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Sports

LITTLE LEAGUE SOFTBALL, 10C Georgia gets its first win in the Southeastern Regional Tournament, beating Alabama.

Sports Editor Daniel Shirley | dshirley@macon.com | (478) 744-4227

Sunday July 29, 2012

Minor sharp in win over Phillies Bill Shanks

Braves trying to avoid Teixeira repeat

F

ive years ago, the Atlanta Braves took a gamble. They needed another bat in the lineup, and Texas made first baseman Mark Teixeira available. Scott Thorman had failed at first base after Atlanta traded away Adam LaRoche. The Braves had tried catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia at first, but it was obvious he was a catcher playing first base. So the Braves traded five young prospects to the Rangers for Teixeira and left-handed reliever Ron Mahay. Teixeira had the rest of 2007 and all of 2008 left on his contract. The Braves hoped Teixeira, who played college ball at Georgia Tech, would want to stay in Atlanta and sign a long-term contract. But that never happened. Teixeira put up good numbers, but the Braves struggled. They tried to get him to resign, but Teixeira was looking for a landmark contract, so he was traded away for two players who are since long gone. Four of the five players who were traded to Texas have turned out pretty good. Shortstop Elvis Andrus is a twotime All-Star. Neftali Feliz became the Rangers’ closer and helped them make two straight World Series trips. And Matt Harrison is having one of the best seasons for any pitcher in the AL this season. Saltalamacchia was also in the deal. He has moved on to Boston, and ‘Salty’ is finally turning the corner with a great season for the Red Sox. So the Braves went for it in 2007, and it backfired. They did not make the playoffs with Teixeira in the lineup. They did not re-sign Teixeira, and most of the players they traded for him have turned out to be pretty good players. That trade almost has become a moniker for teams that want a lot in return for a player who will soon be a free agent. For instance, when Miami put starter Josh Johnson on the trade market last week, word got out that the Marlins wanted a “Teixeira-like return” for their ace pitcher. Four days ago, I wrote the Braves didn’t need to panic. I thought they were about to do that if they had traded Randall Delgado, who has made 17 starts this season, to the Chicago Cubs for Ryan Dempster. The Chicago right-hander is a rental, as his contract is up at the end of this season. The 35-year-old Dempster blocked the trade, and thankfully Delgado is still with the Braves. On Friday, the Braves lost out on another available pitcher, when Milwaukee traded Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels. Greinke will be a free agent this fall, right when he turns 29. SEE

SHANKS, 12C

By CHARLES ODUM

eight innings. His nine strikeouts matched his season high. He retired the final 13 batters he faced. The Phillies’ only run came on Chase Utley’s homer in the fourth. Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his 30th save. Utley was caught looking at Kimbrel’s 99 mph fastball for a strike to end the game. The Braves, who lost 12 of 18

AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA — Mike Minor struck out nine and combined with Craig Kimbrel on a four-hitter, Jason Heyward had two hits and drove in a run, and the Atlanta Braves edged Joe Blanton and the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 on Saturday night. Minor (6-7) allowed one run on four hits and no walks in

games to the Phillies in 2011, are 6-2 against Philadelphia with five straight wins in 2012. Atlanta swept a three-game series July 6-8 at Philadelphia and will try to complete another three-game sweep on Sunday. Minor made his longest start since lasting eight innings in a win at Arizona on April 19. He has not allowed more than two runs in any of his four starts

Braves 2, Phillies 1

in July. Blanton (8-9) gave up two runs on four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in seven innings. Blanton and Minor began the night ranked first and second, respectively, among NL pitchers in home runs allowed. Minor matched Blanton’s 22 homers allowed on Utley’s blast into the center field seats.

Next: vs. Phillies, 1:35 p.m., Sunday (Fox Sports South)

Telegraph File Photos

The

&

NUMBERS Walker,

Game

Wright a TREE

By SETH EMERSON ATHENS — Too many times this offseason, Mark Richt has fielded uncomfortable phone calls. Or the Georgia head football coach has had to sigh and look over another news release, announcing the departure of another one of his players. “There’smore attritioninthe last couple years than there’s been since I’ve been at Georgia,” Richt said last week, in his understated manner. “But you know, sometimes that happens. We’ll still have plenty of

ALSO

Pages 8-9C.

By MICHAEL A. LOUGH

Georgia Tech gears up for start of practice, 12C n

guys to field a team.” This week Richt and his staff finally get to start molding what’s left — and they believe they have plenty left. The Bulldogs saw a number of transfers and dismissals, none more notorious than tailback Isaiah Crowell, following a June arrest. They enter the preseason with fewer than 70 players recruited on scholarship, well below the NCAA lim-

This week’s installment of The Numbers Game, looking at athletes who wore jersey numbers in the 30s while in high school, features a heavy emphasis on basketball, including one of the Atlanta Hawks’ all-time greats.

Hancock set to begin chase for second gold

Georgia moves forward with what’s left of roster semerson@macon.com

A look at Middle Georgia’s all-time greats

mlough@macon.com

BUTCH DILL/Associated Press

Georgia head coach Mark Richt’s team opens practice Thursday.

it of 85. And yet Georgia is still the consensus pick to SEE

GEORGIA, 12C

Intensity and focus won’t be issues for Vincent Hancock. After all, it wasn’t all that long ago that doubts n More Olympics, 6-7C were growing that he would be able to defend the gold medal in men’s skeet that he won at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He was tired, in the

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middle of a growing family, battling a shoulder injury and just wasn’t himself. “There were definitely some moments of concern,” said his wife Rebekah, who married Hancock in May of 2008, only a few months before the games in Beijing. “I was really wondering if he would be able to keep things going. He seemed to lose all drive and determination to shoot.” SEE

HANCOCK, 12C

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