Sveum Aroldis Chapman Jersey can relate to injured Louisville star

Cubs manager Dale Sveum Aroldis Chapman Jersey cringed when he saw the replay of Louisville guard Kevin Ware breaking his leg during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

In 1988, Sveum’s career changed after a freak collision with Brewers teammate Darryl Hamilton. Sveum was playing shortstop and chased a pop fly down the third-base line, crashing into Hamilton, who was playing left. Sveum broke his left leg, which had to be re-fractured a year later because it didn’t heal properly.

Seeing Ware go down brought back lots of memories for Sveum.Cheap Aroldis Chapman Jersey.

“I felt horrible about it,” Sveum said of Ware, who is in Atlanta with his Louisville teammates for the Final Four. “I went through the same thing. It was kind of a freak accident. His was even stranger to come down and do something like that in such a horrific way. It makes you nauseated, that’s for sure. It was one of the more horrible injuries, if not the most horrible injury, we were able to see and witness. Hopefully, he can come back. I don’t know if he can come back from something like that. That was eye opening to say the least.”

Sveum Aroldis Chapman Jersey recalled his injury immediately.Aroldis Chapman Cincinnati Reds Jersey.

“It’s a flashback, knowing exactly how much pain you’re in when something like that happens,” Sveum said. “You basically kind of go into shock. It’s something you’ll never forget. I flashback every time [Darwin] Barney or [Starlin] Castro go down this line for a popup.

“It’s such a traumatic incident that you’ll never forget it,” Sveum said.

 • Friday’s game marked the start of a stretch of 19 in a row for the Cubs against teams that finished .500 or better last year. Thirteen of those games are against teams that reached the playoffs, beginning with the Braves.

It’s going to be challenging.Aroldis Chapman Jersey Replica Jersey.

“That was last year’s playoff teams,” Cubs pitcher Matt Garza said. “Things change.”

• There were too many ballplayers on the field during the Braves’ batting practice. The Cubs’ relievers were doing their normal pregame routine, but they were in left field while the Braves were hitting. Atlanta general manager Frank Wren asked the players to get off the field, but they didn’t.

“[Wren] came in and asked me a favor, if I could keep the guys off the field, because they were trying to do defensive work,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “Realistically, two teams can’t be on the field at the same time, but we all know that at the end of [batting practice], everybody always goes and throws and everybody’s work is done by then. The [batting practice] times got all goofed up. That’s part of why that happened.”

The Cubs’ pitchers were amused that they were being chased off.

• Hall of Famer Ernie Banks will sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch Monday at the Cubs’ home opener. Another Cubs Hall of Famer, Fergie Jenkins, will sing on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, members of the 1963 Loyola men’s basketball team, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary of its NCAA championship, will sing, and be followed on Thursday by Blackhawks Hall of Fame goalie Tony Esposito.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum Aroldis Chapman Jersey cringed when he saw the replay of Louisville guard Kevin Ware breaking his leg during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

In 1988, Sveum’s career changed after a freak collision with Brewers teammate Darryl Hamilton. Sveum was playing shortstop and chased a pop fly down the third-base line, crashing into Hamilton, who was playing left. Sveum broke his left leg, which had to be re-fractured a year later because it didn’t heal properly.

Seeing Ware go down brought back lots of memories for Sveum.Cheap Aroldis Chapman Jersey.

“I felt horrible about it,” Sveum said of Ware, who is in Atlanta with his Louisville teammates for the Final Four. “I went through the same thing. It was kind of a freak accident. His was even stranger to come down and do something like that in such a horrific way. It makes you nauseated, that’s for sure. It was one of the more horrible injuries, if not the most horrible injury, we were able to see and witness. Hopefully, he can come back. I don’t know if he can come back from something like that. That was eye opening to say the least.”

Sveum Aroldis Chapman Jersey recalled his injury immediately.Aroldis Chapman Cincinnati Reds Jersey.

“It’s a flashback, knowing exactly how much pain you’re in when something like that happens,” Sveum said. “You basically kind of go into shock. It’s something you’ll never forget. I flashback every time [Darwin] Barney or [Starlin] Castro go down this line for a popup.

“It’s such a traumatic incident that you’ll never forget it,” Sveum said.

 • Friday’s game marked the start of a stretch of 19 in a row for the Cubs against teams that finished .500 or better last year. Thirteen of those games are against teams that reached the playoffs, beginning with the Braves.

It’s going to be challenging.Aroldis Chapman Jersey Replica Jersey.

“That was last year’s playoff teams,” Cubs pitcher Matt Garza said. “Things change.”

• There were too many ballplayers on the field during the Braves’ batting practice. The Cubs’ relievers were doing their normal pregame routine, but they were in left field while the Braves were hitting. Atlanta general manager Frank Wren asked the players to get off the field, but they didn’t.

“[Wren] came in and asked me a favor, if I could keep the guys off the field, because they were trying to do defensive work,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “Realistically, two teams can’t be on the field at the same time, but we all know that at the end of [batting practice], everybody always goes and throws and everybody’s work is done by then. The [batting practice] times got all goofed up. That’s part of why that happened.”

The Cubs’ pitchers were amused that they were being chased off.

• Hall of Famer Ernie Banks will sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch Monday at the Cubs’ home opener. Another Cubs Hall of Famer, Fergie Jenkins, will sing on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, members of the 1963 Loyola men’s basketball team, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary of its NCAA championship, will sing, and be followed on Thursday by Blackhawks Hall of Fame goalie Tony Esposito.

Castro Aroldis Chapman Jersey plays in consecutive game No. 200

Friday was Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro’s 200th consecutive game played. He’s got a long way to go to catch Cal Ripken Jr.’s streak, but Castro’s 200 is the longest active streak in the National League.

“If 200 is hard, how can you think about 2,000?” Castro Aroldis Chapman Jersey said.

“It’s nice to have a guy, let alone your shortstop, who can go out there every day,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Knock on wood, he’s very durable. He doesn’t ever have anything wrong or anything. He’s just a guy who likes to play, which is really nice to have from one of your best players.”

Aroldis Chapman Jersey Replica Jersey.Past Cubs managers Lou Piniella and Mike Quade both gave Castro off-days when they felt the young shortstop needed a break. He doesn’t want any more breathers.

“If my body lets me play, I’ll keep playing,” Castro said. “That’s my goal for this year is 162 games. Every year. I don’t want a day off. That’s why I prepare. Sometimes, when you have a slump, you get a day off. Lou Piniella did it to me and Quade, and then I come back hard again.”

Did he tell Sveum no days off?

“I don’t have to tell him,” Castro said. “He knows I like playing.”

The Tigers’ Prince Fielder has the longest active streak in the Major Leagues, having played in 346 consecutive games.

“We were talking the other day about what Ripken did,” Sveum said of the Iron Man’s 2,632 consecutive games played record. “Did he go through his whole career without any broken bones or broken fingers? I’m sure something happened. … There’s a lot of luck in that and, obviously, some grit involved, too.”

Matt Garza Aroldis Chapman Jersey  rejoined the Cubs on Friday, one day after his first bullpen session since mid-February, and said he was already penciling himself into the rotation for May.

“I’m pushing for early May and pushing hard, too,” Garza said.Cheap Aroldis Chapman Jersey.

The right-hander is on the disabled list with a strained left lat, which he first felt during a live batting-practice session on Feb. 17 in Mesa, Ariz. He had not thrown off a mound from that date until Thursday when he threw 25 pitches in Mesa.

“The first throw was kind of like ‘ah’ and after that it was, ‘Let’s go,'” Garza said of Thursday’s outing. “I felt strong and I felt good. About 18 of the 25 [pitches] were strikes. [It’s progressing] slowly, but I’m coming back. Another [bullpen] on Sunday. I can’t wait.”

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Garza feels the arm strength is there, and that he needs to work on his mechanics. Garza will stay with the Cubs while he continues his rehab.

“It made sense to stay there in 90-degree heat [in Arizona] than go to Pittsburgh and try to play catch in 30-degree weather,” Garza said. “It was more logic than anything. Now, I’m fine. I want to get off the bump with these guys and just go.”

Cubs narrow list of potential Draft picks.Aroldis Chapman Jersey

The Cubs have narrowed the list of players they’re looking at for the upcoming First-Year Player Draft to a half-dozen, and spent this week working out Georgia high school outfielders Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier.

The Cubs have the second pick overall in the Draft Aroldis Chapman Jersey, to be held June 6-8.

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Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, watched Meadows and Frazier, and then flew to California to scout Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, who struck out seven over 8 2/3 innings against USC.Aroldis Chapman Cincinnati Reds Jersey.

Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and player development and scouting director Jason McLeod all watched the two outfielders. Meadows, who is prepping at Grayson (Ga.) High School, has speed, an outstanding arm and good bat. Frazier, who is starring at Loganville (Ga.) High School, is similar to Meadows, except he’s slightly smaller. Frazier is 6-foot-1, 190; Meadows is 6-3, 200.

Appel ranks first among MLB.com’s Draft prospects list, while Meadows ranks third and Frazier is fifth.

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• Ian Stewart, on the disabled list with a strained left quad, was the designated hitter in a game at the Cubs’ extended Spring Training in Mesa, Ariz., on Saturday, and could be a few weeks away from rejoining the team.

Stewart, injured Feb. 21 during an intrasquad game, was able to run at 80-90 percent on Friday, and is making progress. He has yet to play in the field in a game.

Sveum said if all goes well, Stewart could be ready in two to three weeks.

• Second baseman Darwin Barney, on the disabled list with a left knee laceration, was able to take batting practice on Saturday. He had five stitches in his knee because of the cut, and was expected to get the stitches out this week.

• Matt Garza Aroldis Chapman Jersey, on the disabled list with a strained left lat, was to throw his second bullpen session on Sunday. Garza threw 25 pitches on Thursday in Arizona, and has had no problems since the workout. He’s expected to return in May.

Rizzo Aroldis Chapman Jersey, like team, searching for success at plate

After four games, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo Aroldis Chapman Jersey had one hit, and that was a home run in his first at-bat of the season on the first pitch.

Since then, he had gone 0-for-11, entering Saturday’s game against the Braves. He wasn’t alone. The Cubs were batting .133 as a team before Saturday.

“That’s baseball,” Rizzo said. “It’s four games. Hitting is contagious. Once someone gets going, I’m sure everyone will get going.

“It’s four games out of 162,” he said. “I’m sure guys will go and have worse stretches than this in their careers over time. This is baseball. We’re due for an explosive day.”

The Cubs did just that on Saturday, pounding 13 hits off the Braves in a 6-5 loss. Rizzo picked up his second hit and second home run in the fifth inning, and also singled with one out in the seventh.

However, Cubs manager Dale Sveum did see something else in Rizzo’s approach. The first baseman may be thinking too much.Aroldis Chapman Jersey Replica Jersey.

“I said it early in camp, when somebody asked about the adjustments he has to make and what he has to get better at,” Sveum said Saturday. “I think what he’s doing now is what he did in that one stretch where he struggled [last year]. He starts analyzing and thinking too much about what the pitcher is going to do to him, instead of getting a good pitch to hit and being ready to do that instead of always trying to guess along with each pitch.”

On Friday, Rizzo Aroldis Chapman Jersey struck out three times, and all three were on off-speed pitches.

“They’re hitting their spots, pitchers are making their pitches,” Rizzo said. “You tip your hat. Our job is to hit the ball over the middle of the plate, not their best pitch.”

Rizzo, who batted .285 in 87 games last season after he was called up in late June, said it’s encouraging that the team is 2-2, considering the offensive struggles.

“If our pitching stays the way it is now, the bats will come around,” Rizzo said. “You get hot streaks, cold spells. To be 2-2 is good, and we have to take advantage of our record now and our pitching and score some runs.

“Obviously, as a team, we’d like to be getting more hits, more situational hits,” he said. “We can hit .200 as a team, but if we get those big hits … I’m pretty sure that’s how the A’s did it last year, they had big hits at big times.”

Sveum has been shifty with Cubs’ defense.Cheap Aroldis Chapman Jersey.

ATLANTA — If you’ve watched the Cubs’ first four games, you must have noticed all of the defensive shifts they’ve used. There have been times when third baseman Luis Valbuena is positioned between the second baseman and shortstop Starlin Castro as the infielders shift to the right.

“I think we just happen to play a couple teams that are no-brainers, so to speak, when it comes to that,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of the infielders’ movement. “There’s less than a one or two-percent [chance] of balls hit to the opposite side.”Aroldis Chapman Cincinnati Reds Jersey.

Cubs third base coach David Bell positions the infielders while first base coach Dave McKay handles the outfielders. Their charts break down players’ averages when there are no runners on, when there are two strikes, when they have runners in scoring position, and when there are two outs.

On Friday, the Cubs overloaded on the right side against Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman, but he poked a single to left. Sveum was OK with that.

“If you’re going to get beat one percent of the time, and you take away 99 percent of his hits on the ground — [that’s why you shift],” Sveum said.

Marmol Aroldis Chapman Jersey’s role in doubt after Cubs lose heartbreaker

It’s only five games into the season, but Carlos Marmol may have lost his job as the Cubs’ closer.

B.J. Upton led off the ninth with a game-tying home run off Marmol and his brother, Justin, followed one out later with a walk-off blast, his second homer of the game and fifth of the season, to lift the Braves to a 6-5 victory on Saturday night over the Cubs at Turner Field.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said they would discuss Marmol’s role on the team, and may consider using Shawn Camp or James Russell as closer. Set-up pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa didn’t have his split-finger pitch, and was roughed up as well, giving up three runs on four hits in the eighth inning, as the Braves closed within 5-4.

Marmol Aroldis Chapman Jersey now has served up five runs on six hits over 1 2/3 innings in three games for a 27.00 ERA.

“We’re definitely going to talk about it now,” Sveum said about Marmol’s situation. “Fujikawa struggled, too. You’ve got Camp and Russell, who seem to be pretty efficient when they pitch. They’ve never had to do the last three outs of the game.”

It’s tough to pinpoint Marmol’s problems.

“I don’t know whether it’s mechanical, the arm angle or what,” Sveum said. “When he throws strikes, he’s getting hit now, too.”

Trailing 5-4 in the ninth against Marmol, B.J. Upton launched a 3-1 pitch to straightaway center. After Jason Heyward flew out, Justin, who had homered in the first, drove a 1-2 pitch to center for the game-winner. This was the first time the brothers have homered in the same game with the Braves, and the 25th time in baseball history that brother teammates have connected in the same game.

Marmol Aroldis Chapman Jersey said the problem was locating his pitches.

“I tried to do my best,” Marmol said. “I’m trying. I’m trying to do my best. I’ve got my confidence. They hit my pitch.”Cheap Aroldis Chapman Jersey.

The loss spoiled a solid effort from Carlos Villanueva, who struck out six over 6 2/3 innings and scattered six hits. Villanueva knows Marmol well; they faced each other in the Minor Leagues.

“I’m more concerned for how he feels,” Villanueva said. “Results are going to change, obviously. We all want to do well, we want to win every game. I’m more concerned about him as a human being. I’ve known him for a long time, and I know he’ll come back tomorrow and try to get it done again.”

The Cubs’ offense came alive. David DeJesus and Luis Valbuena didn’t have a hit prior to Saturday’s game and Anthony Rizzo had one in 12 at-bats, which came on the first pitch he saw on Opening Day. That changed as Rizzo belted a two-run home run, DeJesus doubled and scored in the first, and Valbuena hit a tie-breaking solo home run in the fourth to spark a 13-hit attack. Aroldis Chapman Cincinnati Reds Jersey.

But the Cubs didn’t get hits in crucial situations. They loaded the bases with none out in the eighth and failed to score, and stranded two more in the ninth.

“It could’ve been a lot more, too,” Sveum said of the offense. “Just to get one out of that [eighth inning] would’ve been nice. We still have to get better that way. We still have to understand pitch selection and all that. The fact of the matter is we had a chance to put the game away and we didn’t do it.”

The Cubs began the day batting .133 on the season, and had scored seven runs on 16 hits in their first four games. Sveum wasn’t worried about the lack of offense.

“I’d be lying if I said we weren’t struggling,” Sveum said. “It’s too early to push the panic button, if that’s what you’re asking. These guys are the core guys and guys are going to come around. The media guide doesn’t lie.”

Nate Schierholtz hit a RBI single in the Chicago first, but Justin Upton made it 1-1 with his first home run of the night. Valbuena’s first hit of the season came with one out in the fourth, when he homered to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead.

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 Rizzo, whose only hit had been his Opening Day home run last Monday against the Pirates, collected his second hit and second home run with one on and one out in the fifth. Welington Castillo added a RBI single to make it 5-1.

The Braves began their rally in the eighth. Justin Upton doubled to lead off against Fujikawa and scored on Freddie Freeman’s single for the first run off the Japanese right-hander. Dan Uggla singled, and one out later, Gerald Laird walked to load the bases.

“When those guys don’t have their splits, you better locate your fastball and he didn’t locate his fastball tonight,” Sveum said of Fujikawa. “It was up in the zone.”

“I think I put myself in a bad situation putting the leadoff guy on,” Fujikawa said.

Ramiro Pena then hit a two-run single to cut the deficit to 5-4, but Fujikawa got pinch-hitter Reed Johnson to hit into an inning-ending double play.

The Braves had no trouble in the ninth against Marmol. Fujikawa shouldered some of the blame.

“I shouldn’t be the one saying it, but if I got that eighth inning in a better way, I could’ve passed it on easier to Marmol, so it’s my responsibility as well,” Fujikawa said.

It may be a long night for Marmol.

“He’s a strong guy. I’m sure he’ll recover from this,” Villanueva said. “You’ve got to take the positives out of it. It’s tough and it’ll be tough for a little bit. He’s been a closer for a while, so he has that mentality. He’s got to have confidence that he’ll bounce back and lead us to some victories.”

B.J. Upton Aroldis Chapman Jersey hopes hitting leadoff leads to hits

B.J. Upton Aroldis Chapman Jersey’s first four games with the Braves did not go according to plan. But the veteran center fielder got a chance to shake things up when he was moved to the leadoff spot to replace the injured Andrelton Simmons on Saturday night.

The move proved to be beneficial, as Upton’s presence at the top of the lineup allowed him to experience something special. His game-tying homer to open the bottom of the ninth set the stage for his younger brother Justin Upton to give the Braves a 6-5 win over the Cubs with the walk-off home run over the wall in center.

B.J.’s home run was his first with the Braves, who signed him to a franchise record five-year, $75.25 million contract in November. Two innings earlier, he had notched his first hit with an infield single that snapped the 0-for-16 stretch that began his career in Atlanta.

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“We’re winning, and that’s the main thing,” B.J. said. “I’ll get it together and start hitting the ball a little bit better. But overall, the goal is to win.”

Upton is certainly not the first player to experience a slow start after signing a large contract the previous offseason. Even the calm, cool and collected Greg Maddux said he felt added pressure after he signed as a free agent with the Braves before the start of the 2003 season.Aroldis Chapman Jersey Replica Jersey.

“His at-bats just kept getting better and better through the course of the week,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I think after the chopper base hit, he got the curse off his back a little bit.”

Simmons is expected to return to the lineup by Monday. At that point, B.J. will likely return to the lineup’s fifth spot.

 Worth noting.Cheap Aroldis Chapman Jersey.

• Mike Minor has compiled a 2.09 ERA in 15 starts since last year’s All-Star break. The only other Major League pitcher with a better ERA during that span is the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (1.94).

• Justin Aroldis Chapman Jersey Upton hit his third home run in his 11th at-bat and fourth game of this season. His third home run last year came on May 2, in his 72nd at-bat and 22nd game of the season.

Simmons Aroldis Chapman Jersey scratched from lineup with sore thumb

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Andrelton Simmons Aroldis Chapman Jersey arrived at Turner Field expecting to play in Saturday night’s game against the Cubs. But after informing the Braves medical staff that his right thumb was sore, the shortstop was reminded teams are not going to take any chances with injuries at this early point of the season.

“I feel good enough to go out there,” Simmons said. “If it was up to me, I’d put myself in the lineup. They’re trying to make the best decision for the team and [for me]. I understand. I didn’t expect to be taken out [of the lineup]. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have said anything.”

Simmons was scratched from the lineup late Saturday afternoon. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated he will likely let Simmons rest until at least Monday.

Ramiro Pena will play shortstop and B.J. Upton will bat leadoff in Simmons’ absence.Aroldis Chapman Cincinnati Reds Jersey.

“For me, it’s OK if it’s just day-to-day,” Gonzalez said. “It gives Pena a chance to play a little bit. We always talk about how good our team is. One of our greatest challenges is playing everybody. Now Pena gets to play a little bit.”

Simmons Aroldis Chapman Jersey injured his thumb as he completed a head-first slide while stealing second base during the third inning of Friday night’s win over the Cubs. This injury is nowhere near as serious as the fractured right pinky finger he sustained while sliding head first into second base during a July 8 game in Philadelphia.

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After missing two months because of the fracture, Simmons said he would likely continue to slide head first. This latest setback has not altered his mindset.

“It’s just how I feel faster,” Simmons said. “Maybe I’ll put something in my hand that makes it easier sliding. But I doubt I’ll just plain stop sliding head first.”

Gonzalez said he and his coaches have warned Simmons and other players about the danger of sliding head first.

“We talk about it all of the time,” Gonzalez said. “Don’t slide head first. Slide feet first and you won’t get hurt. But boys are boys.”

Aroldis Chapman Jersey Uptons homer in ninth for wild walk-off win

When the Braves acquired B.J. Upton and Justin Aroldis Chapman Jersey Upton this winter, they knew they had created a powerful lineup that could quickly erase late-inning deficits. At the same time, they knew they had set the stage for the two brothers to share some special experiences.

But that did not take anything away from the tremendous energy the Uptons created when they erased a one-run deficit with a pair of ninth-inning home runs that gave the Braves a 6-5 win over the Cubs on Saturday night at Turner Field.

B.J. opened the bottom of the ninth inning with a solo shot that tied the game and gave him his first home run as a Brave. Two batters later, Justin added to the greatness of his first week in Atlanta with a walk-off shot that soared over the center field wall and gave the Cubs even more reason to consider removing Carlos Marmol from their closer’s role.

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“I think right now, in my mind, it’s No. 1,” Justin said when asked where this ranked among his greatest memories. “It was exhilarating out there.”

As Justin flipped his batting helmet and rounded third base, his proud older brother was anxiously racing toward the plate to enjoy their first walk-off celebration together.

“To have a night like tonight, where I hit the home run to tie it and he hits the one to win it, that is new to me,” B.J. said. “It’s a pretty good feeling.”

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Uptons are the first brothers in Major League history to hit a game-tying and walk-off home run in the same inning. Elias also revealed they were the first brothers to hit a home run in the same inning since Cal and Billy Ripken did it with the 1996 Orioles.

Aroldis Chapman Cincinnati Reds Jersey.”I’ve never seen anything like that in the ninth inning,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I know this is special right now for the Upton family.”

Manny and Yvonne Upton have been in Atlanta throughout this week to watch their sons play together for the first time. They have seen Justin get off to an incredible start with five home runs through his first five games. And they saw B.J. go hitless in his first 16 at-bats before being credited with an infield single in Saturday’s seventh inning.

But this week will always be remembered as the one in which their sons teamed to produce a thrilling ninth-inning comeback with a couple of the most memorable home runs in their young careers.

“That’s what you dream about — to be on the field and have that big at-bat and to come through for your team,” Justin said. “You can’t beat that.”

When the Braves acquired Justin Upton from the D-backs in January, they knew they had acquired a superstar-caliber outfielder who was determined to prove his former team had given up on him too soon. With five home runs through his first 18 at-bats, he has strengthened the belief that he is on a mission to prove his doubters wrong. He compiled 145 at-bats before hitting his fifth home run last year.

“I’m just going up there and trying to put together good at-bats,” Justin Aroldis Chapman Jersey  said. “It’s crazy that it has gone the way that it has. I’m just putting barrels on balls and they are leaving the yard.”

Justin’s third first-inning home run of the week erased the early 1-0 lead the Cubs took against Julio Teheran, who was unable to live up to the promise he showed while posting a 1.06 ERA in six Grapefruit League starts.

Making his fifth career start, Teheran proved inconsistent with his offspeed pitches and allowed five runs in five innings. Two of the eight hits he surrendered were home runs. Luis Valbuena took him deep with one-out in the fourth inning and Anthony Rizzo highlighted a three-run fifth inning with a two-run home run.

After carrying a four-run lead into the eighth inning, the Cubs proved to be the first victims of Atlanta’s new quick-strike offense.Cheap Aroldis Chapman Jersey.

The potent Braves offense awoke with three runs in the eighth against Kyuji Fujikawa. Justin Upton’s leadoff double was followed by consecutive singles from Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla. Ramiro Pena, who was playing for the injured Andrelton Simmons, cut Atlanta’s deficit to one run with a two-run single.

After Eric O’Flaherty worked the Atlanta bullpen’s fourth scoreless inning, B.J. showed the Atlanta fans his power potential by drilling Marmol’s 3-1 fastball over the center field wall. Two batters later, Justin fell behind with a 1-2 count against the Cubs’ closer before drilling a 94-mph fastball over the fence in center.

Each of Justin’s first five home runs have been hit with two strikes. Entering this year, just 26.9 percent (29 of 108) of his home runs were hit with two strikes.

As he stood in the dugout, B.J. said he had a sense his younger brother might deliver the shot that allowed them to celebrate this special ninth inning together.

“The way he’s been swinging the bat, it’s definitely possible,” B.J. said. “He gets behind in the count and is disciplined enough to lay off some pitches. Then he got a good pitch to hit and he didn’t miss it.”

Hicks notches first hit, Pressly first outing.Brandon Phillips Jersey

The Twins’ 8-2 win over the Tigers on Thursday featured a few firsts, as center fielder Aaron Hicks picked up his first career hit and reliever Ryan Pressly made his Major League debut and had his first strikeout.

Brandon Phillips Cincinnati Reds Jersey.Right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who had Tommy John surgery on May 1, also made his first start since April 21, 2012, and picked up his first victory since Aug. 24, 2011.

“There were a lot of good things going on,” Pelfrey said. “Hicks got his first hit and Pressly had his first outing. So hopefully this will carry over.”

Hicks’ first hit came in the eighth inning on a two-run single to right field off Brayan Villareal that capped a five-run inning for the Twins. It snapped an 0-for-11 streak with seven strikeouts for Hicks to begin his career.

“It felt amazing,” Hicks Brandon Phillips Jersey said. “It just seems like I was too anxious out there. I was swinging at stuff out of the zone. So it was a big situation to get that first hit and it takes the pressure off.”

Pressly, meanwhile, tossed a scoreless ninth inning. A Rule 5 Draft pick from the Red Sox in December, Pressly gave up a leadoff single to Omar Infante but was able to retire Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera to close out the game.

After using the same lineup the first two games of the season, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire changed it up Thursday, as Jamey Carroll started at second base and hit eighth against the Tigers. He went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run.

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Carroll, who is expected to see time at second base, shortstop and third base in a utility role this year, entered the game with success against Tigers starter Rick Porcello, with a career .359 batting average against the right-hander.

“I like Jamey Carroll, and he needs to play,” Gardenhire said. “We don’t need guys sitting. We’ve already had one day off. Most of the guys have gotten into a ballgame but he’s only pinch-ran. So we need to get guys in a game.”

But the rest of the lineup remained the same, as Joe Mauer hit second instead of his usual spot as the club’s No. 3 hitter for the third straight game.Cheap Brandon Phillips Jersey.

Joe Mauer Brandon Phillips Jersey  picked up a hit before Thursday’s game against the Tigers even started, as a scoring change from Opening Day awarded him an infield single in his first-bat of the season on Monday.

The play was originally ruled an error on Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera but was reviewed and changed to a hit. With the change, Mauer’s batting average improved from .250 to .375 (3-for-8).

Mauer also started behind the plate for a third straight game on Thursday, but is expected to get a day off from catching duties during a three-game set in Baltimore this weekend.

“He came in and I didn’t even ask him — he was catching these three games,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “And then we’ll see in Baltimore. He wants to catch. He really does. But [Ryan] Doumit does too, so some day in Baltimore [Doumit] will catch.”

Escobar Brandon Phillips Jersey notches two hits in first start

Eduardo Escobar Brandon Phillips Jersey made his first start of the year at shortstop against the Orioles on Friday, replacing regular shortstop Pedro Florimon and batting ninth.

Escobar responded by going 2-for-4 with an RBI single in Minnesota’s 9-5 loss and is hitting .500 (3-for-6) so far this season.

Manager Ron Gardenhire insisted the move was simply to get Escobar playing time and not because Florimon made two errors in the club’s opening series against the Tigers. With Escobar starting, only outfielders Wilkin Ramirez and Darin Mastroianni have yet to start a game this season.

“We have to mix it up a little bit and get everybody some at-bats,” Gardenhire said. “At some point this weekend Ramirez will probably get a start. Mastroianni isn’t ready yet, but we’re using him the best we can. Everybody needs to play and we wanted to get Escobar in there.”

Florimon fared well at the plate in the three-game series against the Tigers, hitting .375 (3-for-8) with a double and two RBIs. Although he made two errors on routine plays at shortstop, Gardenhire said he hasn’t lost faith in the 26-year-old shortstop after just three games.

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“It was a little bit rough out there,” Gardenhire said. “I don’t make excuses for players, but the weather has been rough and it’s been cold. He’s from Latin America, where he’s not used to that cold weather, so I don’t know if that had an effect on him catching the ball or what. We saw him play really well all spring.”

The Twins scratched right-hander Cole De Vries from his scheduled start on Sunday and will place him on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to last Saturday, with a strained right forearm.

The Twins will make the move official before Sunday’s game and will recall left-hander Pedro Hernandez from Triple-A Rochester to start in De Vries’ place.

De Vries attempted to throw a bullpen session before Friday’s game against the Orioles, but he still felt tightness in his forearm. De Vries last pitched on March 29 in Spring Training, but he exited that start after three innings because of discomfort in his forearm.

“He felt it with his curveball,” general manager Terry Ryan said about De Vries’ bullpen session. “If he doesn’t feel right, he can’t go out there. It’s as simple as that.”

Brandon Phillips Jersey  De Vries, who posted a 4.11 ERA in 17 outings with the Twins last year, is eligible to come off the DL on April 14. He said he’ll have an MRI exam on his forearm in Minnesota on Monday and is hopeful it’s nothing serious.Cheap Brandon Phillips Jersey.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” De Vries said. “My [bullpen session] was going great, but then I started throwing some offspeed pitches with my curveball and slider and [the tightness] just came back.”

Hernandez will be making his Twins debut, as he was acquired before last year’s Trade Deadline in the deal that sent Francisco Liriano to the White Sox. Hernandez was scheduled to start for Triple-A Rochester on Sunday, so he’ll be pitching on normal rest.

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Hernandez made one spot start for the White Sox last year, allowing eight runs in four innings against the Red Sox on July 18. He had a combined 3.32 ERA in the Minors last season and impressed this spring by throwing 11 scoreless innings in Grapefruit League play.

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