Injuries to key hitters magnify Braves' needs

Injuries to key hitters magnify Braves' needs

Injuries to key hitters magnify Braves' needs
ATLANTA -- On the way to claiming Tuesday's 19-inning win over the Pirates, the Braves were delivered a severe blow when Brian McCann suffered a left oblique strain that will sideline him for two or three weeks.

This certainly wasn't comforting news for a team that has struggled to simply split its first 12 games since the All-Star break. Adding to the Braves' woes was the fact that Chipper Jones will be out of the lineup with a strained right quad, and it might be at least a few more weeks before he plays without getting regular days off.

Throw in the fact that starting center fielder Jordan Schafer is also on the disabled list, and it's apparent that the Braves are a fractured bunch with Sunday's Trade Deadline approaching. Their hope was to add a right-handed bat to a lineup that included McCann, Jones and Schafer on a daily basis.

Trade Include

Now, it seems they're still hoping to add a right-handed hitter who can fortify the lineup immediately and when it once again also includes McCann, Jones and Schafer.

"Obviously [McCann's injury] changes a little bit, but I think we were going to change the club no matter what," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

The Braves' wish list was altered courtesy of a couple trades completed by other teams Wednesday. There's no longer reason to wonder about the possibility of adding Carlos Beltran, who is on the verge of being traded by the Mets to the Giants.

With Beltran gone and uncertainty surrounding what Schafer and Nate McLouth could provide in center, the Braves could accelerate their pursuit of Rays' outfielder B.J. Upton, who could play center and bat leadoff.

In their pursuit of a right-handed reliever, the Braves showed some interest in Jason Frasor, who was traded by the Blue Jays to the White Sox Wednesday as part of two deals that also included the Cardinals.

McCann's injury did lead the Braves to acquire Wil Nieves from the Brewers in exchange for $1. They have agreed to pay the approximate $130,000 Nieves is owed over the remainder of the season.

Nieves will report to Triple-A Gwinnett to provide some organizational depth. The Brewers designated him for assignment and sent him to their Triple-A affiliate in Nashville after he hit just .140 in 20 Major League games this year.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.