Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Cox happy with Horacio
Despite a rough first inning, Braves' Manager Bobby Cox was pleased with the performance of Horacio Ramirez Monday. Ramirez allowed three runs in the first inning, but settled down for a good second and third inning performance.
"He gave up only two balls in three innings that were hit decent," Cox said. "He looked fine. I thought he located pretty well. The umpiring was tight for both sides today. But he was around the plate good."
Lerew struggles, but Cormier and McBride impress
Right-hander Anthony Lerew, battling for a spot in the bullpen, had a rough outing. Lerew gave up his first runs in a big league camp Monday when he allowed four runs (one earned) on three hits in one inning of work, and he also committed a costly error. Lerew wasn't really working on anything in particular. He didn't throw but two splitters, which is the pitch he is trying to refine this spring. Lerew's fastball just was up in the strike zone.
"Lerew had a rough day," Cox said. "He got some balls down the pooper. If he doesn't throw the ball away, he would'nt have given up a lot of runs. He is a great athlete, so I'm surprised he did that."
Cox had planned on Lerew going two innings Monday, but the youngster threw too many pitches in his one inning. The strict limit on his pitch count is another indication Lerew is truly battling for a job in the bullpen.
Lance Cormier allowed only two hits in two innings of work, along with two strikeouts. Macay McBride gave up only one hit in one inning. Both pitchers have yet to give up a run in their first two games of the spring.
"They looked real good," Cox said. "I thought McBride was going to get out of there with three pitches."
As of now, Cormier and McBride look to be in good shape for two of the seven positions in the Atlanta bullpen.
Jordan starts at first base
For the first time this spring, Brian Jordan got the start at first base. Jordan went to Cox early in camp and volunteered to try and play the position, which has an opening behind starter Adam LaRoche. If the veteran outfielder can show he can play the position, he might have a better shot at making the roster.
"He played fine over there," Cox said. "He looks a lot better than I ever thought he'd look over there this quick."
Jordan played one game at first base for the Cardinals in 1994 and then another game there in 1996. He came up as an infielder early in his career, but has been an outfielder as a major leaguer.
"He's still quick," Cox said. "He can still move. He's just a super athlete."
Cox happy with Renteria's swing
"Edgar had a good day," the manager said. "He hit two balls right on the button. He crushed them both. He didn't get any hits, but he swung the bat super."
Michael Ryan proving to be good insurance
Outfielder Michael Ryan, signed over the winter after being let go by the Twins, continues to make an impression this spring. Ryan was 1-4 on Monday with two RBI. He now has 3 RBI in his four games played. Ryan will likely start the season in AAA Richmond, but will be good insurance if Atlanta needs an outfielder during the season.
"Mike's played a lot already and he looks like he's a good outfielder," Cox said. "When (Tori) Hunter went down last year for the Twins, he was the guy. He played. He's got a nice swing. It's a pretty darn good signing to have him around."
Giles won't play for a few more days
Second baseman Marcus Giles, who returned to camp Monday after being with his wife and premature baby, will take a few more days before he gets into a game.
"He's going to stay back and work," Cox said. "We'll see how he does tomorrow. He probably needs two more days before he plays."
First base coach Glenn Hubbard, who is battling the flu, will stay with Giles and work out Tuesday.
Flu bug hits the clubhouse
Along with Hubbard, several other Braves were battling the flu Monday. Matt Diaz had a temperature of 101. Wes Obermueller will likely miss his turn Tuesday in Bradenton with flu-like symptoms. Outfielder Kelly Johnson and first baseman Adam LaRoche are also struggling with the bug.
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Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional front office philosophies. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.