The Braves Report - May 8

Here are some news and notes on the Atlanta Braves.

BRAVES 5, PADRES 2

Tim Hudson overcame a second-inning balk call that allowed the first run of the game to score, and pinch hitter Greg Norton delivered with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, driving in the go-ahead run.


INSIDE PITCH

If some people considered the April 18-20 weekend series against the Dodgers as a contest between current Braves center fielder Mark Kotsay and former Braves center fielder Andruw Jones, Kotsay was not among them.

Nor were manager Bobby Cox and the Braves, all of whom have a great appreciation for Jones' skills, which include his knowledge of where to position himself against every hitter and his instant instincts, which allow him to get a lightning start on a catch by the sound of the bat hitting the ball rather than watching the hitter.

Because Kotsay is shorter and smaller than Jones, he doesn't have the same appearance of gliding to the ball as Jones does. But he gets there all the same.

Kotsay's spectacular fifth-inning catch Tuesday night against the Padres' Tadahito Iguchi came as Kotsay had driven in five runs in two games, raising his batting average to .308.

Assessing Kotsay's performance versus Andruw Jones', Chipper Jones said, "I knew he was going to hit for a higher average. What I didn't expect was that we were going to sit here after 30 games into the season and say at this point he's played awesome defense. You come away from every game saying he played a solid game, made a great catch, put up really good at-bats.

"Not to take anything away from Andruw. He's the best defensive center fielder I've ever seen. Plain and simple. But there just haven't been that many instances where Kotsay didn't get to a ball and you said, 'Andruw would have had that.'"


NOTES

INF Omar Infante, out all season with a broken left hand, will be activated from the disabled list Thursday. A move will be announced then, most likely taking UT Brayan Pena off the roster. Pena has been suffering from a strained mid-back the past three days.

RF Jeff Francoeur grounded into two 5-4-3 double plays Wednesday; his batting average dropped from .276 to .269.

RHP Rafael Soriano's MRI and bone scan both came back normal, so he will be able to resume his throwing program confident that he if he feels soreness, he is not doing major damage to his right elbow. Soriano has been on the disabled list since April 9 with elbow tendonitis.

OF/INF Greg Norton, acquired Monday from the Mariners, is one of only five active players with 10 or more pinch home runs. Mark Sweeney has 15, Matt Stairs has 12, and Norton is tied at 10 with Tony Clark and David Dellucci.

RHP Jair Jurrjens' 2.84 ERA ranks second among all major league rookies to the 2.54 mark of the A's Greg Smith. Jurrjen's 36 strikeouts rank second to the 41 posted by the Reds' Johnny Cueto.


MEDICAL WATCH

INF Omar Infante (broken left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Richmond on May 5, and he will be activated May 8.

RHP Peter Moylan (bone spur in right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 12, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 5. He will have surgery today in Birmingham, and he is out for the rest of the season.

RHP Rafael Soriano (right elbow tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 7. He had to cut short a bullpen session May 6 because of continued discomfort in the elbow, but an MRI found no serious problems. There is no timetable for his return.

LHP Mike Hampton (strained left pectoral muscle) was hurt while warming up for the April 3 game. He went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 29. He left a rehab start with Class AAA Richmond on April 30 due to continuing discomfort in the pectoral muscle, though surgery was ruled out when no tearing was discovered on an MRI.

LHP Mike Gonzalez (Tommy John elbow surgery in May 2007) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He was not expected to be ready to pitch until after the All-Star break, but he hopes to return in May. His velocity was back in the 90s in early May.


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