Postseason roster has 7 rookies, but no Saito

SAN FRANCISCO — The

Braves’ 25-man roster Thursday for

the National League Division Series included a franchise

postseason-record seven rookies. What it doesn’t include is top

setup man Takashi Saito.

Saito, recovering from a sore shoulder, was left off along with

injured pitchers Jair Jurrjens (knee) and left-hander Eric

O’Flaherty (illness) for the series that started Thursday night

against San Francisco at AT&T Park.

It was previously known that Jurrjens and O’Flaherty would be

left off the roster announced Thursday, but the

Braves had held out hope Saito might

be ready after feeling better in a Wednesday bullpen session in San

Francisco.

Team officials and coaches decided not to risk having the

40-year-old pitch in the NLDS after Saito pitched in just one game

in the past three weeks. Rookie right-hander Cristhian Martinez got

the final bullpen spot.

“He was a little rusty in the bullpen [Wednesday],” manager

Bobby Cox said of Saito. “The ball wasn’t going exactly where he

wanted it to on every pitch. He is a strikeout pitcher, and he’s

got great control. He’s got to have that control. He’s going to go

down and pitch Saturday in the Instructional League.

“If things keep going the way they are, I think Saito could be

available the next round. We came real close to putting him on, but

just not quite. Putting him in a one-run game right now … we’re

just not sure.”

Any or all three of the injured pitchers would be possibilities

for the NL championship series if the

Braves beat San Francisco in the

division series.

Hard-throwing Craig Kimbrel has helped pick up some slack from

Saito’s absence, but Saito helped make the

Braves’ bullpen one of the two or

three best in the majors for most of the season.

Hanson hit in eye

Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson was hit

in the eye by a batted ball that caromed off the ground during

batting practice, but was expected to make his scheduled Game 2

start today.

Hanson was hitting in the batting cage before Thursday’s opener

at AT&T Park when he hit a ball that caromed off a pad on the

ground and back into his face. He left the field immediately to be

checked out, and was expected to see an eye doctor as a

precaution.

Braves’ NLDS roster

Pitchers: Right-handers Brandon Beachy, Kyle Farnsworth, Hanson,

Tim Hudson, Kimbrel, Derek Lowe, Martinez, Peter Moylan; lefties

Mike Dunn, Jonny Venters, Billy Wagner.

Catchers: Brian McCann and David Ross.

Infielders: Brooks Conrad, Troy Glaus, Alex Gonzalez, Diory

Hernandez, Eric Hinske, Omar Infante and Derrek Lee.

Outfielders: Rick Ankiel, Melky Cabrera, Matt Diaz, Jason

Heyward and Nate McLouth.

Rife with rookies

The roster included seven rookies: Conrad, Heyward, Martinez,

Dunn, Venters, Beachy and Kimbrel.

Hernandez technically is not a rookie because of time accrued

while on the 60-day disabled list, though he has only 103 major

league plate appearances.

Cox was asked if he even considered Heyward and Venters to be

rookies, given how much they played or pitched this season.

“I’ll take 25 rookies if they can all play like those guys,” Cox

said. “That [high number of rookies] is not a big deal. We’ve got

plenty of guys that are veterans that have been to the playoffs,

things that can help them.”

Twelve

Braves on the NLDS roster had

previous postseason experience, including seven who have played in

at least one World Series.

Aiming to win for Cox

When

Braves players entered the

visitor’s clubhouse Thursday, then found T-shirts emblazoned with a

simple slogan: 11 for 6. It meant 11 postseason wins for a World

Series title for Cox (No. 6) in his final postseason as

manager.

“We’ve had some awesome T-shirts this year,” Conrad said.

Conrad said he didn’t know who had the shirts made, and backup

catcher Ross, frequent ringleader in such matters, said he wasn’t

responsible this time.

“I think this whole season has been special, to be able to play

for him, especially in his last year,” Hanson said. “I don’t think

we’re thinking about that too much. We obviously want to take it

one step at a time. But that would be awesome to be able to do that

[for Cox].”

Atlanta AB R H BI BB SO AVG.

O.Infante 3b 4 0 1 0 0 0 .250

Heyward rf 3 0 0 0 1 2 .000

D.Lee 1b 4 0 0 0 0 3 .000

McCann c 3 0 1 0 0 1 .333

Ale.Gonzalez ss 3 0 0 0 0 1 .000

M.Diaz lf 3 0 0 0 0 1 .000

Conrad 2b 3 0 0 0 0 2 .000

Ankiel cf 3 0 0 0 0 1 .000

D.Lowe p 2 0 0 0 0 2 .000

Venters p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —

Hinske ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000

Moylan p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —

M.Dunn p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —

Kimbrel p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —

Totals 29 0 2 0 1 14

San Francisco AB R H BI BB SO AVG.

A.Torres cf 4 0 1 0 0 1 .250

F.Sanchez 2b 4 0 0 0 0 0 .000

A.Huff 1b 3 0 1 0 1 1 .333

Posey c 4 1 2 0 0 1 .500

Burrell lf 3 0 0 0 0 2 .000

Schierholtz rf 0 0 0 0 0 0 —

Uribe ss 2 0 0 0 1 1 .000

Sandoval 3b 2 0 0 0 1 1 .000

C.Ross rf-lf 2 0 1 1 1 0 .500

Lincecum p 2 0 0 0 0 2 .000

Totals 26 1 5 1 4 9

Atlanta 000 000 000 — 0 2 2

San Fran. 000 100 00x — 1 5 0

E: Ankiel (1), Conrad (1). LOB: Atlanta 3, San Fran. 6. 2B:

O.Infante (1), McCann (1), Posey (1). RBIs: C.Ross (1). SB: Posey

(1). CS: A.Huff (1). S: Lincecum.

DP: Atlanta 2.

Atlanta IP H R ER BB SO ERA

D.Lowe L, 0-1 5 fl 4 1 1 4 6 1.69

Venters 1 (TM) 0 0 0 0 2 0.00

Moylan fl 0 0 0 0 0 0.00

M.Dunn 0 1 0 0 0 0 –

Kimbrel (TM) 0 0 0 0 1 0.00

San Francisco IP H R ER BB SO ERA

Lincecum W, 1-0 9 2 0 0 1 14 0.00

M.Dunn pitched to 1 batter in the 8th.

T: 2:26. A: 43,936 (41,915).