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Braves vs Astros In-Game Thread

R.C. Collins

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Hanson to make spring debut Thursday

Braves drop opener to Tigers


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lakeland, Fla. — It’s been a while since the Braves signed and developed a pitcher as highly touted as Tommy Hanson, who’s set to make his spring-training debut Thursday against Houston in the Braves’ spring-training home opener.

Jorge Campillo is scheduled to start against Astros ace Roy Oswalt, but the third and fourth innings will be the more anticipated ones for many Atlanta observers. That’s when Hanson is penciled in for his first innings in a big-league game.

“I feel zero pressure,” Hanson said. “I just want to go out and throw.”

The 22-year-old was rated the No. 4 prospect in Baseball America’s Top 100 list released Tuesday. Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, 19, was fifth on the Baseball America list, making Atlanta the only team with two prospects in the top 10.

Heyward went 0-for-2 in his spring debut Wednesday, and demonstrated his strong throwing arm on a throw to the plate from right field in a 5-4 loss to Detroit.

Hanson, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, was the first pitcher to be named MVP of the Arizona Fall League, after going 5-0 with a 0.63 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 29 innings, with a .105 opponents’ average.

“He does everything right,” said pitching coach Roger McDowell, who was looking forward to seeing Hanson face hitters in Grapefruit League games.

Hanson said Braves veterans and the coaching staff have all made him feel comfortable in his first major league spring training. With Tom Glavine signed to be the Braves’ fifth starter, Hanson will likely be assigned to Class AAA Gwinnett to begin the season.

But unexpected things can happen in the spring. Manger Bobby Cox believes Hanson is ready now, if they need him. His first scheduled start is March 3 against Panama’s World Baseball Classic team.

Jurrjens faces old team

In his first game against the Tigers since they traded him to Atlanta, worked two innings Wednesday and gave up four hits, two runs and one walk.

He said his slider needed work, his delivery was inconsistent, and he left pitches up in the strike zone. Still, Jurrjens was encouraged by how he felt in his first spring start.

“I feel great,” said the right-hander, who went 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA in a staff-high 188 1/3 innings as a rookie. “The ball was coming out good. I just was a little wild in the strike zone. Especially against that lineup, you’ve got to hit your spots.”

After finishing third in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting, Jurrjens worked on conditioning in the offseason, dropping close to 15 pounds while strengthening his shoulder.

The Curacao native said he’s glad he decided not to participate in next month’s World Baseball Classic. “Now it’s making me happier I didn’t go,” he said. “I need to work on my pitches.”


First baseman , another top prospect, had a two-run, two-out single in the fifth inning. … Left-hander gave up two hits, one run and one walk in the seventh for a blown save in his Braves debut. Lefty , a non-roster invitee, got the loss after allowing a run, two walks and a hit in the eighth. … and newly signed were the only projected lineup regulars who didn’t make Wednesday’s trip. They worked out at Lake Buena Vista with utilitymen and . Cox said Anderson could be ready to play next week.

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