A few Braves-related notes came across the wire this week:
- For starters, Jair Jurrjens had successful knee surgery today. (See what I did there?) Dr. James Andrews operated on the 24-year old Jurrjens, who had a slight tear in his meniscus. JJ’s injury troubled 2010 season started in spring training, when he needed an MRI for his shoulder, and continued with an early hamstring injury which cost him most of May and June. All told, JJ was only able to make 20 starts on the year. With this successful surgery, hopefully the Braves’ ace-in-waiting can move forward from what was, essentially, a lost season.
- Speaking of moving on, the Braves said farewell to the worthless Melky Cabrera, releasing him outright today. After hitting .255/.317./.354 and turning in some of the worst outfield defense anyone has ever seen, Melky will not be missed. The fact that Cabrera’s contract was up for arbitration made it a no-brainer, Frank Wren told Mark Bowman. “With the arbitration situation, we knew that he would likely only be around for one year.” One year too many, Frank.
- Also getting released today was 40-year-old setup guy Takashi Saito. Saito’s one-year contract was due to run out anyway. This move simply allows him to hit free agency earlier.
Melky .gif source
Derrek Lee's grand slam propelled the Braves to a sweep, and prompted one lone Braves fan to lose his mind in Citi Field's nosebleeds. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Update: At 3:25 PM, the team announced that Jair Jurrjens will be replaced with rookie Brandon Beachy.
First things first, I had a great time at Citi Field (gorgeous park and relatively reasonable concessions prices) on Sunday. Mainly because with the Jets playing at home, no Mets fans showed up and my gal and I had the entire section to ourselves. As the only person within ten rows of me, I was able to stand up and clap obnoxiously loud after Derrek Lee’s grand-slam. The duration of my one-man ovation was excessive, but it’s not like I was outnumbered or anything. While sweeping the Mets was fun, important business awaits.
Posted in Atlanta Braves, Major League Baseball
Tagged Brandon Beachy, Braves, CitiField, Cole Hamels, debut, Derrek Lee, injury, Jair Jurrjens, Mike Minor, MRI, October, pennantrace, Phillies, pitching, probables, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, seriespreview, standings, stretchrun, Tommy Hanson, wildcard
Jair Jurrjens allowed four runs in five innings of work as the Braves fell to the Nationals on Monday. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Since I’m too depressed to come up with a snappy lede, here’s the news: Philadelphia won, Atlanta lost. Phillies are now up two games in the division. Cole Hamels pitched another gem for the Phillies, while Jair Jurrjens pitched another non-gem at The Ted. (Remember when JJ was lights out at home? Can we get that JJ back please?) Continue reading
Posted in Atlanta Braves, Major League Baseball
Tagged Atlanta Braves, Cole Hamels, Jair Jurrjens, Livan Hernandez, Nationals, October, Pennant, Phillies, race, standings
Because it’s Friday, and you ain’t got nuthin’ else to do, go ahead and check out these here links.
-In a cruel twist of fate for all involved, Derrek Lee will make his Braves debut Friday afternoon, in Chicago of all places. Carroll Rogers reports that D-Lee will be in uniform when the Braves open a three-game set with the Northsiders at Wrigley. After a seven-year relationship, Cubs fans get to watch Lee play for one more weekend before parting ways for good. This is gonna be awkward. Continue reading
Posted in Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Major League Baseball, NFL
Tagged Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Derek Lowe, Derrek Lee, Jair Jurrjens, Kroy Biermann, MLB, Roddy White
David J. Phillip, AP
Saying he “heard a distinct pop” in his left knee (the same one that he tore up in 1994) after making a routine play, Chipper Jones dropped to the ground and stayed there for a while during Tuesday night’s win over the Astros. The MRI results were positive, according to David O’Brien, and Chip’s hopeful that it’s only a sprain. Knowing Chipper, a sprain could still sideline him for the next two months, but at least there is some possibility that we can get him back on the field shortly. Still, seeing your injury-prone, 38-year-old franchise player lying in a heap at third base is always a scary situation.
Roy Oswalt is a nice addition to the Philly rotation. But is it enough to catch the Braves?
After winning their eighth straight game the other night, the Phillies have closed the gap to 2.5 games. Oh and they traded for Roy Oswalt. Congrats.
They still don’t scare me.
The Phillies were bound to close the gap on Atlanta at some point. I’m neither surprised or impressed that it’s happening. Yes, Philly is playing well, but the Braves have done their part in seeing that the lead got dwindled.
Wags has blown a pair of saves in the last week, the Braves have dropped a few they could have won, yada yada yada. But the Phillies were expected by everybody to close the gap at some point, right? It’s about time they made this a race again; it only took them 2 months.
They made a bold move with the Oswalt acquisition, but I don’t think it necessarily gives them an advantage over Atlanta in the pitching department.
Ace in the making Jair Jurrjens is back, while Hawks guard Joe Johnson might be gone.
The NBA free-agency doomsday clock is one day closer to zero. Teams can’t officially announce anything until July 8, but they began to actively pursue players tonight. As you might have heard, this is the greatest free agent class ever. Not just in NBA history, but in all of sports.
Joe Johnson isn’t quite at the top of that list, but he’s somewhere in the top 5-8 range of players on the open market. The consensus for weeks has been that Joe will leave, but the Hawks seem intent on persuading him to stay. As Michael Cunningham reports, the plan for ASG going into today was to offer Joe a max. deal as soon as the clock hit midnight.
- So, you know how Jair Jurrjens was supposed to make his spring debut last night? It got rained out, so he’s pitching this afternoon instead. JJ will go for two innings, and then Tommy Hanson will take over. Oh, and that one guy who’s really good, Haywood, or Heyward, or something like that, he’s back in the lineup too.
- The Hawks got a rare W on the road last night, beating the lowly Wizards 106-99. The team looked lost defensively at times and again got abused on the glass, but it was a road victory nonetheless. Michael Cunningham listed some of the negatives from the lackluster performance.
- The “Joe to the Knicks” rumors persist. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News says there is already a “wink-wink” deal in place between Joe’s agent and Knicks GM James Dolan, noting that the two have been friends for 20 years. Thankfully, I don’t need to tell you how preposterous of a claim that is, because PeachtreeHoops has already done so:
After thinking for about four minutes on this Joe Johnson to the New York Knicks in a “wink, wink deal” because his agent has known Donnie Walsh for 20 years, I have decided it is a bit ridiculous. Not because Joe would never go to the Knicks, but for the reason given. Does Joe Johnson care about who his agent knows? Does he care about who he is friends with? Is that why he has an agent? No, Joe has an agent to get the most money at the place he most wants to be.
- Mark Bradley also weighs in on the “JJ 2010 Sweepstakes”, including quotes from three separate NY papers speculating about the subject. Hilarious that Knicks fans and media have already resigned themselves to the fact that LeBron probably isn’t coming, and have already lowered their standards.
My take: If Joe Johnson decides to play elsewhere next season, I’ll be crushed. I’ve stated this before, he’s easily my favorite player. I love everything about Joe, his quiet demeanor, his humility, his refusal to act like a superstar, everything. Even his name is awesome to me. He chose to come here, he wanted to carry this team, and he’s done so with incredible consistency. I don’t know what I will do if I see him in anything but Atlanta Hawk red-n-blue next year.
But I do know this, should he flee the team in free-agency, I won’t be because of some 20-year friendship his agent has with the Knicks’ GM. And it won’t be because he used to play for Mike D’Antoni. It will be because the Knicks (or whichever other team is foolish enough) will offer him more money than the Hawks are currently prepared to give. Joe has made it clear he wants a maximum deal, something greater than the 4-year, $60 million extension he turned down last summer. Rick Sund is leery of giving Joe a max contract (with ownership of his Larry Bird rights, the Hawks can offer Johnson a 6-year deal worth over $120 million, no other team can exceed 5-years or $105 M) and justifiably so, because with so many other young players a few years behind him on the collision course to free-agency, it could cripple the franchise’s financial flexibility down the road. It’s not a loyalty thing, it’s a “let’s not do what Isaiah Thomas would do” thing. Joe will be 35 by the end of a 6-year deal, getting paid like our franchise player, when by that point, it will very likely be Al Horford and Josh Smith (provided they won’t be swapped for peanuts by that time) who are carrying this team every night.
If the Knicks want to continue to buy their way into mediocrity for another decade, I say let ‘em. I love Joe, always will. And despite this, I’m prepared to watch him walk. Just another day in the life of an Atlanta sports fan.
The Falcons seem to be done with free agency, and won’t make any significant moves until the draft. The Hawks are off until Thursday. The Jason Heyward show rages on, but otherwise it’s been a pretty slow week in the Atlanta sports world. Here are a few things to get you through hump day.
- Brent Grimes will remain with the Falcons after signing an exclusive rights contract with the team yesterday. Undrafted in 2006, the former Shippensburg Raider was a huge surprise in the secondary last year, leading the team and tying for 5th in the league with 6 interceptions in 2009. His freakish athletic ability was always known by Atlanta’s coaching staff, but it wasn’t until the MNF game in New Orleans, when he intercepted Drew Brees with what seemed like a 60-inch vertical, that people around the league took notice. With the addition of Dunta Robinson and the re-signing of Brian Williams, it’s unlikely he will be a starter next season, but if we’ve learned anything about Grimes, it you can never count him out. Along with Chris Owens, Chevis Jackson, and Williams it should be a spirited competition for the second corner and nickel positions.
- Per David O’Brien, the talk of spring will sit today with a sore back. Jeff Porter tells DOB that it’s just a precaution, but as the unofficial chair of the Atlanta Department of Homeland Anxiety, I’m issuing a Yellow Alert advisory to the fanbase. Also included in the blog, a mention of Troy Glaus’ encouraging start to spring, which includes a streak of eight straight singles. It’s only spring training, but Glaus and Eric Hinske are already in mid-2002 form.
- Jair Jurrjens threw another pain-free PB session and is officially ready to pitch, reports Mark Bowman. He’ll make his spring debut Thursday night vs. the Yankees and should be ready by opening day barring anything going horribly, horribly wrong. Between Jair’s shoulder, McLouth’s eyesight and J-Hey’s ailing back, the fanbase anxiety levels may actually be higher than Yellow Alert.
- Michael Cunningham wonders what, exactly is wrong with the Hawks. Included is an illuminating quote from Marvin Williams: “Sometimes offensively, sometimes defensively.” Thanks Marv, good insight indeed. You forgot to mention the two biggest reasons, both named Mike: Sometimes Woodson, sometimes Bibby.
- Bret Lagree over at Hoopinion provides a great response to Cunningham story, and dispels the notion that the Hawks have been a good defensive team under Mike Woodson.
- 48-year old defensemen Chris Chelios is back in the NHL after being called up by the Thrashers. Sure to be a hall-of-famer whenever he hangs it up, Chelios will join a Thrashers team that has lost 3-straight and sits 4-points back of Boston for the final playoff spot.
That’s all for now, enjoy your Wednesday. We got Braves-Mets this afternoon, before an exciting Thursday, when the Hawks will travel to DC to take on the Wizards, Chelios will make his Thrashers debut vs. the Blue Jackets, and Jurrjens will pitch against the Yanks. To close us out, here’s the number-1 song from January 25, 1962, the day Chris Chelios was born:
Posted in Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks, Major League Baseball, NBA, NFL, NHL
Tagged AJC, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers, Brent Grimes, Chris Chelios, Jair Jurrjens, Jason Heyward
Braves beat writer Mark Bowman reports that Bobby Cox and Roger McDowell have set their rotation for the first week of the season. Derek Lowe is set to take the mound on April 5, when the Braves open their season vs. the Cubs at Turner Field. Jair Jurrjens will make the second start, followed by Tim Hanson. Tim Hudson will make his debut on April 9, when the team travels to San Francisco.
Lowe will take his next start on April 10 before fifth starter Kenshin Kawakami fills out the rotation in the April 11 finale with the Giants.