Results tagged ‘ braves ’

Hey now!

It might be impossible to start a tradition in just a second Major League season. But Braves outfielder Jason Heyward is already making a habit out of beginning his seasons in authoritative fashion.

Heyward’s second-inning leadoff homer off Livan Hernandez Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park provided him yet another memorable Opening Day tale. The 21-year-old right fielder used the first swing of his career to belt a three-run homer off Carlos Zambrano on Opening Day at Turner Field last year.

Heyward now has the unique distinction of homering in the first at-bat of both of his first two big league seasons.

Watch Heyward’s homer


Mark Bowman

Firsts of 2011

First hit: Chipper Jones double, Braves, first inning vs. Washington


First strikeout: CC Sabathia, Yankees, fans Austin Jackson, Tigers, first inning


First RBI: Brian McCann single scores Chipper with first run of 2011, first inning


First sick catch: Yankees CF Curtis Granderson robs Will Rhymes with a diving grab, first inning


First home run: Jason Heyward, Braves, second inning vs. Washington

Let’s get it started

The last time it counted – 149 days ago to be exact – Brian Wilson struck out Nelson Cruz swinging to give the Giants their first World Series title since 1954.

Hot Stove season came and went. Spring Training games were played.

Now, it’s time for a new season.

Opening Day 2011 features six matchups (all times ET): Braves-Nationals at 1:05 p.m.; Tigers-Yankees at 1:05 p.m.; Brewers-Reds at 2:10 p.m.; Angels-Royals at 4:10 p.m.; Padres-Cardinals at 4:15 p.m.; and Giants-Dodgers at 8 p.m. in the ESPN Opening Night game.

The Giants begin their quest to become the first repeat champion since the 1998-2000 Yankees, and the first in the NL to repeat since the 1975-76 Reds. But the Phillies added Cliff Lee, giving them a philthy rotation that could be the best in MLB history. Over in the AL, the Red Sox added some serious firepower in the likes of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.

The 27 other MLB clubs begin today with the same record, the same hopes, the same dreams.  Follow us all day as we chronicle the dawn of a new season, from the first pitch on the East Coast, to the last out in SoCal. Who will rise in October? Buckle up and enjoy The Show.

Roundup: Uggla, Lee signings official

The Reds on Thursday reportedly signed the reigning World Series MVP, while Dan Uggla‘s five-year extension with the Braves and first baseman Derrek Lee‘s one-year deal with the Orioles were officially announced.

 

According to an ESPN report, shortstop Edgar Renteria is joining the Reds after leading the charge for the Giants in the 2010 World Series. The one-year deal is reportedly worth $3 million.

Uggla, 31 next season, was introduced in a 2:30 p.m. ET press conference. He agreed to the $62 million deal with Atlanta after the Braves acquired him from the Marlins in November. With Florida last season, Uggla set career highs in batting average (.287), home runs (33) and RBIs (105).

Lee, 35, can make as much as $10 million with incentives as part of the deal, which has a $7.5 million base salary. He hit .260 with 19 homers and 80 RBIs between the Cubs and Braves last season.

Other news from Thursday:

? The Phillies invited seven non-roster players to Spring Training, the biggest name of the bunch being Delwyn Young. Also invited were infielder Robb Quinlan, catchers Tuffy Gosewisch and Joel Naughton and right-handers Brian Bass, Michael Schwimer and Michael Stutes. Young, 28, hit .236 with seven home runs and 28 RBI in 110 games for the Pirates last season.

? Left-hander J.C. Romero re-signed with the Phillies on a one-year, $1.35 million deal. He’s passed his physical.

? In addition to bringing in Renteria, the Reds are also on the verge of re-signing reliever Jared Burton on a one-year contract to avoid arbitration, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reported.

? The Nationals are not pursuing Carl Pavano, according to a report from MASN, while Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported on Twitter that the Pirates have interest in the free agent right-hander.

? The Orioles, Rays, and yes, the Angels, have shown varying amounts of interest in Vladimir Guerrero, according to ESPNDeportes. But Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register said on Twitter that he thinks Anaheim is an unlikely destination for the free-agent designated hitter.

? FOXSports.com reported via Twitter that Rafael Soriano is unlikely to end up in Texas now that the Rangers have signed Adrian Beltre. An ESPN report quoted Soriano’s agent Scott Boras as saying Soriano is open to non-closing roles, which is what he would have to take behind Mariano Rivera.

? The Indians officially added Austin Kearns to their 40-man roster, designating Jordan Brown to make room. Kearns signed with Cleveland in December.

? Free-agent left-hander Brian Fuentes wants to close in 2011, according to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.

Roundup: Pavano next chip to fall?

As the Brewers added an ace to their deck with the acquisition of Zack Greinke on an otherwise quiet Sunday, attention turned to the next top-tier pitcher on the market: free agent Carl Pavano.
While the Twins have been seen as the favorite to land Pavano this offseason, the addition of Greinke to the Brewers may have only increased that possibility, as FoxSports.com suggested on Sunday. 
Milwaukee was another team that had reportedly been in contention for Pavano’s services, but with their No. 1 starter taken care of, the Brewers are likely out of the fray.
The Nationals and Rangers, who had been seriously working to land Greinke, haven’t seriously pursued the 34-year-old starter, sources told Fox Sports.com.
Here’s a look at other moves from around the league: 
- Greinke’s disappearance from the trade market could have boosted interest in Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who is arbitration eligible this offseason and next, but the Marlins put the kibosh on that. Nolasco is near to signing a three-year extension worth $27 million, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reported Sunday night. The deal, which runs through 2012, is pending a physical.
- Guillermo Mota is returning to the Giants for a second season, ESPN Deportes reported. Mota, who won a World Series ring with San Francisco in 2010, did not receive a Major League deal, but will have an invite to big league Spring Training.
- ESPN Deportes reported that the Braves have signed 25-year-old southpaw Yohan Flande and invited him to Spring Training. Flande went 10-8 with a 4.38 ERA in 27 starts at Double-A for the Phillies last season. 
- The Blue Jays have signed catcher Ryan Budde to a Minor League deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweeted on Sunday. Budde, who has seen limited Major League action with the Angels over the last several years, owns a career average of .212.
- Right-hander Anthony Lerew has signed a one-year deal with the Softbank Hawks of Japan’s Pacific League according to the NPB tracker. Lerew struggled in six starts with the Royals last season. 
- The Yankees have given right-hander Luis Vizcaino a Minor League deal and an invite to big league camp, The Star-Ledger reported. Vizcaino, 36, has been out of pro ball since 2009, but pitched well this offseason in the Dominican Winter League.
- The Nationals had reached a deal with the Royals for Greinke, before the right-hander exercised his no-trade clause to veto the deal, a source confirmed to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson. No reason was given for Greinke’s decision, but the ace had previously expressed a desire to play for a title contending team.
– Bailey Stephens

Pirates announce deal with Matt Diaz

On the same day the club added a new first baseman, the Pirates announced a two-year deal with outfielder Matt Diaz. News of the agreement came a week ago at the Winter Meetings, though Diaz had to undergo a physical before it became official.

Diaz is guaranteed $4.25 million over the next two years. He will earn a $2 million base salary in 2011 and 2012 and picks up a signing bonus worth $250,000. Diaz can earn up to another $125,000 per year based on plate appearances and has a number of award incentives also built into the deal.

The Pirates had plenty of competition in their pursuit of Diaz, who was non-tendered by the Braves on Dec. 2.

The addition of Diaz gives Pittsburgh the right-handed hitting outfielder that they coveted. The Pirates have been looking for someone who could be a threat against left-handed pitching, and Diaz fits that mold precisely.

He has a career .335 batting average and .533 slugging percentage against southpaws in parts of eight seasons in the Majors. Diaz, 32, hit .273 against lefties last season.

– Jenifer Langosch

Roundup: Reds locking up their players

The Reds haven’t brought in much outside help this offseason, but they’ve still been among the busiest teams in baseball. Their mission is keeping guys in-house. The club had already inked starter Bronson Arroyo to a three-year, $35 million extension. Then, late Thursday night, the club agreed on a six-year, $51 million contract with Jay Bruce, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon.

Now, they’re apparently turning their attention to Joey Votto and Johnny Cueto.

The Reds have been wanting to sign Votto, the reigning National League MVP, to some sort of extension, but ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick believes it won’t be for the six years that Bruce got. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds have also had preliminary discussions with Cueto about a long-term deal.

Here’s more from around the league on Friday …

* All was quiet on the Cliff Lee front as of Friday afternoon. The Rangers on Thursday presented Lee with a wide array of complex offers, and now, they wait. The Yankees had recently upped their proposal to seven years, but good friend CC Sabathia will give Lee his space, too. Is the ballyhooed left-hander agonizing over his decision right now? C.J. Wilson doesn’t think so. He thinks Lee is deer hunting.

* Young, non-tendered catcher Russell Martin could be close to making his decision. The Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays have been reported to have serious interest, with New York taking “an aggressive approach,” ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote via Twitter. He is said to be deciding between those three American League East teams.

* The Orioles made potential closer Kevin Gregg a two-year offer worth $8 to $10 million, according to the Baltimore Sun. Gregg seems to be negotiating with several teams right now. The question is whether the O’s would give him a chance to be their ninth-inning man.

* A few signings made today: The Royals got Melky Cabrera to be their center fielder; the Orioles resigned veteran infielder Cesar Izturis; the Brewers picked up catcher Wil Nieves; and the Braves officially signed lefty reliever George Sherrill.

* According to Olney, Jorge Cantu is one of the first basemen “seriously being considered” by the Diamondbacks. Cantu was a solid run-producer in the middle of the Marlins’ lineup the last two-plus years, but struggled while playing sparingly with the Rangers towards the end of the 2010 season.

– Alden Gonzalez 

Roundup: 1B locked up in Windy City

Day 3 of the Winter Meetings saw a couple of slugging first
basemen land in Chicago, as the White Sox resigned
their captain
, Paul Konerko, and the Cubs took
a chance on Carlos Pena
.

The Konerko deal was somewhat surprising, considering talks between the two
sides seemed to be on life support just a day ago. But even after signing Adam
Dunn
, Chicago was able to give Konerko a three-year, $37.5 million to form what looks like one of the best lineups in baseball for 2011.

With the Cubs, Pena is reunited with his old esteemed hitting coach, Rudy
Jaramillo
, and receives what super-agent Scott Boras referred to as
a “pillow contract” — because, as Boras said, it’s comfortable for both
sides. That deal is for one year and $10 million, as Pena will try to rebuild
his worth after hitting 28 homers but batting below .200 in 2010.

Here’s more from around the league on Wednesday …

* No more fooling around for the Yankees. They’re ready to make ballyhooed
free-agent starter Cliff Lee a
preliminary offer
of six years and between $140 and $150 million, MLB.com’s
Bryan Hoch confirmed. Will that be enough, considering reports of mystery teams
offering seven years?

* The Rangers met with Carl Crawford‘s agent, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.

* Adrian Beltre is still open to signing with the Athletics, according
to Boras. Boras also said negotiations for his third-base client are moving
quickly, and that the Angels are a very possible suitor.  

* There had been several reports that the Red Sox would be interested in
trading for Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran. But Boras, who represents
him, says Beltran plans
to be a Met
in 2011. That’s significant, considering he has a no-trade clause.

* Five teams are seriously pursuing Zack Greinke while another three are
“on the periphery,” according to FOXSports.com. It still seems like
he’d be tough
to move
, however. The Royals are specific with what they want: pitching and
up-the-middle help.

* The Red Sox, according to CBS Sports, are zeroing in on Magglio Ordonez
to fill their outfield void, which would not be good news for Crawford. The Tigers are also checking.

* The Twins continue their
interest
in resigning Carl Pavano, but they have competition. The
Brewers, according to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, have
also met with Pavano
. The Nationals are another club known to have
interest. 

* In less-heralded one-year deals on Wednesday, the Mariners signed
non-tendered designated hitter Jack Cust
; the Royals brought
in outfielder Jeff Francoeur
; the D-backs were reportedly on the verge of signing catcher Henry
Blanco
and veteran lefty Mike Hampton (Minor League deal); the
Braves acquired non-tendered lefty reliever George Sherrill; and the Dodgers were close to bringing back Russell Martin
 

– Alden Gonzalez 

List of inquiring minds about Greinke growing

Bob Elliott, the distinguished Toronto Sun columnist, has added to the Zack Greinke rumor fuel by saying the Blue Jays had inquired about the Royals’ right-hander a month or so ago. Boxer Bob adds that other teams who have inquired include the Twins, Rangers, Braves, Reds, Mariners and Nationals. We’re guessing that there are several more on the “inquired” list.

Inquiring and putting proposals on the table are two entirely different things and there’s been no indication that Kansas City is seriously considering any offer right now.

The report that the Royals won’t trade Greinke within the AL Central just isn’t true. They’d rather not, of course. As GM Dayton Moore put it the other day: “If you get the type of deal that’s necessary to improve your team, you don’t worry a whole lot about that. I don’t say you don’t consider it because you do. Everything being equal, you’d love to get him out of the division and out of the league.”

But if the Twins bundle up a rich package laden with top prospects and it’s the right deal, those who know Moore know that the in-division factor won’t stop him.

–Dick Kaegel.

Roundup: White Sox land slugger Dunn

The White Sox netted one of the free agent market’s biggest bats, Adam Dunn, on Thursday as the Hot Stove kicked into high gear with Thursday’s 11:59 p.m. ET non-tender deadline looming. 
Chicago has agreed to terms with the slugger pending a physical, according to multiple media reports. Dunn’s deal is reportedly for four years and $56 million.
The Athletics also reportedly had interest in signing Dunn, who hit 38 home runs for the Nationals last season. 
Dunn’s deal could signal the end of Paul Konerko’s tenure in Chicago as the club might not be inclined to keep two high-priced veteran first baseman on the roster.  
Elsewhere, the Red Sox will welcome back veteran backstop Jason Varitek in 2011, according to multiple published reports. Varitek, 38, reportedly agreed to a two-year deal worth $2 million plus incentives.
Varitek projects to be a good fit alongside several young Red Sox catchers, including Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Varitek isn’t the only player who after Thursday is set to return to his previous club. The Braves agreed with utility man Eric Hinske on a one-year deal, plus an option for 2012. Financial terms of the deal weren’t made public. 
Hinske, 33,  figures to be a left-handed pinch hitter for the Braves again in ’11, and could occasionally spell rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman.
“It’s a perfect fit,” Braves veteran catcher Brian McCann told MLB.com.  “There are a lot of guys who are going to be excited to hear about this.”  <p>
Another utility player, Jeff Baker, agreed to a deal of his own on Thursday that will keep him in Chicago for the 2011 season. Baker, acquired in 2009 from the Rockies, will reportedly make $1.175 million in 2011, according to a FOXSports.com report.
Baker’s signing came hours before the deadline for club’s to offer unsigned players under their control a contract for next season. Baker hit .272 last season for the Cubs and proved especially valuable against left-handed pitching, batting .350.
While these players will stay put for next season, free agent Hisanori Takahashi could be on the move — to a different league and a different coast. 
The left-handed pitcher is close to a multi-year deal with the Angels, the New York Times reported on Thursday. 
The Angels had been clear about desiring some veteran bullpen help and the veteran pitcher could help fill that void. Takahashi proved effective in a variety of roles last season for the Mets, going 10-6 with a 3.61 ERA. 
– Bailey Stephens
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 695 other followers