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828-game-thread-apparently-the-answer-to-our-prayers-is-elmer-dessens | August | 2008 Articles

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8/28 Game Thread: It Turns Out the Answer to Our Prayers Is Elmer Dessens

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Apparently, the Braves front office has been listening to our complaints, and help is on the way: Elmer Dessens! He's old and sucks, so I'm not really gonna break him down. He's played all year in the Mexican League, where he's put up an ERA around 4.00. It's a high-offense environment, so that's not terrible, but again, he's a 37-year old journeyman whose last year was atrocious and who was, in his prime, basically league-average. But it's part of a curious, interesting strategy, one that I don't completely disagree with: as DOB reports from talking to Wren, we won't be seeing
any of the Braves’ top young prospects in September, including the pitchers like Tommy Hanson and Kris Medlen. He said the reasoning was two-fold: 1. The Braves want to monitor innings on those guys, including Medlen, who’s starting on a regular basis for the first time since high school, and 2. “roster management.” In other words, to add any of them, including Schafer, to the 40-man roster now would require the Braves take someone off and possibly lose them in the Rule 5 Draft.
As you all know, I'm all in favor of getting more PT for the youngsters, rather than bringing them up too quick for them just to ride the pine. If keeping them in fall and winter leagues will help their development so they can contribute next year, that sure sounds fine with me. And there's no need to add any of these guys to the 40-man before necessary. If getting an empty suit like Dessens is what it takes to get our kids better in time for 2009, then by all means let's. I know I was pissed when I heard that Brandon wasn't being called up, but if he wasn't going to be given regular playing time, there wouldn't have been a point for him to be in town. It would be awfully nice if they'd let Lillibridge spell Yunel, however. Yunel has been playing injured for far too long. Tonight, work-in-progress Charlie Morton faces Anibal Sanchez. (Anibal was the other major Boston prospect in the Hanley Ramirez-for-Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell deal.) He's been injured a lot -- he just returned from shoulder surgery earlier in the year -- and after 3 years in the majors he has pitched fewer than 200 total innings, but he's got some talent: remember, he pitched a no-hitter during his rookie year two years ago. And he pitched us awfully tough that year, giving up just 3 runs in 15 innings. Morton has only faced the Marlins once, and it was a strange game: he gave up 4 runs on 2 hits, both homers. He was stung by giving up 4 walks in 5 2/3 innings, and his success tonight will depend in large part on whether he can maintain his command. In many ways, this is an ideal time for Morton to pound the strike zone, in a lost season, right before September callups, in a series of meaningless games, in which he can show he belongs in the starting rotation without the pressure of having to be an ace. If he spits out the bit in a consequence-free environment, then we'll know that he isn't ready. If he can continue making progress, he'll be a very deserving member of the rotation next year.

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