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With the passing of Hurricane Irene over the Northeastern United States, many baseball games were put on hold, but none may be more important than Atlanta’s weekend road games against the New York Mets.

It’s no secret the Braves are a pretty beat up ball club. Kris Medlen and Peter Moylan are both on the 60-day disabled list and although many Braves are on the active roster, they are pretty worn down. Chipper Jones recently came back from a leg injury and Jose Constanza missed some time in the past few weeks as well. Jason Heyward battled shoulder inflammation earlier in the season and hasn’t been able to regain his form yet.

Another part of the worn down Braves is the bullpen. Craig Kimbrel has been out in almost every save situation this season, and Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty have been eating major innings as set-up men. The trio has all thrown over 58 innings and played in a collective 200 innings.

Among the starters on Atlanta’s pitching staff, Tommy Hanson leads the worry list. Jair Jurrjens hasn’t been able to regain his post-injury form in his limited time back, but Hanson’s injury is most concerning. Hanson’s been a staple of Atlanta’s staff for the past few seasons, but hasn’t thrown since early August and is on the disabled list with a “small undersurface rotator cuff tear.” Hanson traveled to Florida to be examined by Dr. James Andrews, a surgeon who specializes on athletes and has logged approximately 2,500 Tommy John surgeries. Andrews said Hanson’s injury isn’t significant. While Hanson will more than likely take a slow path to recovery, the good news is he won’t need surgery.

[caption id="attachment_339" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="Braves Starting Pitcher Tommy Hanson (Photo by The Associated Press)"][/caption]

While the Braves will obviously have to make up the games against the Mets, a three day break in the last third of the season goes a long way.

I was watching some Monday Night Baseball the other day, when Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel pulled pitcher Cole Hamels to give his bullpen some innings. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but Hamels threw only 76 pitches through six innings, allowing only two hits and one earned run. The game was still up for grabs as well with a 1-1 score. I certainly have far less experience and years involved in the game than Manuel, but this move didn’t make much sense. The broadcasters were talking for a good 15 minutes about the move; the consensus being that Manuel made a mistake. Why interrupt a cruising Cole Hamels. He wants to stay in the game and realistically, the Phillies have locked up a playoff spot. I understand wanting to keep your players fresh going into the final months of the season if you have postseason aspirations, but letting Hamels go seven or eight innings with 90-95 pitches wouldn’t be the end of the world. The fans want to see him, the players want to play behind him, and most importantly, Hamels wants to get the win and causing any unnecessary rifts with star players isn’t smart. Keeping the bullpen arms warm finishing up the season isn’t hard to do. If they don’t have as many in-game reps, so what? Give a reliever or two a good bullpen session to get some work in. They won’t go stale.

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