Once Braves – Always Braves

It is a down weekend for former Braves Erick Hinske, Jair Jurrjens, Peter Moylan and Jeff Francoeur as all were demoted or designated for assignment. Graphic created by Fred Owens Original Photo Credits Charles LeClaire, Daniel Shirley, Daniel Shirley and Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SPORTS

As the Braves were sweeping the Diamondbacks this weekend former teammates had somewhat different experiences. As there was so much news over the past week I thought a brief update was called for.

Always Brave

In no particular order here’s the news.

Diesel Designated

When the Diamondbacks announced that they reinstated Eric Chavez from the 15-day disabled list so he could play (and lose) on Saturday they made room for him by designating Eric Hinske for assignment.  The 35-year-old Hinske saw limited play in Arizona hitting a meager .173/.259/.288 with one homer in 58 plate appearances.  Hinske was the 2002 American League Rookie of the Year but spent the majority of his career as a role player with the Blue Jays, Braves, Red Sox, Pirates, Yankees, Rays and D-Backs.  He joined the Braves as a free agent in 2010 and was a key figure in their post season pursuit posting a .256/.338/.456 slash with 11 homers 21 doubles and 51 RBI including a torrid June -.336/.406/.679, four homers, seven doubles and 14 RBI in 82 PA – and some notable off the bench heroics .298/.389/.596 with three homers, three doubles and 12 RBI).  The Braves signed him for 2011 and he had another good season off the bench –.233/.311/.403 , 10 homers 10 doubles and 28 RBI – and once again May was his month – .301/..329/.500 four homers, three doubles 10 RBI -  off the bench and playing some left. He was back in  2012 but wasn’t as effective and after that season the Braves allowed him to enter free agency. He signed a one-year, $1.075M deal with the Arizona back in December but saw only limited  duty before being designated on Saturday. A diminishing bat and limited options in the field may mean the end of the line for a guy Braves fans took to their hearts during his time in Atlanta. For his career he put together a .249/.332/.430 slash with 137 homers, 240 doubles and 18 triples in parts of 12 seasons.

The Return and Departure of JJ

On Saturday the Orioles designated Travis Ishikawa for assignment to make room for Jair Jurrjens. Jurrjens pitched in Saturday night’s game – I watched him come in from the pen that night as I enjoyed a steak at DanTanna’s after the Braves game. He threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in the Orioles’ 11-3 win over the Yankees and looked pretty good touching 91 on the gun at times.  Then Sunday they designated him for assignment to make room for Brian Roberts to come off the 60 day DL.  After a disappointing season in Atlanta the Braves nontendered the once brilliant starter who then signed with the Orioles in February and posted a 4.06 ERA, 1.209 WHIP, 5.3 K/9, and 2.2 BB/9 in 84 1/3 innings at Triple-A Norfolk. JJ isn’t done however as the O’s expect him to clear waivers and rejoin Norfolk.

Down Goes Pete

On Saturday the Dodgers optioned  Peter Moylan to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Jose Dominguez. Pete wasn’t exactly effective for the Dodgers this year appearing in 10 games he threw 11 1/3 innings putting up a 6.35 ERA, 1.941 WHIP allowing eight runs and three homers. I would have thought Pete was out of options but apparently not. Whether he stays there or is released is another story. I listened to his replacement pitch the eight inning against the Phillies on my drive home and understand why the Dodgers made the move. Dominguez featured to 101mph fastballs, a 83mph sinker and an 83mph slider that inning and may be the Dodgers’ answer to the closer role.

Bye Bye Frenchy

Saturday also saw the Royals designate Jeff Francoeur for assignment.and recalled second baseman Johnny Giavotella. Once an Atlanta favorite Frenchy evokes widely divergent response from Braves fans these days. While his arm is still among the best in the business his bat seems to have joined Diesel’s on hiatus as he put up a .209/.250/.324 slash in 192 PA this season. He won’t starve however as the Royals still owe him $6.75M. I suspect he’ll find a home somewhere as a defensive replacement because he’s basically free but when Giants executives were asked the response was “a lot of scrunched faces and worries about his outfield play” according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle so unless his bat finds its way back his future is still a question.

That’s a Wrap

Perhaps it was just being at the alumni weekend and seeing former Braves again but I and I suspect many others like to keep up with most of those who wore the tomahawk. As I see news like this I’ll try to keep you informed and if there’s anyone you’d like to find out about let me know and I’ll dig around and see what I can find.

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