2009 MLB National League East Notebook
Tom Glavine’s triumphant return to Atlanta will never happen. Shortly before he arrived for the Braves’ June 3 game against the Chicago Cubs, the 305-game winner learned the team had released him.
This was a bit of a shock but not a complete stunner either. Glavine had slowly been coming back from shoulder surgery and was so disappointed after one start in April that he talked about retirement. But he had made enough progress recently for him to believe he did not need any more minor league appearances.
However, the Braves made the shrewd move for two reasons. First, they didn’t have to pay a $1 million bonus to Glavine had he been added to the 25-man rosters. Second, they were ready for prospect Tommy Hanson to join the ballclub and make his debut.
The veteran left-hander won 244 games with the Braves. There could be some mild interest from either teams who can sign him on the cheap. But if there no interest, don’t be surprised if Glavine does call it a career.
Atlanta also shored up its outfield by acquiring Pittsburgh center fielder Nate McLouth.
K-Rod has turned into the offseason free agent acquisition that the Mets thought he would be. Francisco Rodriguez began the middle of the week tied for second in the big leagues with 14 saves.
And Rodriguez (1-0, 0.73 ERA) has been perfect by converting all 14 chances. Rodriguez’s streak is also a Mets’ club record. That bests Anthony Young’s steak of 12.
K-Rod has just been nasty. He has struck out 27 batters in his first 24 2/3 innings and has not surrendered an earned run in 23 of his first 24 appearances. Left-handed hitters are batting .133 against him, while right-handed hitters are batting .186.
Left-handed reliever J.C. Romero rejoined his teammates on June 3 after serving a 50-game suspension because of an illegal supplement he tested positive for last August.
However, baseball never implied Romero cheated. Baseball only said he was guilty of negligence.
Romero argued that the penalty was unfair. However, the player’s union told its membership that a supplement purchased over the counter would test positive after the union thought it would not. Yes, there not much clarity to the issue. But Romero had to sit. He lost about $1.25 million in salary.
Well, someone had to pay for the Nationals’ horrid start. The rumors about manager Manny Acta’s tenure continued to fester through the season. But Acta kept his job, while pitching coach Randy St. Claire did not.
Running the worst pitching staff in baseball with a 5.67 ERA, the game’s fewest saves (8) and the most blown saves (12), St. Claire was made expendable. Triple A pitching coach Steve McCatty, who pitched in the early 1980s with Oakland, takes over.
Second baseman Dan Uggla will own a piece of baseball history. When he collected his 100 th career home run as a second baseman on June 2 against Milwaukee, he reached the century mark faster than any other second sacker in baseball annals. He only needed 503 games to do it.
Alfonso Soriano held the mark of 536 games when he broke into the big leagues with the New York Yankees. Uggla actually has 103 career home runs but 100 have come while at second base. And you can thank the good people at the Elias Sports Bureau for that little piece of knowledge.
By Kevin Lonnquist
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