03/29/07 5:30 PM ET
Notes: Moylan content either way
Right-hander says he did all he could to make the team
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
"I go into this weekend with every expectation not to make the team," Moylan said. "If they are going to send me to Triple-A to get my work in and show that I can be consistent, so be it. I'll take it and run with it.
"I've done all that I can to make the decision hard or at least make them think that I'm a guy who they can count on during the year."
Knowing that Moylan has made just 50 professional appearances since 1997, there's a good chance the Braves will send him to Triple-A Richmond for more seasoning. But while watching him dazzle hitters with his sidearm sinker over the past four weeks, they've also come to realize he could be a definite difference-maker at the Major League level.
"There is no sinker like that around that I'm aware of," said Cox of Moylan, who didn't issued a walk, while surrendering one earned run on two hits over the course of his final five Grapefruit League innings.
Assuming that they'll take advantage of the versatility Oscar Villarreal brings, it appears the Braves must only determine whether to select Moylan or Tyler Yates to fill their final bullpen spot. With Yates being out of options, it appears the Braves' only options are to either trade him or take him to Philadelphia to begin the regular season.
Cox seems to be keeping an open mind in regard to the decision between Yates, who has provided two scoreless appearances since allowing four earned runs on six hits in a span of three innings, and Moylan, who wasn't discovered until he pitched for Australia in last year's World Baseball Classic.
"They're making it tough out there," said Cox, who will likely announce his 25-man roster after Saturday's exhibition game against the White Sox at Turner Field.
While carrying the mind-set that he'll likely end up at Richmond, Moylan isn't carrying a defeatist attitude. Instead, he's preventing himself from getting too worked up about something that he knows may not happen.
"We've got one of the best bullpens in either league right now," Moylan said. "So just to be a part of it this far has been fantastic."
Soriano battered, Hudson burned: Before Thursday's Grapefruit League season finale, Tim Hudson and Rafael Soriano had been mighty impressive. But after Hudson surrendered three runs in the fourth inning and Soriano four runs in the fifth of an 8-2 loss to the Indians, these right-handers left Florida with their ERAs a little higher.
Hudson limited the Indians to one single through the first three innings, and then momentarily lost control of his cutter. This led to consecutive walks in the three-run inning that was highlighted by Casey Blake's two-run single.
Hudson, who ended his Grapefruit League season with a 2.16 ERA, was fortunate to escape injury when he was hit in the left calf by a Victor Martinez first-inning comebacker. He said the ball scraped across his leg, leaving what he described as just a burning sensation.
Blake and Trot Nixon hit two-run homers off Soriano, who had allowed just one earned run on five hits in his first eight Grapefruit League innings. After allowing the Indians four earned runs and five hits in one inning, his ERA rose from 1.13 to 5.00.
"[Soriano] just didn't get loose," Cox said. "It's my fault. I didn't give him enough time to get loose."
Ready to go north: About an hour before Thursday's game, many of the Braves' players were relaxing and feeling the excitement created by the fact that they were just hours away from going home.
"I think I'm like everybody else, just kind of sick of being down here," said Kelly Johnson, who has been in camp since Feb. 13. "It's time to go home."
While Yunel Escobar and Martin Prado statistically had the best Grapefruit League seasons, it was Johnson who might have provided the most encouragement. Although he hit just .241 (14-for-58), the nine walks he drew provided indication that he'll show the patience necessary to find success as a leadoff hitter.
Defensively, he committed just one error and provided no indication that he'd never previously played the second-base position he'll man for the Braves on an everyday basis.
"If somebody asked me what my expectations were heading into camp, I'd have said to stay healthy and, by the end of spring, be ready to go," Johnson said. "I've definitely been able to do all of that."
Injury updates: Lance Cormier is expected to test his previously sore right shoulder during a side session on Saturday, which is when he was supposed to make his final exhibition start. If all goes well, he'll fill the final rotation spot and make his first regular-season start against the Mets the following weekend.
Cormier, who posted a 1.15 ERA and registered 13 strikeouts in 15 2/3 Grapefruit League innings, felt some discomfort while pitching against the Astros on Monday. If he's unable to go, the final rotation spot will be filled by Kyle Davies.
As for Mike Hampton, he'll accompany the Braves to Philadelphia next week and throw one simulated game before beginning his Minor League rehab stint. The veteran left-hander, who suffered a left oblique strain on March 7, is targeted to rejoin the Atlanta rotation during the first week of May.
No go para Dos Cinco: Before Thursday's Grapefruit League finale, Andruw Jones asked Cox if he could play at least one inning at shortstop.
"It's a free-agent year, I don't think I should," Cox playfully responded to his Gold Glove center fielder, who is in the final year of his contract.
"[Forget] free agency," Jones said. "It's just a word; it don't mean anything."
This caused Cox to chuckle and say, "That's what I say. We're on the same page, Andruw."
All of this happened while Jones was wearing the batting practice jersey that Cox didn't want him to wear. It's the one that has "Dos Cinco," which is Spanish for his jersey No. 25. He got the idea from Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson, who had a jersey that said "Ocho Cinco" above his No. 85.
Coming up: The Braves will begin a two-game exhibition series against the White Sox at Turner Field on Friday. They'll send Chuck James to the mound to face Mark Buehrle. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.