The Braves move back home to play Norfolk tonight at 7:00 at the Diamond. It’s a big night for the organization as Atlanta starter Mike Hampton will make his first attempt back after pulling his pectoral muscle three weeks ago. Richmond is 12-7 on the season and is two and a half games up on Charlotte in the International League’s South Division.
Shortstop Brent Lillibridge may be slowing coming out of his season-long slump. Lilli has a four-game hitting streak (6-13) with three stolen bases, and his season average is now up to .167. Center fielder Josh Anderson has a six-game hitting streak (9-26) and is hitting .333 this season. After a hot start, Barbaro Canizares is coming back down to earth. He’s got only two hits in his last 18 at bats. The first baseman is now hitting .325 on the season with three home runs and 12 RBI. And Scott Thorman continues to struggle. Thor has only one hit in his last 17 at bats and his average is now at .177, and he’s still without a home run on the season.
Right-hander James Parr (0-2, 5.89) will pitch for Mississippi tonight at 8:05 in Mobile against the BayBears. Righty Tony Barnette (1-2, 5.50) will go for Mobile. The Braves have lost two in a row and are 4-17 in the Southern League’s South Division, seven games back of Birmingham.
The Pelicans have won three in a row and six of its last seven games. They’ll play game two of a three-game set tonight at 7:05 against Salem at BB&T Coastal Field. Right-hander Deunte Heath, who is having a great season so far (3-0, 1.50), will pitch for Myrtle Beach against Avalanche lefty Polin Trinidad (2-0, 1.88). Heath has great numbers this season except for his walk total (15 in 24 innings). The Pelicans are 12-9 on the season and in first place in the Carolina League’s Southern Division, a half game up on Kinston.
Brandon Hicks is hitting .600 (6-10) with two home runs and five RBI since he returned Tuesday after missing ten days with a thigh injury.
It’s game two of a four game series in Savannah for the Braves tonight at 7:00 at Grayson Stadium. Lefty Jeff Locke will go for the Braves. He’s 0-2 this season in his first four games with a 7.50 ERA. Rome is 9-12 this season, nine games back of Charleston in the South Atlantic League’s South Division.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can be heard on 680 the Fan in Atlanta and 105.5 the Fan in Macon. Email Bill at email@example.com.