Brooks Conrad's two errors conjure bad memories

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Brooks Conrad committed two errors in Friday afternoon’s 3-0 loss to the Mets, enough to cause flashbacks to last October and his three-error debacle in the National League Division Series against the Giants.

For a player trying to move past those images, and the stigma, it was not a good day. He now has four errors this spring. But for a guy trying to claim one of the last two bench spots, it still sounds as if he has the support of his manager and general manager.

Based on what Fredi Gonzalez said after the game, and what GM Frank Wren said before it, the Braves are not overly alarmed.

“You know what, guys, he’s making plays,” Gonzalez said. “He’s aggressive. They’re not easy plays. ... He’s trying to make the tough plays, and sometimes when you’re going after it, you get errors.”

The first error charged to Conrad was a tough one, on a ground ball by the speedy Jose Reyes that kicked off the heel of Conrad’s backhanded glove and into center field for a two-base error.

The second one wasn’t debatable after he charged a slow roller by Angel Pagan and was late with his flip to first.

“That first one -- is that Ozzie Smith up there [scoring]?” Gonzalez said. “Not even Ozzie makes that one. He left his feet on that ball. ... I’m not even worried about it really because one of them could be a base hit -- the ball up the middle. You’ve got Reyes running. And then the other chopper, they’re tough plays.”

Conrad started the game with a great diving play to take a hit away from Pagan in the first inning. And then in the fourth, he made up for his first error by gunning down Reyes at home trying to score from third. But his error in the sixth led to an unearned run, as David Wright followed with a two-run homer off Jair Jurrjens.

To his credit, Conrad said afterward he thought both errors came on plays he should have made, even Reyes’ ball.

“It wasn’t a routine play, but it’s a ball I definitely should have handled,” Conrad said. “I felt good out there. It’s just two plays I thought I should have made. Can’t read into it.”

Now he hopes the Braves will do the same.

Entering Friday, a bench job seemed Conrad’s to lose over Matt Young, Wilkin Ramirez and Jordan Schafer. Eric Hinske, David Ross and Joe Mather, who’s out of options, would appear to be givens for three of the five spots. The Braves need a shortstop to back up Alex Gonzalez, which will probably come down to Diory Hernandez and Ed Lucas.

Wren seemed to hint Conrad was in a good situation in his comments before Friday’s game.

“He got so many big hits for us last year,” Wren said. “We’re happy with what we’ve seen.”

Conrad went 1-for-3 on Friday to raise his spring average to only .206 (7-for-34). Over the final 11 games, he could use some clutch hits to conjure up better memories from 2010. Conrad hit seven of his eight home runs in the seventh inning or later and led the Braves in “close-and-late” situations, hitting .313 with a 1.115 OPS.