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Braves beat 5/11

May 11, 2010

Hanson continues to draw comparisons

MILWAUKEE — After delivering one of the best performances of his young career the night before, Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson received high praise from his manager before Tuesday’s game.

Hanson pitched eight scoreless innings while striking out eight in the Braves’ 8-2 victory over the Brewers on Monday night at Miller Park. It was the third time in Hanson’s career he’s pitched eight innings and the second of those three in which he did not allow a run.

Hanson utilized four pitches very effectively Monday night to neutralize the Brewers, including his curveball and slider. Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee, who went 1-for-3 against Hanson, was among those impressed by the young right-hander.

“He’s got command of his fastball and he’s got really good command of an above-average slider,” McGehee said after Monday’s game. “That makes for a pretty good combination.” When asked who he would compare Hanson to before Tuesday’s game, Braves manager Bobby Cox answered quickly, with little hesitation.

“Kind of a [John] Smoltz-type arm,” Cox said. “Smoltzy had the great breaking balls [and] Hanson’s got a great curve and slider, just like Smoltz. … You don’t see breaking balls like that very often.”

Smoltz, who pitched 21 years with the Braves, used three pitches — fastball, slider, split-finger — consistently while also mixing in an occasional curveball and changeup. While with the Braves, Smoltz won the NL Cy Young Award in 1996 and he was an eight-time All-Star.

When told of his manager’s comparison, Hanson was humbled and honored to hear it.

“That’s just a huge honor,” Hanson said. “They throw those names around and that’s just a little bit overwhelming for me. But it’s definitely a huge honor and something to feel good about.”

Chipper scratched with sore groin

MILWAUKEE — Just an hour before the scheduled start of Tuesday night’s game against the Brewers at Miller Park, third baseman Chipper Jones was scratched from the Braves’ lineup.

Originally slated to bat third in the order, Jones was set to follow right fielder Jason Heyward and ahead of catcher Brian McCann. Due to a sore groin, however, Jones was taken out of the lineup in favor of Brooks Conrad.

Jones sat out Sunday’s series finale in Philadelphia with the same injury and was pulled on Monday after legging out an infield single in the sixth inning of the Braves’ 8-2 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park.

“He started limping a little bit,” Cox said of Jones after Monday’s game. “The ball got by the catcher all the way and he couldn’t run. I don’t know if he can play [Tuesday] or not.” The move also shook up the Braves’ batting order, as center fielder Nate McClouth moved from eighth to first, and second baseman Martin Prado and Heyward each dropped a spot to second and third in the lineup, respectively.

Cox thrilled about honor for Glavine

MILWAUKEE — With the announcement that Tom Glavine’s No. 47 will be retired by the club, Braves manager Bobby Cox took a moment before Tuesday’s game to reflect on the left-hander’s 22-year career.

Glavine pitched the first 16 seasons for Atlanta with Cox at the helm. During that time, he won two National League Cy Young Awards, earned eight All-Star Game selections and was named MVP of the 1995 World Series.

One thing that Glavine didn’t get recognized for, though, was his durability. It didn’t go unnoticed by his manager, however.

“All those years he pitched, he never went on the disabled list until right at the very end. [He was a] great competitor,” Cox said. “He can pitch hurt. Sore shoulder, sore elbow, bad ankle, bad knee, bad ribs — you name it, he did it. It’s amazing.

Glavine pitched Game 2 and Game 6 in that 1995 World Series, earning the win each time. Game 6, which clinched the title for the Braves, was one of the best performances of Glavine’s career, helping him secure the MVP Award.

Over eight innings, Glavine did not allow a run and gave up just one hit in the Braves’ 1-0 victory.

Glavine would never be mistaken for one of the more overpowering pitchers in the game, but his consistency was key to his success and something that left an impression on Cox.

“He was like a machine most of the time,” Cox said. “Strike after strike — in, out — [he could] change speeds, [had a] great changeup, was a great fielder, great bunter, good hitter — you could always squeeze with him even with two strikes. He brought a lot to the ballpark.”

With all that in mind, Cox was happy to hear his longtime pitcher would have his number retired and be inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame later this season.

“It’s going to be great,” Cox said. “He meant a lot to this organization.”

Cox understands move of Phillies-Jays

MILWAUKEE — Despite an apparent advantage over the rest of the division, Braves manager Bobby Cox wasn’t bothered by the decision to move the June 25-27 series between the Phillies and Blue Jays from Toronto to Philadelphia.

Due to a scheduling conflict with the G20 Summit on June 25-26, the two clubs, along with Major League Baseball, decided to move the series to the Phillies’ home ballpark. With the G20 scheduled at the Metro Convention Center, just feet away from Rogers Centre, massive security and congestion issues would have arisen on those dates.

The Blue Jays will be the home team in Philadelphia, which means they will bat last and both teams will utilize the designated hitter. But with the game played at their ballpark and tickets being sold first to Phillies season-ticket holders, it essentially amounts to an extra three home games for the Braves’ rivals.

Still, Cox was not upset by the move due to the nature of the decision.

“They have to do it, they had no choice,” Cox said. “You can’t complain about anything like that.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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