Originally posted at The Bravesologist.


Jason Heyward:

After being tested by a hand specialist yesterday, Jason Heyward has been placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to Sunday, when he pinch-ran for Eric Hinske.

Heyward has had the injured hand since May and his play obviously diminished due to the injury (.181/.287/.245). The DL is probably the right move to make. If he is going to have to play with it for the full season, it makes sense to give him time to rest and get it at least close to healthy.

Having Heyward out of the lineup hurts offensively and defensively. The top of the lineup had no easy outs with Prado, Heyward, Jones, McCann, and Glaus at the top. All have very high on base percentages and have been the key cogs in the lineup all season. With Heyward out, Melky Cabrera becomes the regular right fielder and, unless Cox alters the lineup, will also man the two spot.

Matt Diaz:

Matt Diaz is being called up to replace Heyward, so at least the Braves should get a bit better against left-handed pitching. The outfield now has numerous options against both righties and lefties. Against righties, a combination of Eric Hinske, Gregor Blanco, and Melky Cabrera is likely best. Against lefties, Omar Infante, Melky Cabrera, and Matt Diaz is probably the most efficient group. I don’t expect Bobby to handle it this way, though. Most likely, Blanco will stick in centerfield almost full-time with Cabrera staying in right. Hinske and Diaz will probably platoon and Infante will get spot starts in the outfield and infield as usual.

If Diaz can produce like we have seen from him in the past and Blanco can continue to get on base, this outfield alignment may be a bit more productive than they have been as of late.

Kenshin Kawakami:

In a move that must have been a very difficult decision, Kenshin Kawakami has been demoted to the bullpen to make room for Kris Medlen. As i mentioned in past articles, either decision had merit. If Medlen were moved to the bullpen, his innings would be limited and the bullpen would be strengthened. If Kawakami were moved to the bullpen, we would have the better pitcher throwing more innings in Medlen.

Jair rejoining the rotation alongside Medlen means that we are replacing one of our worst starters with one of our best starters from the previous year. If Kris were the one to be removed, we would be replacing one of our best starters this year, this was the right decision.

Kris Medlen:

I was vying to keep Medlen in the rotation pretty heavily as the deciding day day neared. I just believe Medlen is significantly better than Kawakami and his 3.70 K/BB ratio as a starter justifies that notion. Kris’ change up is far-and-away the best on the team and his fastball sets it up nicely. Medlen’s numbers may eventually dip a bit, but overall I think he should continue to act as one of the top three starters on this team. Medlen’s 0.90 WHIP in June lead all starters by a significant margin, with Tim Hudson finishing second at 1.21.

Jair Jurrjens:

Jair Jurrjens replacing Kawakami should mean an even more sturdy rotation, but there is a chance that Jurrjens is not quite ready yet. He has pitched rather poorly at Gwinnett in his rehab starts (6.38 ERA and a 1.36 K/BB ratio in 24 innings).

Jurrjens will face the Nationals on Wednesday and the Phillies in Philadelphia on Tuesday if all goes accordingly. Unless the Braves alter the rotation, he would just miss pitching again before the All-Star break and likely pick it back up at home against the Brewers at the start of the second half.


Overall, there was some good news and bad news in the past day. The Braves were able to beat Stephen Strasburg thanks to a tremendous pitching performance by Tim Hudson and they took advantage of the National’s spotty defense. Jair Jurrjens will return on Wednesday and Kris Medlen gets to stay in the rotation. Matt Diaz will return to the team and hopefully better the offense against left-handed pitching. Unfortunately, the likely All-Star, Jason Heyward will miss 14 more days including the All-Star game.


You can find more from Ben at The Bravesologist  , Talking Chop  , or on his twitter@Ben_Duronio

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