03/21/11 6:50 PM ET
Kawakami tries to shake off trade talk
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
"That question actually has been difficult because I don't know how to answer it correctly," Kawakami said through his interpreter. "It's not about showing people what I have. It's about myself and how I can perform at the Major League level."
Still not fully confident in the slider he attempted to develop after he won just one of 11 decisions and was dropped from Atlanta's rotation last year, Kawakami threw a steady diet of curveballs while allowing the Mets three runs -- one earned -- and three hits in three innings Monday afternoon.
Given his first start of the spring because Tommy Hanson is battling a sore back, Kawakami incurred all of his damage during the third inning and likely would have allowed just one run if shortstop Alex Gonzalez hadn't dropped a routine Angel Pagan liner.
Kawakami has allowed two earned runs through his first eight innings. The Braves are still hoping he draws interest from another club willing to trade for him and pay a respectable portion of the $6.77 million he is owed this year.
After taking a breath, Proctor still in 'pen mix
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- When Scott Proctor allowed five runs and three hits while recording just two outs against the Nationals last week, a bad case of bronchitis was causing him to have trouble catching his breath on the mound.
Proctor revealed this on Monday afternoon after he pitched around a pair of walks and completed a scoreless inning against the Mets. This latest outing allowed the veteran right-hander to remain in a battle to win the final spot in the Braves' bullpen.
"Whatever is going to happen is going to happen," Proctor said. "I'm not getting caught up in it. I go out there to do my job and that's why they're paid -- to make those decisions. I don't lose sleep over it. That's for my wife to worry about."
2010 Spring Training - Atlanta Braves
News & Features
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Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
Proctor's wife, father and agent let him know that he shouldn't have pitched when he was sick last week, and the reliever now acknowledges that he probably didn't do the smart thing. But he also understands his fate won't be determined simply by one outing.
Proctor also allowed three earned runs in his Feb. 27 exhibition season debut and three more earned runs March 15 against the Cardinals. His struggles have kept the door open for Cristhian Martinez, Jairo Asencio or Juan Abreu to continue battling for the last available bullpen spot.
Each of these three right-handers also pitched Monday. Martinez allowed one earned run and three hits while striking out three in two innings. Abreu allowed one hit in a scoreless seventh and Asencio proved perfect in the eighth.
While pitching for the Braves and Marlins the past two years, Martinez has shown he can handle long-relief duties. He has allowed three earned runs in 10 innings this spring.
Asencio, who was a closer when he used the name Luis Valdez, has worked two innings in three of his eight appearances. In 11 innings, he has allowed just one run and five hits.
"All of them are pitching well," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It's going to be a tough decision."
Cox to throw out first pitch in Gwinnett
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- As he continues to introduce himself to retired life, Bobby Cox will get to experience the excitement surrounding a couple of home openers in the Atlanta area this year.
One day before the Major Leaguers open the home portion of their schedule, the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves will have Cox throw out the ceremonial first pitch before their April 7 home opener against the Durham Bulls at Coolray Field.
"We are honored to have Bobby Cox represent our team on Opening Night," Gwinnett Braves general manager North Johnson said. "It will be exciting to see the baseball legend take the field instead of his usual post in the dugout. Our fans will get a real treat to come out and witness Bobby's first pitch, as well as all of the other great things we have planned for Opening Night and the 2011 season."
Cox ended his legendary managerial career in October. The 69-year-old former skipper has been with the Braves throughout camp, attending nearly every home game.
The Braves do not have anything scheduled for Tuesday, which is their only scheduled off-day during this year's camp. ... A National League scout who watched Sunday's win over the Astros said he "had never seen Eric O'Flaherty that good." O'Flaherty's fastball touched 93 mph during a scoreless inning that included a pair of strikeouts.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.