ATLANTA — Brian McCann, Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm can begin preparing for next season with the confidence that they will indeed be back with the Braves.
The Braves announced on Tuesday that they have exercised the contract options on the three for the 2013 season.
Though it has long been assumed that Hudson and Maholm would return, there was at least some reason to wonder about McCann, who could miss the first month of next season while recovering from a surgical procedure performed on his right shoulder two weeks ago.
Even with the possibility that McCann could be sidelined for all of April, the Braves opted to exercise the six-time All-Star catcher’s $12 million option. Hudson’s option was worth $9 million, and Maholm’s was worth $6.5 million.
McCann certainly did not look like himself as he hit .230 with 20 home runs and a .698 OPS this past season. Still, the Braves certainly took notice of the fact that he was able to produce that much power while being limited by constant discomfort in his shoulder.
With a thin free-agent market for catchers, there is at least a remote possibility that the Braves could attempt to trade McCann over the course of the next few months, but it is much more likely that the 28-year-old will be back in Atlanta.
Even before McCann struggled, there was a belief that highly regarded prospect Christian Bethancourt would be Atlanta’s starting catcher by the start of the 2014 season.
If McCann enjoys a bounceback season next year, he could enter next year’s free-agent market as one of the top available catchers. Given that he will be 30 by the start of the 2014 season, his greatest value could be with an American League club that could use him both as a catcher and designated hitter.
Whatever the case, McCann certainly has plenty of reason to be motivated next year as he winds up what would likely be the last significant contract of his carrer. Before returning from an oblique strain too soon in 2011, his career statistics included a .291 batting average with a .361 on-base percentage and .492 slugging percentage.
Hudson would like to end his career in Atlanta, and the Braves would not be opposed to granting him this wish. But his long-term future with the club will be influenced by how he pitches next year. Given that he will turn 38 in July, there is some hesitancy to give him a multiyear deal.
There were times this year when Hudson appeared quite capable of serving as a top-of-the-rotation starter. But on the way to compiling a 3.62 ERA — his highest since producing a 4.86 ERA during his career-worst 2006 season — he was routinely victimized by big innings.
Hudson allowed four runs or more in an inning in eight of his 28 starts. He allowed that many in an inning in just two of the 33 starts he made in 2011.
Within those eight rough innings, he allowed a total of 34 runs, or 44 percent of the 77 he allowed over the course of the 179 innings he pitched this year.
Hudson will be joined in the rotation by Maholm, who went 4-5 with a 3.54 ERA in the 11 starts he made after the Braves acquired him from the Cubs on July 30. The 30-year-old left-hander posted a 1.19 ERA in the nine starts he made from June 29 to Aug. 15.
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
ATLANTA — Jason Heyward spent this past season proving that he has the potential to be one of those rare players who has both tremendous power and great speed. At the same time, this legitimate five-tool athlete proved that he already stands as one of the game’s premier defensive outfielders.
Heyward’s defensive contributions were rewarded on Tuesday night, when he received the first Rawlings Gold Glove Award of his young career. Blessed with speed and great instincts, the 23-year-old spent this past summer handling his duties in right field with the grace of a center fielder.
“The young man has been terrific,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said in September. “We always talk offensive numbers, but I hope he gets consideration for a Gold Glove. I hope the league recognizes that, because he’s been terrific out there, as well. He’s saved our butt out there a couple times by himself.”
When Braves third-base coach Brian Snitker cast his Gold Glove ballot, he said that he would never vote again if Heyward did not receive this honor this year. Based on the results, it appears many of the National League’s other managers and coaches, who voted for the Gold Gloves, share Snitker’s high regard for Heyward.
Heyward is the first Braves player to win a Gold Glove Award since Andruw Jones and Jeff Francoeur in 2007.
Per Fangraphs, Heyward compiled a 21.5 UZR and a 20.3 UZR/150 (ultimate zone rating per 150 games). The only NL outfielder with better marks was Braves center fielder Michael Bourn, who was denied in his bid to win his third Gold Glove Award in four years. Left fielder Martin Prado and first baseman Freddie Freeman were also finalists for the Braves.
Heyward notched 11 assists and committed five errors while compiling a .986 fielding percentage this year. He led all NL right fielders in zone rating (.915) and range factor per nine innings (2.30).
This marked the second straight year that the outfielders were voted on according to their specific position. Heyward, Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce and Los Angeles’ Andre Ethier were the finalists among NL right fielders.
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen received more votes than Bourn, who won his previous Gold Gloves while playing for the Astros in 2009 and 2010. Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez finished ahead of Prado in the balloting among NL left fielders.
Former Brave and current Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche received his first Gold Glove. He finished ahead of Freeman and Cincinnati’s Joey Votto.
2012 Gold glove winners
||Matt Wieters, BAL
||Yadier Molina, STL
||Mark Teixeira, NYY
||Adam LaRoche, WAS
||Robinson Cano, NYY
||Darwin Barney, CHC
||J.J. Hardy, BAL
||Jimmy Rollins, PHI
||Adrian Beltre, TEX
||Chase Headley, SD
||Alex Gordon, KC
||Carlos Gonzalez, COL
||Adam Jones, BAL
||Andrew McCutchen, PIT
||Josh Reddick, OAK
||Jason Heyward, ATL
||Jeremy Hellickson, TB
Jake Peavy, CWS
|Mark Buehrle, MIA
Former NBA star and Clarksville native Trenton Hassell, who played at Austin Peay, has donated portable bleachers to Burt Elementary. The bleachers are being delivered and set up today.
The school is very grateful for this generous gift.
Hassell earned a reputation for being one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders. A 6’5″, 210 lbs guard-forward, Hassell was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the first pick in the second round (29th overall) of the 2001 NBA Draft.
Hassell graduated from Clarksville High School in Clarksville, Tennessee in 1997 and from Austin Peay State University in 2001 with a degree in health and human performance. Among his high school teammates was future NBA player Shawn Marion. He played three seasons of college basketball with APSU after redshirting his first year. In January 2002, Austin Peay retired his college jersey number 44.
During his rookie season with Bulls in 2001–02, he appeared in 78 games, making 47 starts and averaging 8.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg and 2.2 apg. In Hassell’s sophomore season in Chicago, he appeared in all 82 games, making 53 starts and averaging 4.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg and 1.8 apg in 24.4 mpg.
Hassell was waived by the Bulls on October 23, 2003 and signed by the Minnesota Timberwolves six days later. He was a regular starter with the Wolves and often took the role of defensive specialist of the team. He was traded to the Mavericks for Greg Buckner on September 28, 2007
On February 19, 2008, he was traded to the New Jersey Nets along with signed and traded Keith Van Horn, Devin Harris, DeSagana Diop, Maurice Ager, $3 million cash and 2008 and 2010 first round draft picks in exchange for Jason Kidd, Malik Allen and Antoine Wright.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans on Monday were still thinking about missed opportunities against the Colts in Sunday’s 19-13 overtime loss.
Tennessee went through its regularly scheduled film session like it does the day after every win or loss, but the footage of Sunday’s game was particularly tough because it had so many plays in which the Titans could have secured the victory and evened their footing at .500 at the season’s midpoint.
The Titans, who fell to 3-5 however, start the second half of their season by hosting Chicago (6-1) Sunday at LP Field in their only home game of November.
Players and coach Mike Munchak said they must move forward, prepare for the Bears and put more points on the board against a defense that is statistically stingier than the Colts’ defense. Munchak said he assumes that Matt Hasselbeck will make his fifth consecutive start in place of injured second-year QB Jake Locker.
“We only had the ball seven possessions, and we should have done something with the ball, regardless of how many possessions we got,” Britt said. “We only had about 65 plays, but we should have put more points on there.”
Of the 64 plays, only four occurred inside the Indianapolis 20-yard line and they resulted in minus-4 yards. The Titans had one play in the red zone in the first half, a loss of 1 on a run play that was followed by a false start penalty and settled for a field goal on its opening possession. It was a stark contrast to the previous week in which Tennessee scored touchdowns on all four of its red zone trips at Buffalo.
Tennessee drove to the Indianapolis 9 early in the fourth quarter, but the snap between Hasselbeck and Fernando Velasco didn’t happen cleanly. Hasselbeck recovered the ball, but took a four-yard loss on the play and suffered a sack on third down to force another field goal that gave Tennessee a 13-6 lead with 10:26 remaining.
The Colts scored on their next possession to tie the game with 3:24 left, and Tennessee moved 39 yards to the Indianapolis 41 before settling for a punt and trying to force a punt by the Colts.
Tennessee thought it did better than that after a short pass from Andrew Luck to Dwayne Allen. Titans linebacker Colin McCarthy grabbed Allen low and Akeem Ayers stripped the ball as Allen spun. Alterraun Verner recovered it for the Titans, sending their sideline into a brief frenzy until officials ruled that Allen was down because his forward progress had stopped.
The Titans said Monday that their film review of the play reinforced their belief that it was a fumble.
“We watched that play, and on the pass it looked like a fumble,” Jason McCourty said, “but for whatever reason, it wasn’t called that way, so it’s tough, especially if we get out there on the field as a defense and not make the plays necessary to get the ball back to the offense and allow them to go win the game for us.
“It looked like a normal, spin out of the first tackle, and Akeem comes over to finish the tackle and strips the ball,” McCourty continued. “To us it looked like a fumble, to the official it didn’t, so at the end of the day, his opinion is the only one that matters.”
Munchak said the Titans will submit the play to the NFL office to request further interpretation, but even if officials agree with Tennessee, nothing will change. Munchak was asked if he thinks the ending of forward progress is consistently applied.
“I would say that it’s an emotional game, and in live time it seemed like, I always think of forward progress is like four guys pulling a guy back and they blow the whistle,” Munchak said. “At that time, I just didn’t really hear a whistle and I thought the ball was out before anything was really ruled one way or the other.
“I don’t know if people thought the ball was out, actually,” Munchak continued. “It seemed like the other official, I don’t think he saw the ball from his angle, so I just thought it was a play we had made, and I think most teams are going to think, if you’re the one that recovered it, you made the play, so at that moment, obviously, our whole sideline was excited about what we saw happening and the fact that we felt we made a play and didn’t get credit. It didn’t work that way, and obviously we had to move on when we went into overtime, and we didn’t.”
Britt underwent an MRI Monday, as he does every week after a game, to monitor his right knee that suffered an ACL and MCL tear in 2011. He and Munchak said Britt does not expect to miss practice time or game action, but the Titans will continue to monitor the amount of plays Britt takes.
Britt had three receptions for 34 yards, but had offensive pass interference calls go against him that erased a 43-yard completion on the first play of the second quarter and a 22-yard TD catch nullified by a pass interference call made by the back judge later in the period.
Britt said he and the Titans, who had won their previous two games, look forward to returning to action and continuing their climb.
“Everybody’s just anxious to get back out there and go do their job and make this turnaround,” Britt said. “Like we said yesterday, we believe we should have had this game and a winning streak, and we’re just frustrated of losing a close game like that. All of our games that we’ve had so far have been overtime and close games, and we believed that we could have made it happen yesterday.”
Leroy Harris suffered a knee injury on the Titans’ opening possession against the Colts and was relieved by Kevin Matthews.
Munchak said they must “wait and see” how long Harris will be out. He said Matthews will get the nod if Harris can’t go against the Bears.
Munchak said Matthews did a solid job filling in for Harris, and Mike Otto did the same in starting for Michael Roos at left tackle.
“Like I said after the game, I wish we could have enjoyed that more or praised that more with a win,” Munchak said.
CONCERNED ABOUT FAMILY
Britt and McCourty, who are New Jersey natives, said they were concerned about family members in the path of Hurricane Sandy but managed to focus on football.
“I’m trying to pay attention to our job and what we need to do this week,” Britt said. “It’s kind of hard, but I know they’ll get through it. I’m praying about it, and I know God will get them through it.”
McCourty said he hadn’t followed the path of the gigantic storm, but he had faith his mom will be OK.
“My mom lives in Jersey, but she’s a lot tougher than me, so she’ll make it through the storm,” McCourty said.
CLARKSVILLE – Austin Peay State University’s marketing and promotions office has announced several exciting promotions for the upcoming month and it all starts with Governors Football.
APSU encourages fans to take part in AP Pride Day, Saturday. Along with Austin Peay’s Office of Admissions hosting more than 400 prospective students, Govs football hosts Culver-Stockton, 1 p.m., at Governors Stadium, followed by Lady Govs volleyball against Southeast Missouri at 4:30 p.m., and Govs basketball in exhibition action against Central Missouri at 7:30 p.m.
Football fun starts with Tailgate Alley at 10 a.m., hosted by CC Carmack on the Governors Sports Network. The Governors Own Marching Band also is hosting Band Day, welcoming 75 guest band members into their halftime show.
Immediately following Govs football, Austin Peay fans are invited to catch Lady Govs volleyball as they host Ohio Valley Conference West division leader Southeast Missouri at 4:30 p.m. The Lady Govs are currently trailing SEMO for the lead, making Saturday’s matchup pivotal in the title hunt.
Govs basketball provides the nightcap when they host Central Missouri in a 7:30 p.m., exhibition game. Austin Peay football fans will have the opportunity to redeem their football game ticket for a free basketball ticket as part of a two-for-one deal.
CLARKSVILLE – Eleven games against six teams that qualified for the 2012 NCAA Baseball Championship highlight the Austin Peay State University baseball schedule, released Tuesday, by head coach Gary McClure.
Austin Peay, which finished as the Eugene Regional runner up in last season’s NCAA tournament, will face six NCAA participants this season with four slated to visit Clarksville. The Govs will play Indiana State in a home-and-home series, host Michigan State in a three-game series and host Creighton as part of the 2013 Riverview Inn Classic. APSU also will visit both Mississippi State and Kentucky in a return of Southeastern Conference opponents to its schedule. In addition, the Govs will host Belmont, the newest member of the Ohio Valley Conference series, in a three-game series.
“Scheduling is done so far in advance nowadays, so you never really know for sure how your competition will be from year to year,” said McClure. “With that said, I like how it has worked out this year that we will play 11 games against six teams that made the NCAA tournament last season. We look forward to the challenge, but have a lot of work to do between now and then.”
The Govs will play 33 games at Raymond C. Hand Park in 2013, including 15 of their first 17 contests. The campaign opens with a three-game series against Iowa, Feb. 15-17. Austin Peay also will host Illinois State (Feb. 22-24) and Michigan State (March 1-3) in three-game weekend series at home.
The following weekend Austin Peay will host 2013 Riverview Inn Classic, March 8-10, which will bring Creighton, Milwaukee and UALR to Raymond C. Hand Park for a round-robin event. The key matchup will pit Missouri Valley Conference tournament champion Creighton against Austin Peay in a 3:30 p.m., March 9 contest.
Austin Peay will begin defense of its back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference regular-season titles when it travels to Eastern Illinois, March 15-17. The Govs’ road OVC slate also features an Easter weekend trip to Murray State (March 28-30) as well as excursions to Southeast Missouri (April 12-14), Eastern Kentucky (April 26-28) and UT Martin (May 10-12).
The Govs will open the home portion of their OVC schedule when they host Jacksonville State, March 22-24. APSU’s home conference weekends will include Tennessee Tech (April 5-7), Belmont (April 19-21), Morehead State (May 3-5) and the regular-season finale against SIU Edwardsville (May 16-18).
Midweek offerings will provide home-and-home series against Evansville, Indiana State, Lipscomb, Middle Tennessee, Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky. In addition, the Govs will travel to both Mississippi State (March 26) and Kentucky (April 9). A late trip to Memphis, May 14, will wrap up the Govs non-conference slate.
“This year’s schedule will be extremely tough, for various reasons,” said McClure. “First, when looking ahead to this season we knew it would be a year we would have several talented veteran players returning who had been through some big games. So, it was my hope that we could handle the task of playing a very competitive schedule.
“Secondly, we always try to challenge our team by playing a very strong schedule in hopes that we will be battle tested when our conference season begins.”
Following the regular-season finale, the OVC tournament will be hosted May 22-26 at Pringles Park in Jackson, Tenn. It will be the fourth consecutive season the event has been hosted at the home of the Jackson Generals, the AA affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.
“We believe if we can do well against the type of schedule we have this year our RPI has a chance to rise to the level where we can possibly get an at-large bid if needed,” McClure said. “More importantly we will have the opportunity to put ourselves in a position for a higher seed should we qualify for the NCAA Tournament again.”
Austin Peay returns the bulk of a team that won both the OVC regular-season and tournament titles in 2012, the second consecutive year it swept the league’s titles. Among the returnees will be infielder Jordan Hankins, who was a second-team ABCA All-South Region and first-team All-OVC selection. Second-team All-OVC outfielder Cody Hudson also returns. In addition, infielder Reed Harper, outfielder Rolando Gautier and pitcher Kacy Kemmer, each OVC all-tournament picks, return.
- Austin Peay will play eight teams (for a total of 16 games) that finished last season ranked among the Top 100 in the NCAA’s final RPI rankings: Kentucky (18), Mississippi State (22), Michigan State (51), Indiana State (54), Illinois State (58), Belmont (67), Memphis (78) and Evansville (85). Austin Peay finished the season ranked 112th RPI.
- The Govs schedule posted a combined 737-692 (.515) record last season. The non-conference portion of that slate combined for a 475-389 (.550) record.