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Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Rest Of The Bench; Glavine In Command, Frenchy Hurt But OK

I've decided to consolidate the rest of the potential benchies into this one post. I'll take pitchers two at a time in a post in order to finish the previews before the season starts.

#26 OF/1B Joe Borchard

Borchard is attempting to force the Braves' hand. He leads the team with seven doubles this spring. It's quite possible that he could usurp Scott Thorman's job on the bench.

#4 OF/IF Omar Infante

Infante is out for the spring while his hand, which was broken in winter league action, heals. He'll have a backup infielder and emergency outfielder spot ready for him when he returns.

#26 OF Brandon Jones

Jones just about played himself out of a platoon spot this spring, batting below the Mendoza Line and looking clumsy on the field. However, he does have eight walks this spring, which is second on the team (Gregor Blanco has nine.). So, all is not bad news for Jones.

#68 IF/CF Brent Lillibridge

Surely, he'll get a new number if he makes the big club. So far, Lillibridge leads the team in strikeouts at the plate, but he can still prove to be a capable backup infielder if handed the job. He'll likely spend most of the season at Richmond unless Yunel Escobar hits a wall.

#8 C Javy Lopez

Lopez, who hasn't played baseball professionally since 2006, is most likely going to be the backup catcher because he's the resident veteran. It's not such a bad idea; Lopez has displayed this spring that he can get ahold of a pitch or two. He has also been working on his defense a whole lot this past off-season and spring.

However, it ultimately doesn't matter who gets the backup catcher job. Clint Sammons, Corky Miller and Javy Lopez would probably have the same level of production. :)

#1 IF Martin Prado

Brought up in trade rumors because there seems to be no place for him, Prado made a splash in the International League last year when he was in the race for the batting title. Unfortunately, that kind of "success" hasn't translated to the major league level. Prado is a serviceable backup, but that's all he'll probably ever be.

#20 1B/LF Scott Thorman

Rumored to be on the move after Borchard's showing this spring, Thorman is the kind of guy who blasts the ball a long way when he connects, but he REALLY misses all the other times. I must say, one of my favorite home runs that I've ever seen was his first-pitch SMASH off of Francisco Cordero to tie a ballgame against the Brewers. I just laughed and laughed at it because I didn't expect it to happen. We'll see what happens with him.

In today's game, Tom Glavine allowed two runs in five innings and that's all the Braves allowed, winning 3-2. Chipper Jones (solo homer) and Yunel Escobar's two-run homer provided all the offense for the Braves.

There was a scary moment in the second inning as Jeff Francoeur was hit in the face by a pitch. Fortunately, X-rays were negative and there was no damage to his teeth or jaw. He should be back in action soon.

W - Tom Glavine (1-0)
L - Todd Wellemeyer (0-1)
S - Royce Ring (1)

Three Stars
P Tom Glavine - 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO
SS Yunel Escobar - 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI
3B Chipper Jones - 1-3, HR, R, RBI

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