Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

I don’t want them forget Ruth; I just want them to remember me. -Hank Aaron

07 Mar

What’s going on

So far, the news out of Spring Training has mostly centered around various injuries. Chipper Jones hurt his thumb making a catch last week and just returned to action yesterday. Chipper, of course, is oddly fragile/tough; he gets injured quite a bit but heals rapidly or plays through with no ill effects.

Both starting middle infielders have ankle sprains. Rafael Furcal is okay, I think, but Marcus Giles’ injury has persisted. It’s the same ankle as last year and Jeff Porter thinks it’s the same injury as well. It’s probably the biggest concern in camp right now. Nick Green — who I didn’t include in the player previews — is getting most of the action at second right now.

I don’t know what the Braves will actually do if Marcus is out for a long time. Green isn’t really that much of a prospect. He has Travis Wilson/Wes Helms “skills” — that is, he has some power but is unlikely to post a better than .300 on-base percentage and strikes out a ton. Ramon Castro looks like a better player to me, but the Braves seem to think he’s a utility player. Furcal could shift to second with Betemit playing shortstop, but Wilson’s defense is still frightening. Most likely, Mark DeRosa would play one middle infield spot with Furcal the other.

Paul Byrd has a pulled groin and is limited right now. It probably isn’t anything serious but those muscle sprains will pop up as a player ages.

3 Responses to “What’s going on”

  1. 1
    mchenrmd Says:

    Mac, calling Castro a utility player shouldn’t be anything derogatory. It just means he can play, in Ramon’s case, three different positions – and play all of them well. He might be a starter for some teams, but having him available on ATL’s bench should be a good thing.

    I think Giles’ injury probably clinches a spot for Castro. Furcal’s lameness doesn’t hurt either. We should feel lucky that we have a GM who can’t read the rules, or else Jesse Garcia would’ve been trotted out there in ST and not Castro. Blame (or kudos) also goes to Wren who is probably more directly responsible for the rule snafu…

  2. 2
    david chandler Says:

    I wrote to Will Carroll @ BP yesterday about Marcus, who replied that he thinks Giles may have a bit of arthritis. He also indicated they haven’t done an MRI yet. Giles’ comment about playing in pain all year in yesterday’s AJC has me worried, since it will probably increase Castilla’s playing time.

  3. 3
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I agree that “utility player” shouldn’t be a derogatory term. But so often, a guy who is perfectly capable of playing regularly at short or second gets the label, and instead of 150 games/500 AB at one position plays 130 games/300 AB at three. I wouldn’t be surprised if Castro were the Braves’ best infielder (not counting first base) this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised either if he made the team but was left on the bench because Bobby didn’t want his backup shortstop playing second or third.

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