After elbow surgeries, Braves’ Brandon Beachy feels good
Brandon Beachy endured 13 months of rehab from Tommy John surgery and finally was back starting for the Braves late last summer. But his pitching elbow still wasn’t right. And when he stood before a mirror and extended his arms with elbows bent upward, he could see puffiness beneath the right one.
After more than a year of rigorous rehab, adhering to the program and doing as he was told, including resting for a few weeks because of inflammation at 11 1/2 months, there he was, still feeling pain. And frustration. All of that happened as the Braves were in the throes of a playoff race, trying to secure home-field advantage for the postseason.
“It was just frustrating,” Beachy said, recalling how it felt to know something still wasn’t right in his elbow. “You can get a lot of stuff beating down on you mentally when that’s going on. Just trying to figure out what I can do to get it right, and it seemed like nothing I could do. It was out of my control.
“There was a little piece of bone floating around in my joint. There’s no amount of treatment or exercises I do that’s going to remove that and keep it from filling up with fluid.”
B.J. Upton made some mechanical adjustments
B.J. Upton became one of 12 players since the start of the millennium to post an OPS below .560 while taking at least 400 trips to the plate. Upton, who established himself as one of baseball’s most dynamic players while with the Rays, could never get it going in the first year of a five-year, $75.25 million contract with the Braves. It got ugly.
Trying to put the past behind him, Upton has made some slight adjustments in his swing. Hitting coach Greg Walker liked what he saw when he visited Upton at his home in Tampa in January. Via David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
What Walker noticed first when he visted Upton at his Tampa home in January was how much movement he’d cut out of his swing and stance, including eliminating the leg lift and long slide step with his front foot. Upton, 29, said his swing gradually deteriorated over the past several years after he began trying to pull the ball more after his early success with the Rays.
“If you go back and watch (video of) B.J., his misses got bigger from year to year,” Walker said. “His swing got looser and looser. The only thing we told him to do — we don’t want you to change anything, we don’t want to turn you into somebody you’ve never been. All we want you to do is go back to the way you hit when you were a kid.
Carpenter looking to build on solid ’13
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — David Carpenter was the last member of the Braves to take the mound in 2013. In Game 4 of Atlanta’s National League Division Series loss to Los Angeles on Oct. 7, Juan Uribe hit a two-run homer off him to send the Dodgers one step closer to the World Series.
The homer marked an unfortunate end to a stellar season by a pitcher who took advantage of his first regular role in a Major League bullpen.
In 56 appearances, Carpenter compiled career-best marks with a 1.78 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and four wins. Opposing batters hit just .198 against him.
Not bad for the former catcher, a native of Morgantown, W.Va., who was drafted by the Cardinals out of West Virginia University as a backstop in the 12th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.
Braves’ Dan Uggla has much to prove after rough year
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Here are some things every Atlanta Braves fans knows about second baseman Dan Uggla: Last season he batted .179, had his lowest on-base and slugging percentages of his career, and he struck out a team-high 171 times.
Here’s something that manager Fredi Gonzalez also knows: He’s not giving up on the three-time All-Star.
“People look at the strikeouts and the batting average, but he gets on base for us. That’s important,” Gonzalez said.
“I don’t know if we are going to change anything. It’s too early in camp for that.”
Uggla’s average has been on a steady decline since moving to the Braves after five years with the Marlins. He hasn’t hit above .233 since arriving in Atlanta.
And he was left off the roster for the division series last October, a crushing blow for Uggla, who walked 77 times last year, down from 94 in 2012. His on-base percentage was .309, the lowest of his career.
“I had a bad year, nothing was going right,” Uggla said. “I got over it and I just want to get on with the new season.”