Braves bench 2B Brooks Conrad after 3-error game
ATLANTA (AP) — Brooks Conrad could only hope for a chance to redeem himself.
Atlanta manager Bobby Cox benched Conrad for Game 4 of the NL division series against San Francisco on Monday night, one day after his three errors at second base left the Braves on the brink of playoff elimination.
Cox said the 30-year-old rookie “needs to get away from it for a day.”
Cox and Conrad each said they didn’t sleep much after three glaring miscues helped the Giants beat the Braves 3-2 on Sunday to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
Conrad took batting practice, fielded grounders at second base and tried to keep a positive outlook Monday.
“I’m feeling as good as I can, considering the consequences,” he said. “I don’t know if I got any sleep on it. I didn’t sleep a whole lot. You know, the sun came up again today and we’re here in the playoffs playing baseball. You can’t beat that.”
Conrad said it would be “huge” if he had a chance to play.
“I want a chance to get in there and contribute to the team,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. Skip told me to stay ready there on the bench.”
Starting because of injuries to others, Conrad had made eight errors in the last seven games. He said he didn’t ask to be taken out of the lineup by Cox.
“He just called me in there and said we’re going to give you a day,” Conrad said. “I said, ‘OK.’ We sat there and talked a little bit and had a good talk. ... He’s always behind you, and that’s what he told me. It really feels good to have a manager like that to stay behind you after the things that have been going on.”
Even San Francisco’s Pat Burrell reached out to Conrad during batting practice.
Burrell called Conrad over and said, “Forget about it. Hang in there.”
Cox’s lineup for Monday night’s game included Omar Infante at second base and Troy Glaus at third.
Glaus, who started 107 games at first base this season, made his first start of 2010 at third, his former position.
“I think once the game starts I will be fine,” Glaus said. “I have played there a long time so I definitely know what to expect and where to stand and that kind of thing. I just have to kind of get back in the rhythm of the game.”
The 34-year-old Glaus started a game-saving double play at third base after entering Game 2 in San Francisco on Friday. He also was unable to field a bunt cleanly in his one inning on the field.
Glaus missed 14 games in August with a left knee injury and was making his first start since Sept. 15, when he played first base and went 1 for 3 against Washington.
Glaus has a .338 career average in the postseason with nine homers and 16 RBIs. He was the MVP of the 2002 World Series for the Angels.
Glaus hit .240 with 16 homers and 71 RBIs in 128 games this season. He worked at third base with Triple-A Gwinnett during his August rehabilitation from the knee injury.
The decision to bench Conrad was the latest in a series of infield adjustments for Cox following season-ending injuries to third baseman Chipper Jones and second baseman Martin Prado.
Prado, the NL All-Star starter at second base, moved to third after Jones hurt his left knee on Aug. 11.
Conrad, a utility infielder most of the season, became a starter at third when Prado went down Sept. 27 with hip and oblique injuries.
Conrad’s two throwing errors at third base led to a combined seven unearned runs in key losses to Philadelphia on the last weekend of the regular season. Cox then moved Conrad to second base, his primary position in the minor leagues.
Conrad committed four errors in the first three games of the division series.
He bobbled a grounder and dropped a pop fly before his most devastating error in the ninth inning Sunday. Buster Posey’s one-hopper skidded right through his legs, allowing the Giants to score the tiebreaking run.
Conrad said he was grateful for support from fans and teammates.
“It really feels good. I’d rather have it on the flip side where they tell me good job,” he said. “It’s not the way it’s worked out, but it’s just a sign of great teammates and great fans here, too. I’ve had a lot of nice comments from the fans, and it’s really meant a lot. Hopefully I’ll put that to use and start playing better.”