The Braves Report
Brent Lillibridge
Brent Lillibridge

Posted Apr 28, 2008


Here are some notes on the Braves entering the last few days in April.

INSIDE PITCH

Manager Bobby Cox and general manager Frank Wren have some decisions to make in the next week or two. Left-hander Tom Glavine (strained right hamstring) will come off the 15-day disabled list Tuesday and lefty Mike Hampton (strained left pectoral muscle) just pitched a perfect three innings in a rehab start for Class AAA Richmond (Va.). He could be ready to come back in another week.

Right-hander Rafael Soriano (right elbow tendinitis) is expected back for the two-game Nationals series starting Tuesday, which is hard to fathom since he just had his first experience on a mound. And lefty Mike Gonzalez has progressed so steadily and beautifully that his estimated return, once hoped to be after the All-Star break in July, is now anticipated mid-May.

Cox and Wren will also have choices to make in the infield, but they may have two more weeks before they have to bite the bullet there; infielder Omar Infante (broken left hand) played four innings at shortstop in his first game in extended spring training, then played six innings at second base the next day. But he has yet to hit, and one assumes the Braves would want to see Infante's bat coming around before calling him up.

Infielder Martin Prado is proving versatile in the field, and is hitting besides, so he is unlikely to be the odd man out. Brayan Pena, who has been a catcher with the organization, spent last season at Class AAA Richmond playing first and third base and corner outfield positions. But he isn't a standout at any of them.


METS 6, BRAVES 3

Right-hander John Smoltz hadn't given up a home run before giving up two of them Sunday, but the first run he allowed came on a wild pitch in the first inning. He left after four innings with discomfort in his right shoulder, leaving his status for his next start in doubt. The Braves had opportunities again but did not do the things they had to do to turn them into runs.


NOTES, QUOTES

--3B Chipper Jones sat out another game after suffering back spasms Saturday while at his locker in the visitors clubhouse at Shea. With Monday's off day giving him another day to treat the back, Jones expects to play against the Nationals on Tuesday.

--INF Brent Lillibridge was rushed to New York from Class AAA Richmond (Va.) for Saturday's game because of Friday's injury to starting SS Yunel Escobar (bruised right index finger), then found himself in the starting lineup when 3B Chipper Jones was stricken with back spasms before the game. Lillibridge struck out in his first at-bat.

--SS Yunel Escobar's badly bruised right index finger may keep him sidelined until the two-game series against the Nationals in Washington starting Tuesday. That's if the Braves are lucky; the injury is on his throwing hand. He is available to pinch-run.

--CF Mark Kotsay was back in center field Saturday after sitting out two games with a strained left trapezius muscle.

--RHP Phil Stockman, called up from Class AAA Richmond (Va.) Friday to give the bullpen a fresh arm, barely got a chance to warm up when he had to be optioned back Saturday; the Braves needed a spot for INF Brent Lillibridge when neither 3B Chipper Jones nor SS Yunel Escobar could go against the Mets.


BY THE NUMBERS:

0 -- Number of split-finger fastballs RHP John Smoltz threw in spring training. He used the pitch to record his 3,000th career strikeout April 22 against Nationals 2B Felipe Lopez.


QUOTE TO NOTE:

"It's more mental than physical at this point." -- LHP Mike Hampton, on rehabbing his strained left pectoral muscle.


MEDICAL WATCH

RHP John Smoltz (discomfort in right shoulder) left the April 27 game. His status for his next start was unknown.

3B Chipper Jones (back spasms) sat out April 26-27. He hopes to return April 29.

SS Yunel Escobar (bruised right index finger) left the April 25 game, and he didn't start April 26-27. He is day-to-day.

LHP Tom Glavine (strained right hamstring) had to come out of his April 13 start. He was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career on April 18.

RHP Peter Moylan (bone spur in right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 12. He might need surgery.

RHP Rafael Soriano (right elbow tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 7. The injury was considered minor.

LHP Mike Hampton (strained left pectoral muscle) was hurt while warming up for the April 3 game. He went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 29. He began throwing in mid-April.

LHP Mike Gonzalez (Tommy John elbow surgery in May 2007) was not expected to be ready to pitch until after the All-Star break, but he hopes to return in May. He went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21.

INF Omar Infante (broken left hand) was expected all along to have a delayed start to the season, but the timetable has been pushed back. Instead of missing the first week, he may miss the first month. He went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21, and he started working out at extended spring training in late April.

RHP Anthony Lerew (Tommy John elbow surgery in July 2007) went on the 60-day disabled list retroactive to March 21.



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