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Tom Gieryn: July 28 News & Minors Notes

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No game yesterday of course, but definitely some rumors heating up as Friday's trade deadline approaches.  The highlights:

As James Piette noted, ESPN's Buster Olney and FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal both say that the Braves are looking for relievers, with Rosenthal adding that the Braves have inquired on A's reliever Michael Wuertz, and that they are "in heavier pursuit of a more under-the-radar, unidentified option."  That sounds exactly like Frank Wren's M.O.: find the option no one else has come up with, and get a deal done.  How many rumors were there leading up to the Vazquez trade?  Or the McLouth trade?  None, or at least, very few.  He gets things done quietly, which is much to his advantage if you ask me.

In addition, Mark Bowman has quotes from Frank Wren noting that the Braves would be confident to stand pat at the deadline.  "The more you are in the spotlight this time of year, it means one of two things: Either you're getting rid of good players or you have the need to fill a big hole," Wren said.  Quite right, Frank, and indeed the Braves have every reason to feel confident in their roster, which is among baseball's most talented.  No reason to make a move just to make a move.  Don't expect anything big, if anything happens at all.

On the stranger side of the rumor mill, we've got John Perrotto of PiratesReport.com saying that, "Atlanta and Minnesota have both checked in on second baseman Freddy Sanchez."  There are many reports that the Pirates won't get much of anything in return for Sanchez, but his $8.1 million vesting option for 2010 is a stumbling block to a deal, as is the question of where Sanchez would play in Atlanta.  I wouldn't mind having Sanchez's bat in the lineup, but I can't see how he would fit.  Anyone see how the Braves might work him in?

Minors

Gwinnett: Veteran shortstop Chris Burke went 3-for-5, and he's now got a .752 OPS, which isn't exactly good, but could he really be worse than Diory Hernandez right now?  Brooks Conrad also went 3-for-3 with a homer: the man is hot right now, and it's sort of a shame he has to be hot in Triple-A.

Tim Hudson tossed four scoreless innings with no walks and two K's, so he's well on his way to rejoining the Braves; what remains to be seen of course is exactly how the Braves will employ him.  Jo-Jo Reyes also got in the game, allowing two runs in 3 2/3 innings, walking two, striking out two, and allowing a homer.  He may be quickly falling by the wayside in the Atlanta system...I like him as deadline trade bait for a minor deal.  Luis Valdez got the final four outs, three of them by punchout.

Myrtle Beach
: Cody Johnson went 2-for-4 with two RBI, and recent promotee Gerardo Rodriguez continued his good hitting in the Carolina League with a 3-for-5 day, including a double.  He's now hitting .300/.357/.478, and he joins Johnson in the "I can only play first base and left field so I had better be a very good hitter" club.  Catcher Jesus Sucre had two hits also; he has struggled since his midseason promotion, and he wasn't really a prospect to start with, so he may turn out to be a flash in the pan.  Last year's 30th-round pick Chris Shehan may be starting to get on his feet in High-A, as he has hits in his last six games (out of nine since moving up), including two doubles in this game.  C.J. Lee also had two hits in three tries as the Pelicans banged out 14 runs.

They needed all 14 of those runs, as Richard Sullivan surrendered five runs (three earned) in five innings, and Rudy Darrow followed by allowing four runs while getting just two outs.  Cory Gearrin pitched a perfect ninth, though.

Rome: Adam Milligan started slow after being moved up to full-season ball, but he's heating up now, as he went 2-for-3 with a homer.  In 81 at-bats, he's at .333/.372/.580, and he could turn himself into a real prospect very quickly.  Not much else on the hitting side, but Randall Delgado chiseled his five-plus ERA down to 4.85 with six innings in which he allowed no earned runs while walking just two and striking out ten.  That's the stuff that got him ranked ninth on Kevin Goldstein's Braves' prospect rankings this past winter.

Danville: Opponent Burlington's pitcher should automatically vault to prospect status for holding the potent D-Braves lineup to just three hits (although, in Danville's defense, Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg got the day off).  I kid somewhat, because the Appy League this year is a very high-octane circuit, because while I am constantly writing about Danville's offensive explosions, the Twins' affiliate is scoring exactly seven runs per game, and the Mets' team isn't far behind at 6.67.  The Elizabethton Twins have an .840 OPS on the season!  That's a good example of the statistical fun you can have in the minor leagues.
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