Braves 2, Cardinals 1
Kyle McClellan got a confidence boost in his bid to make the
Cardinals’ rotation on Thursday.
Despite not having his best stuff, McClellan allowed three hits
and a run in four innings in a 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Of the three hits, two of them were infield singles. McClellan
pitched in 68 games for the Cardinals last season, all of them out
of the bullpen.
McClellan fell behind the hitters often on Thursday, but battled
back to get outs.
”It was interesting,” McClellan said. ”I only had one pitch
working for me today. I tried everything and just started throwing
my sinker. I learned that I can struggle and get my way through it
with the sinker.”
McClellan has never started a major league game, but he wanted
to stretch it out beyond his four innings.
”I could have gone at least one more,” McClellan said. ”I
felt fine. I got into trouble a few times, but I think it shows I
can compete. It makes you mentally tough and it shows that you can
do it even when you aren’t perfect.”
McClellan said he relied on his sinker because nothing else was
working. He fell behind early and often in the count and gave up a
first-inning run on a Dan Uggla single. It was the only ball the
Braves hit out of the infield off McClellan.
”I am not worried,” McClellan said. ”The sinker was working.
My curveball, it will be there by the time we leave camp. I always
have my sinker. If I can’t depend on it, I know it’s going to be a
McClellan has allowed only one run in seven innings this spring.
He is also learning to stretch himself out. Last season, he only
had 10 appearances of two or more innings.
He said that he knows there is going to be a big difference if
he joins the rotation. Being ready to pitch every day in relief
meant a lot to him, but starting is his top priority.
”I am a very impatient type of guy,” McClellan said. ”I just
want to get to the ballpark and pitch. I can adjust. It can be
intense to know you might have to pitch every day, but I can start.
I feel ready.”
Derek Lowe started for the Braves and extended his spring
training scoreless streak to nine innings. He struck out four and
allowed two hits in four innings.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Lowe is coming around and
pitching like the ace the Braves are looking for with three weeks
left before they head north.
”I thought he looked great today,” Gonzalez said. ”He had
great command and great stuff. He allowed two fly balls. When he
goes four or five innings like that, you know he’s headed in the
The Braves were without catcher Brian McCann, whose line drive
on Wednesday struck Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar in the
face and sent him to the hospital. McCann left the game immediately
and only made a brief appearance in the Braves locker room on
Thursday. Gonzalez expected McCann to be in the lineup on
Gonzalez said McCann was still shaken by what happened.
”I think he has handled it well,” Gonzalez said. ”He saw
(Salazar’s) family and I know (McCann) will be OK.”
There were no further updates on Salazar’s condition, but a
Braves spokesman said he was conscious and breathing and that his
family was with him at the Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Gonzalez hadn’t spoken to Salazar after Thursday’s game, but
said he and the team have Salazar in their thoughts.
”I know he is laying in that hospital just waiting to get back
into uniform,” Gonzalez said.
Notes: The Braves made 14 roster moves on Thursday. RHP Erik
Cordier, LHP Lee Hyde, and LHP Jose Ortegano were optioned to
Triple-A Gwinnett, and RHP Randall Delgado was optioned to Double-A
Mississippi. Ten players were assigned to minor league camp
including: RHP Michael Broadway, RHP Jay Sborz, RHP Julio Teheran,
RHP Arodys Vizcaino, LHP Brett Oberholtzer, C Christian
Bethancourt, C Braeden Schlehuber, C Jesus Sucre, IF Tyler
Pastornicky and OF Mycal Jones. … 3B Chipper Jones had the day
off. Gonzalez said he just wanted to give Jones a rest. Jones is
recovering from a torn ACL and is batting .269 in nine games this