Posts Tagged ‘Bobby Cox’

Braves beat 5/12

May 12, 2010 Comments off

Red-hot Glaus in a groove at the plate

MILWAUKEE — Troy Glaus insists he is not doing anything differently at the plate, even though the Braves first baseman has been as hot as anyone on the team offensively of late.

Glaus, who is batting .371 with two home runs, three doubles and 15 RBIs over his last 18 games, extended his hitting streak to eight games on Wednesday with an RBI single. Over the hit streak, Glaus is batting .375 (12-for-32).

Still, Glaus said he hasn’t changed a thing.

“It’s still the same swing I’ve had the last 15 years,” Glaus said. “Now I’m finding some holes and earlier I wasn’t. I’ve felt good all year, it’s just a matter of being productive. Lately, I’ve had opportunities with guys in scoring position, and I was able to come through.”

Glaus, who played just 14 games all of last year with the Cardinals after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder, has been contributing defensively, as well.

His current streak of 26 straight errorless games at first base is the best on the team, dating back to April 15. In two games against the Brewers at Miller Park this week, Glaus has made a few spectacular plays on throws from across the diamond.

“He’s been incredible on scoops,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “I don’t know how he does it. He’s really taken to it. He’s a good target, too.”

Chipper expected to return to lineup on Friday

MILWAUKEE — Third baseman Chipper Jones was out of the Braves lineup for the second straight day on Wednesday, giving him a couple extra days to recover from a sore groin.

Jones, who originally tweaked the groin on Saturday in Philadelphia, has sat out three of the Braves last four games, while leaving in the sixth inning of the fourth on Monday.

With an off-day scheduled Thursday for the Braves, manager Bobby Cox expects two more days of rest to be ample time for Jones to recover and return for Friday’s series opener in Atlanta against the D-backs.

“We’re going to rest him today, and we got an off-day, so that’ll be three days in a row,” Cox said. “Hopefully he’ll be good. I would say he should be back Friday.”

Escobar to rehab with Triple-A Gwinnett

MILWAUKEE — Before he’s eligible to return to the Braves lineup on Saturday in Atlanta, shortstop Yunel Escobar will play a rehab assignment later this week.

Escobar, who has been out since April 30 with a left adductor strain, will suit up for the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate before returning to the club.

“He’s going to play Friday in Gwinnett,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “Then he can play for us on Saturday.”

Cox did not specify who would be sent down upon Escobar’s return, though Brandon Hicks — who was called up when Escobar went down — is the most likely candidate.

Braves remain confident in Kawakami

MILWAUKEE — Despite a difficult 0-6 start to the season, Braves manager Bobby Cox remains confident in right-hander Kenshin Kawakami, who is scheduled to start Friday’s series opener in Atlanta against the D-backs.

Kawakami, 34, has lost each of his first six starts this season, despite allowing just an average of 3.5 earned runs per start over a total of 33 innings pitched. He has failed to go five innings just once this season, while going a season-high 6 2/3 innings on Sunday in the Braves’ 5-3 loss to the Phillies.

Of the six, Kawakami’s best performance was his first, when he allowed three runs (two earned) on just five hits over six innings pitched on April 11 in San Francisco. Kawakami left with the Braves trailing by a run before the bullpen let the game slip away, 6-3.

Still, Cox remains positive about Kawakami’s performance.

“I just keep encouraging him,” Cox said. “In my mind, he’s thrown some really nice games.”

Heyward could wreak havoc on basepaths

MILWAUKEE — After reaching base with a single in the fourth inning of the Braves’ 11-3 victory over the Brewers on Tuesday, rookie right fielder Jason Heyward recorded his first career stolen base.

Heyward stole second without a throw from Brewers catcher Gregg Zaun, who opted to hold onto the ball rather than risk throwing it away.

When asked about Heyward’s running ability before Wednesday’s series finale, Braves manager Bobby Cox said he believed the 20-year-old had the potential to steal 20 or more in a season.

“Easily,” Cox said. “We just haven’t been able to run much. We’re always down. And they slide-step him and all that, too.”

If the Braves continue to swing the bats the way they did over the first two games at Miller Park, Heyward should see his stolen-base opportunities increase, especially with the way he’s been getting on base.

Heyward leads the Braves with a .423 on-base percentage, while batting .300 with eight home runs, 27 RBIs and a .611 slugging percentage.

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

Braves recap 5/12

May 12, 2010 Comments off

Braves finish road trip strong, sweep Crew

MILWAUKEE — It may not be quite what they were looking for when it started, but after losing four of six in Washington and Philadelphia, the Braves are happy to be going back to Atlanta with a winning road trip.

Thanks to great pitching, excellent defense and some clutch hitting, the Braves ran away with a 9-2 victory over the Brewers on Wednesday at Miller Park

With the win, the Braves completed their first road series sweep of the season, outscoring the Brewers, 28-7, over three games. Atlanta’s only previous road series victory came April 12-15 when they took two of three in San Diego.

The Braves last swept the Brewers in a three-game series from July 30-Aug. 1, 2002, in Atlanta, with their last sweep in Milwaukee coming June 1-3, 1998.

“We had a great road trip,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “You need to have confidence, get a little swagger back. It helps a lot knowing that you can get rallies, get runs in, make pitches. We’ve played really well. Our defense has been terrific.”

Right-hander Derek Lowe (5-3) delivered the Braves’ third consecutive quality start in the series, pitching six strong innings while allowing just two runs on six hits.

Lowe, who had been touched up for a season-high 11 hits in his last outing in Philadelphia, did not allow a hit through the first four innings, while facing just one over the minimum.

According to Lowe, a mentality change allowed him to shut down the Brewers, who had been swinging the bats as well as anyone in baseball entering the series.

“I think there comes a game where you have to assess your game,” Lowe said. “The whole ‘I’m going to throw every pitch away’ game gets kind of predictable and old. … The Philly game really just opened my eyes.”

Lowe used both sides of the plate effectively against the Brewers, striking out two while only walking a pair. He also said he used more changeups in the game than he had all year.

His counterpart, Brewers righty Yovani Gallardo, delivered a strong pitching performance of his own, keeping the game tight through six innings.

Gallardo threw his fifth quality start of the season, going six innings while allowing two runs on five hits. He also walked three and struck out six as Gallardo settled for a no-decision.

“He pitched good. You look at the way he’s been pitching and it’s phenomenal,” Lowe said of Gallardo. “It’s a 2-2 game there going into the seventh inning.”

When asked before Wednesday’s game what his team needed to do to be successful against Gallardo, Cox answered honestly, saying he didn’t know. His best game plan was to “make him make mistakes,” and “if he makes a mistake, hit it.”

So when Gallardo’s day was done after six innings, Cox and the Braves were happy to see the Brewers relievers.

“He’s good. You don’t care if you don’t face him or not, that’s for sure,” Cox said of Gallardo. “If you can miss him you’re better off.”

With Gallardo out, the Braves lit up the Brewers’ bullpen for the second straight game, scoring seven runs on seven hits and two walks over the final three innings. In the final two games of the series, Milwaukee’s relievers allowed 15 runs on 16 hits in six innings, compared to its starters, who gave up just five runs on 12 hits in 12 innings.

After scoring their first two runs of the game on two-out RBIs by first baseman Troy Glaus and left fielder Eric Hinske, the Braves struck twice more with two outs again in the seventh. Right fielder Jason Heyward delivered a two-out double down the right-field line, plating pinch-hitter Matt Diaz for what proved to be the eventual game-winning run.

Heyward finished 1-for-3 on the night with a pair of walks, a stolen base, an RBI and three runs scored.

“Jason makes our team immediately better, and I think he’d make every team in the big leagues immediately better,” said Diaz.

An inning later, the Braves began to pour it on the Brewers as third baseman Brooks Conrad delivered the knockout punch with a two-run blast, making it 6-2 with his second eighth-inning homer in as many games.

Conrad, who started a second consecutive game in place of Chipper Jones and finished 2-for-5 with a career-high four RBIs, was just happy to contribute as much as he did in the sweep.

“It feels great,” Conrad said. “You’ve just got to stay ready for when your time comes. Any time you get a chance to get in there and help the team win, it’s a great feeling. So, I just had fun with it, and it turned out great. I had fun.”

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

Braves recap 5/11

May 11, 2010 Comments off

Hinske, Glaus fuel Braves’ rout

MILWAUKEE — Entering this series, the Braves’ offense was anemic while the Brewers were rolling, leading the Majors in runs scored. But it sure hasn’t looked that way over the past two nights at Miller Park.After riding a six-run sixth inning to victory the night before, the Braves plated 11 runs on a season-high 16 hits Tuesday as they routed the Brewers, 11-3.

While the series-opening victory featured a pair of big hits, the entire Atlanta lineup got into the act to defeat Milwaukee for a second consecutive night. Every starter, including starting pitcher Tim Hudson, hit safely at least once, while six batters had two hits.

“It was a good night,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “Everybody had good at-bats.”

Hudson (3-1) allowed just one run while scattering six hits over six innings. He also walked six, tying a career high.

Fortunately for Hudson and the Braves, the defense behind him played well, turning a pair of double plays and stranding runners in scoring position in each of Hudson’s final five innings. On a night when he didn’t have his best stuff, Hudson was more than pleased with the outcome.

“It was a battle out there,” Hudson said. “It was one of those nights where there wasn’t a whole lot working. I was able to go out there and gut it out. It wasn’t exactly how I drew it up, but nights like tonight — for me — are more satisfying than the nights when I go out there with great stuff and it’s easy. It wasn’t easy tonight.”

Much like the first game of the series against the Brewers, the Braves were slow to start offensively, plating just two runs through the first five innings. It was enough to give them a 2-1 lead, however, and by the end of the night, the slow start didn’t matter.

Miwaukee starter Dave Bush (1-3) kept Atlanta in check through six innings. Bush allowed just three runs on seven hits, while walking three and striking out three for his fourth quality start of the season and his first at home for the Brewers.

Once Bush exited the game, however, the Braves’ bats came alive for eight runs over the final three innings.

After catcher Brian McCann made it 4-1 in the seventh with the third of three straight singles, left fielder Eric Hinske broke things open with a two-run double to left. Hinske, a Wisconsin native, went 2-for-2 with two doubles and three RBIs, plus two walks.

With 20 friends and family members looking on, it made Hinske’s second career trip to Miller Park that much more special.

“It’s cool,” Hinske said of performing well in his home state. “I grew up going to County Stadium, watching [Paul] Molitor, [Robin] Yount and [Jim] Gantner. It’s a special place for me. I think about my grandpa, my dad and my brother coming down when I was a kid. It was a special night for me, for sure.” Along with Hinske’s strong night, first baseman Troy Glaus extended his hitting streak to seven games with a solo homer to left field leading off the sixth inning. Over his past 16 games, Glaus is batting .362 with two home runs and 14 RBIs.

Rookie right fielder Jason Heyward returned to the lineup with no noticeable limitations at the plate, in the field or on the basepaths.

In fact, Heyward notched his first career stolen base in the second inning and finished 2-for-4 with an RBI, three runs scored and two walks. After reaching base four times in six plate appearances, Heyward improved his on-base percentage to .423, leading the team.

“Jason had a good night,” Cox said. “We’ll keep him up in the front of the order because his on-base percentage is off the charts right now.”

The return of Heyward, who has been the most consistent threat in their lineup this season, can only help the Braves’ offense, which had been struggling mightily entering the series.

Having scored among the fewest runs in the league before arriving in Milwaukee, the Braves hope the 19-run outburst over the past two nights will be just what they need to get back on track and make up some ground on the first-place Phillies.

“You don’t have much time in this game,” Hinske said. “You start getting double digits back, and that’s a long way back. We know it’s now, the time is now. We’ve got to do something to turn it around, and I think these last two games are a good indicator of what is hopefully to come. This is momentum for us. This is ‘feel good.’ We all kind of like take a deep breath and, ‘OK, we’re fine.'”

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

Braves beat 5/11

May 11, 2010 Comments off

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 This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.