LAWRENCEVILLE — While one Atlanta Braves pitcher was continuing his rehabilitation assignment in Gwinnett on the way back from a hamstring injury Saturday night, another will begin one in today’s series finale with Syracuse.
Relief pitcher Takashi Saito is scheduled to start for the G-Braves in today’s 2:05 p.m. game with the Chiefs and pitch the first inning or 25 pitches in preparation for his return to the major league club.
If all goes as planned it will likely be the only rehab outing for Saito, who has never pitched in the minor leagues since coming to the United States in 2006 and is eligible to return to Atlanta from the disabled list as early as Tuesday.
While some may consider No. 7 a lucky number, don’t tell that to G-Braves infielder Joe Thurston.
“Not for me, it’s not,” Thurston said following the G-Braves’ doubleheader with the Syracuse Chiefs on Friday. “I just needed to change my luck.”
So, the 5-foot-11, 210-pounder decided to try to do so by changing his uniform number from No. 7 to No. 10.
It seems to be working. Despite going 1-for-10 in the Syracuse series heading into Saturday night’s game, Thurston, who was hitting a mere .219 when he made the change June 1, has 16 hits in his last 56 at bats ( a .287 clip) to raise his average to .237, to go along with six home runs (tied with Freddie Freeman for second on the team behind Mitch Jones’ 11) and a team-best 33 RBIs.
Try this again
Prior to Saturday’s game, the G-Braves announced a make-up date for the game with the Durham Bulls that was postponed last Tuesday.
The two teams will now play a doubleheader consisting of two seven-inning games on Durham’s next trip to Coolray Field, specifically on Aug. 14. First-pitch for the opener is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
Lending a helping hand
The G-Braves are doing their part to help with the cleanup efforts from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The team dedicated proceeds from its “Tennis Toss” promotion which go to help the cleanup efforts.
The G-Braves’ front office and the players’ wives and girlfriends are also working with a non-profit group called “Matter of Trust” in contacting local hair salons for hair donations to help with oil spill relief.
All of the G-Braves’ remaining Thursday home games have now been designated as a “$3 Thursday.”
Each of those Thursday games, there will be a designated concession stand that will sell sandwiches, snacks, soft drinks and beer for $3.