coolray Field as the G-Braves recognize local swim teams. 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

Indianapolis Indians Batting Order:

1) Chase d’Arnaud, SS

2) Gorkys Hernandez, LF

3) Starling Marte, CF

4) Jeff Clement, 1B

5) Yamaico Navarro, 2B

6) Brandon Boggs, RF

7) Tony Sanchez, C

8) Anderson Hernandez, 3B

9) Rick VandenHurk, P

G-Braves Batting Order

1) Jose Constanza, LF

2) Luis Durango, CF

3) Tyler Pastornicky, SS

4) Ernesto Mejia, 1B

5) Felix Pie, RF

6) Ruben Gotay, 3B

7) Josh Wilson, 2B

8) J.C. Boscan, C

9) Jose Lugo, P

By: Tony Piraro

Interview: G-Braves 2012 All-Star Candidates

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

The Gwinnett Braves have been one of the best team’s in the International League this season, as the pitching staff has led the way. At one point in the season, the G-Braves staff was ranked No. 1 in the IL. The bats have come a long way as well, with Ernesto Mejia and Stefan Gartrell doing a great deal of the heavy lifting. However, with just over two months left in the regular season, the G-Braves find themselves in second place of the IL South and primed in a perfect position to make a run at the league title.

The 2012 All-Star voting concludes on Friday, June 22 so vote early and often for your favorite G-Braves players. Visit MiLB.com today or simply click this link to get your ballot started: http://www.milb.com/milb/events/asg/y2012/ballot/

I had a chance to sit down with a bunch of G-Braves players prior to their 10-game road trip last week to hear their thoughts and opinions on who is having an all-star type season. Respectfully, a majority of the G-Braves are worthy of consideration, however only a handful will make the team. That is why you, the fans, need to get over to MiLB.com and make your opinions known. Voting for the 2012 All-Star Game in Buffalo, New York concludes Friday, June 22. Click here to vote now.

Ernesto Mejia:

“We’re having a great season this year as a team. Julio Teheran is doing well, very well just like last year. He has more experience this year and I think he should be one of those players (all-stars),” said Mejia. “Jordan Parraz was having a good year, but he is hurt right now, so he may have to wait a little more. He was doing really good. Gartrell has a lot of RBI and home runs and has been helping the team a lot. Durango has a lot of stolen bases, he is leading the league so he deserves it too. We have a lot of good players. I’m doing really good right now too and I’m just working hard. It’s every players dream to go to the all-star game and I hope I can make it. I would go of course. I’m excited because it’s my first year in Triple-A. It would be awesome. This year I feel like I have more experience. Last year in Double-A I had a good season and back in winter ball too. In winter ball, the league is very tough. Sometimes its harder there because we have a lot of big league guys. That has helped me a lot and I’ve been working a lot more this year. Last year, I didn’t workout a lot during the season because it made me tired. But this year, I’m working with Matt (Parvis) in the gym and I think that is what’s keeping me healthy and stronger.”

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

Julio Teheran:

“The pitchers. I think everyone here can make it. I want to, but I know I’m not having my best season,” said Teheran. “I’m not trying to complain (about this season) and I continue working. I’ll try to make it (the all-star team) if I can. I made it last year, but I couldn’t go because I was in the Future Stars Game, which was a good experience for me. The Future’s (Game) was good. It was exciting for me. I want to go (2012 ASG in Buffalo). That would make me feel good.”

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

Luis Durango:

“I think this is a very good team. I like all the pitching and position players (for the All-Star Game). I like the team,” Durango said. “Nesto is having a good year. I like him, he’s a good player. I’d like that for him (making the team). What’s working for me is the stolen bases (23, 1st) and the little at-bats which has been good for me.”

Photo courtesy of Daniel Hamby

Dave Brundage:

“Gartrell’s had a heck of a month. Mejia has been absolutely on fire. Looking around, Durango leads the league in stolen bases,” said Brundage. “From an offensive standpoint, obviously Constanza was worthy of consideration when he was here. He did a great job in the leadoff spot and the No. 2 hole. What a tandem those two are and what a force they are in our line-up. We’ve been up there in the league leaders for pitching throughout. Cory Gearrin has solidified the front end of the bullpen and a lot of pitchers are deserving. You look at Redmond and how consistent he is, you hope he gets considered along the way. Just from a pitching standpoint, pitching is why we are where we are today. Yet, we don’t have tremendous numbers when they’re sizing up numbers, but you can look up and down our staff. Flande goes back-to-back shutouts and now he’s in the bullpen. It just goes to show you the strength of our ballclub lies with our pitching. Playing the game the right way with our speed, a little power, a lot of our guys our worthy of making an all-star team. At the same time, we do things as a team that’s where we are today.”

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Jaime Dismuke:

“Mejia. Constanza, but he’s not here. He’s doing bigger and better things right now,” Dismuke said. “Gartrell and Durango. This was my first year seeing Ernie (Mejia) and he’s solid, both offensively and defensively. He’s big and he moves well, that’s the surprising thing. Gartrell has done it in the past. He’s hit 20+ home runs the last three years in this league. At the end of the season, you’re going to look up (at the scoreboard) and he’s going to have the same numbers he had in the past. He started out slow, but he’s picked it up. Durango, you know speed kills. Speed never slumps and he does a good job from both sides of the plate. So, those are my choices right there.”

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Christian Marrero:

“I would say Mejia. Since the beginning of the year to now, he looks a lot better hitting wise. He’s making adjustments and helping the team out a lot. He’s having great at-bats and almost every at-bat is unbelievable,” said Marrero. “He gets the job done and I would say the same for Gartrell. He started off slow, but what he’s doing now is great for the team. Hitting balls hard and having great at-bats, him (Gartrell) and Mejia have put the team on their backs. Louis too, he nearly has 30 stolen bases already. He’s the one that sets the tone for us. Without him, those guys (Gartrell/Mejia) wouldn’t be able to have as many RBI. I just try to be ready if they put me in the line-up. If I’m out there, I’m going to give it 100-percent. If I’m not in the line-up, when it’s my time to pinch-hit, I make sure I’m ready and try to help the team out as much as I can. I’m comfortable everywhere. I’m feeling great in the outfield and at first base too. As long as I’m in the line-up, I’m happy. Redmond is getting hot right now. He’s doing really well. For relievers, I’d say the whole bullpen. Anybody could go from the bullpen. Cory (Gearrin) has been unbelievable, lights out. Buddy (Carlyle) too and Russell. And Chappy (Jaye Chapman), that’s why I say the whole bullpen (laughing).”

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Marty Reed:

“I think Redmond belongs on it. I’d say Julio (Teheran) belongs on it. He’s had some dominating games,” Reed said. “Cory Gearrin, without a doubt. Chappy (Jaye Chapman) should get in. If Varvaro had been here for awhile, he’d be a guy. I don’t know where we rank in pitching, third or fourth, there’s got to be a reason why our guys should have a good opportunity to get on that team. He (Flande) has put together some good starts too. There are going to be a lot of guys that are a coin flip because you’re also talking about how many other teams? If each team has two, then you’ve got too many pitchers. I think we’ve got probably five or six guys that deserve it and it could be any one of them. For me, Redmond is a lock in terms of consistency. Julio, in terms of a starter. There may be some guys who have had a better year, but his track record and he has had some dominating starts. Five guys would be pretty good.”

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

By: Tony Piraro

Anthony Varvaro Receives Call to Atlanta

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

In the most recent subtraction from the Gwinnett Braves roster, reliever Anthony Varvaro has been promoted to the Atlanta Braves, while Cory Gearrin has been reassigned to Triple-A Gwinnett. Gearrin returns to the G-Braves as their closer, as he has recorded six saves in eight opportunities already this season.

The G-Braves closer has been the most consistent pitcher on the staff this season, boasting a 3-0 record alongside a stunning 1.65 ERA. The righty has struck out 38 batters and walked just eight in 32.2 innings pitched in 2012. To say Gearrin has been lights out when he’s been on the mound this year is treading lightly.

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

Varvaro’s role in Atlanta’s bullpen has yet to be determined, however he has been on a tear for Gwinnett as of late. The right-hander struck out nine batters in his last 3.2 innings of work on the G-Braves recent 10-game road trip. He was the most dominant arm in the Gwinnett bullpen over the last two weeks.

This season with Gwinnett, Varvaro registered a 0-0 record with a 2.81 ERA after appearing in 18 games for Gwinnett. The righty struck out an incredible 35 batters, while walking just 12 amidst 25.2 innings of work. The Atlanta Braves had originally retroactively placed Varvaro on the disabled list prior to the start of the season. Thus making Varvaro’s numbers that much more impressive, considering he had a late start.

Varvaro made one spot-start for Gwinnett this season, in the second game of a doubleheader against Toledo in May. The righty lasted 3.0 innings, allowing two runs on six hits, alongside three strikeouts and yielded one walk en route to the no decision.

The St. John’s University alum was originally selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 12th round of the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft. In 2011, Varvaro appeared in 18 games for the Atlanta Braves out of the bullpen. The Queens, New York native recorded an impressive 2.63 ERA in 24.0 innings of work for Atlanta. Varvaro surrendered seven total runs on 15 hits and struck out 23 hitters while walking 11 last season. To say Varvaro has been prepared for this moment is an understatement.

Atlanta had been the hottest team in baseball coming into the New York Yankees series, winning six of their last seven decisions. However, the mighty New York bats silenced the Braves to a sweep at Turner Field. The Braves now find themselves in second place in the NL East, as they trail the Washington Nationals by an alarming 5.0 games. Entering the dog days of summer, Atlanta wants all the firepower they can handle out of their bullpen and this move is just an indicator of what’s ahead. Be prepared to see a lot of shifting between Gwinnett and Atlanta players in the coming months.

By: Tony Piraro

Medlen Faces His Toughest Test Tonight

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

6.12.12 GBraves Game Notes

Kris Medlen (0-1, 4.91) is expected to make his third start in a Gwinnett Braves uniform this season, as he will oppose the International League’s top team in the form of the Pawtucket Red Sox (40-25). The Paw Sox were the first team to reach the No. 10, 20, 30 and 40-win plateu already this season and they possess a 2.5 game lead on Lehigh Valley for first place in the IL North. The G-Braves (35-30) currently reside in second place of the IL South after losing 10 of their last 13 games.

Medlen is stretching out to become a starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and Tuesday night in Rhode Island should be the start that the G-Braves let him loose. Through his two previous starts for the G-Braves this season, the right-hander has yielded nine hits, four runs and has struck out eight while walking just two.

Medlen’s first start for Gwinnett was against the IL South leading Charlotte Knights on June 2. The righty was only allowed 60 pitches or four innings, whichever happened first. Medlen threw 66 pitches and lost the game after he allowed four runs on five hits in 2.1 innings of work. In his second start, the right-hander was given a little more freedom, working five scoreless innings en route to a no decision in Pennsylvania against Lehigh Valley on June 7.

Tuesday night should be the start that G-Braves manager Dave Brundage takes off the training wheels for Kris Medlen. It should be a good tune-up regardless, as the Paw Sox possess a great deal of Major League ready talent.

Former G-Brave Mauro Gomez and his 13 home runs, 43 RBI, 121 total bases and .296 batting average await Medlen, alongside his teammate who is one of the top prospects in baseball, Lars Anderson. The big first baseman has eight home runs and 34 RBI, alongside his 88 total bases this season, ensuring that it will be a great test for the Atlanta right-hander.

Don’t forget that Jose Constanza, J.C. Boscan and Julio Teheran are all back in G-Braves gear again. The three were sent back to Gwinnett on Monday, following their recent promotions to Atlanta. All three provided a much-needed boost to one of the best team’s in Major League Baseball. The Braves couldn’t be happier with their contributions either, as Atlanata has rattled off six wins in their last seven games.

Hopefully, Gwinnett’s offense will give Medlen some early support, as they did for Monday night’s winning starter Yohan Flande. The G-Braves drilled a season-high five home runs in the game and knocked around 14 hits in their 11-8 dismantling of the IL’s top team.

Lance Zawadzki led the charge with a 3-for-5 night, including two home runs. Ernesto Mejia lifted off for his team-leading 12th home run of the season, while Josh Wilson banged out his third homer of the year and Felix Pie registered his first home of the season. Medlen will be looking for much of the same from the G-Braves offense on Tuesday night as they oppose former Major League veteran and current Paw Sox right-hander Brandon Duckworth (6-1, 4.22). First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from McCoy Stadium.

By: Tony Piraro

1st Place G-Braves vs 2nd Place Charlotte Friday

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

The Gwinnett Braves looked for a series victory, but settled for a split after falling 14-4 to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in the series finale at Coolray Field on Thursday night. Starter Todd Redmond yielded four runs over 7.0 innings and exited in a 4-4 game, but the IronPigs scored 10 runs over the final two innings to win in a rout.

Early in the game, the G-Braves jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to Ernesto Mejia’steam-leading 40th RBI of the season, coming on a first-inning single scoring Felix PieChristian Marrero then laced an RBI single into right field scoring Mejia. Marrero finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs in the losing cause for Gwinnett. Pie doubled twice, finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored out of the leadoff spot. Wilson also went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and one run scored. Gwinnett tied the game, 4-4 in the seventh inning when Stefan Gartrell registered his second pinch hit of the season with an RBI single scoring Josh Wilson.

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

Charlotte Knights (30-25, 2nd IL South) vs Gwinnett (32-22, 1st IL South) 

Tyler Pastornicky returns to Gwinnett starting line-up after starring for the G-Braves during the 2011 season. He spent the entire 2012 season with the Atlanta Braves up until this point. The promotion of future phenom Andrelton Simmons forced Pastornicky down to Gwinnett and shifted Greg Paiml to Double-A Mississippi. Pastornicky will now take over as the everyday shortstop for Gwinnett moving forward.

The second place Knights are in two for two games in two days before heading to Charlotte for two more games against the G-Braves from June 3-4. Charlotte is hot as of late, winning seven of their last 10 games. The two teams each have four wins against the other this season with 13 games remaining in 2012.

6.1.12 GBraves Game Notes

Friday, June 1 Starting Line-up from Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Georgia:

The International League South-leading Gwinnett Braves (32-22) continue their 10-game homestand on Friday with the first of a two-game set against the South Division’s second place team, the Charlotte Knights (29-25). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM at Coolray Field. G-Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens (3-2, 4.85) is set to oppose Charlotte left-hander Charlie Leesman (4-4, 2.39). The game will be broadcast on radio on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

Friday night’s game is sponsored by 12 Stone and is “80’s Night”. A full 80’s playlist and clips from the best 80’s movies will be featured all night long at Coolray Field. After the game, stick around for Fox 5 Friday Fireworks, presented by WAGA Fox 5 Atlanta.

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 Melinda Pease

Charlotte Knights Batting Order:

1) Greg Golson – 2B

2) Tyler Kuhn – DH

3) Brent Morel – 3B

4) Dan Johnson – 1B

5) Hector Gimenez – C

6) Jordan Danks – CF

7) Jim Gallagher – LF

8) Dre Garcia – 2B

9) Ray Olmedo – SS

G-Braves Batting Order

1) Luis Durango – CF

2) Tyler Pastornicky – SS

3) Stefan Gartrell – LF

4) Ernesto Mejia – DH

5) Joey Terdoslavich – 3B

6) Felix Pie – RF

7) Christian Marrero – 1B

8) Josh Wilson – 2B

9) Jose Yepez – C

By: Tony Piraro

Interview: Atlanta Braves Legend John Smoltz

Major League legend John Smoltz stopped by Coolray Field Friday night to sign his book Starting and Closing, then I had the extreme pleasure of meeting the man afterward. All in all, it was a wonderful experience for all those involved as over 7,000 thrilled fans crossed through the gates in Lawrenceville. I was able to sit down and chat with Smoltz once all the commotion settled down and his book signing concluded. Here is what he had to say in part 1 of our 3-part interview…

The entire book signing process and interaction with the fans:

“This has been my eighth one (book signing appearance) so far, but this is by far, hands down, double anything that I’ve done in my other cities,” said Smoltz. “We went to Nashville which was great, Birmingham, Roanoke, New York, St. Louis….This was cool, plus I’d never been out here which is something I was embarrassed to say because of my schedule. Getting out here to see this place (Coolray Field) was great. Hopefully, days down the road I can watch games here and enjoy what you never get to enjoy when you’re in the mix of doing what you’re doing (playing Major League Baseball).”

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

The experience of writing a book:

“The experience was a pretty cool one. If the book never got published, to see the hands of life and how it all unfolded and the different paths people take, it was pretty cool,” Smoltz said. “I never thought I would do a book. I never dreamt about doing a book. There was no desire to a do a book, until I realized the timing and the message that I could literally get out there was for so many more people than just baseball (fans).”

Realizing when you wanted to write the book:

“It wasn’t until about six months ago, whatever it took to put the book together, we literally did it in that timeframe. I met Don Yaegar,” said Smoltz. “I always heard great things about him. I had been prompted and told to do a book but I said ‘no way.’ Then, finally it happened.”

The driving force behind wanting to do the book, Starting and Closing:

“I felt compelled in this day and age. Look, I’ve always wanted to fight for what’s right. I believe in being competitive,” Smoltz said. “The things that have happened in this sport are a small example of the things I’m talking about (in the book). A competitive balance is what we all strive for, but more importantly I played with and seen so many great athletes literally have exactly what I’m talking about in the book. The fear of failure and the not ability to get out of their comfort zone. They have been given a measure of talent and yet the fear of failing has caused them to not be as good as they can be. I also wanted to talk to the business world, teachers, you name it, whatever field…to dare to be great to get outside your comfort zone you have to experience some tension and that tension is going to cause you to either walk away from what you’re doing or move forward towards it (your goals). I’m trying to get people to understand how they can move toward it.”

Speaking about what drove him more during his playing career, the fear of failing or his competitive nature:

“I was never afraid to fail. That was the No. 1, that’s me. I don’t care what it is, I don’t care what arm angle. I was willing to use something immediately and failure could happen and that wasn’t going to stop me from going right out and becoming better,” said Smoltz. “My competitive drive that was instilled in me at a young age, I don’t know how…My dad was very competitive and I just always believed I always wanted to win. I always believe you should be your best no matter what the issue’s are, no matter what the circumstances are, but it seems like people always believe there has to be something at stake personally, financially, whatever. I didn’t care if it was a pick-up game. I didn’t care if I was by myself throwing a baseball against a wall, I was always putting myself in a position to be successful.”

When in the middle of answering the previous question, Smoltz had his back to the playing field. The game was going on between the G-Braves and Rochester Red Wings as we talked. All of a sudden, in the middle of discussing his competitive nature, there was a crack of the bat in the background….John Smoltz paused from his thought and muttered without hesitation, “that ball’s gone.” Indeed it was a home run off the bat of G-Braves third baseman Joey Terdoslavich as the former Atlanta legend called, thus illustrating what a special and unique human being John Smoltz is. By the way, he still has it.

Be sure to check out the G-Blog in the coming days for part 2 and 3 of our interview from Coolray Field on Friday night.

By: Tony Piraro

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