Originally created 08/24/96

Keeping up with the Joneses



ATLANTA - If it's not one Jones hitting the ball out of sight, it's the other one.

This keeping up with the Joneses business is getting out of hand.

Twenty-four hours after Andruw Jones connected for a pair of home runs, Chipper Jones continued to solidify his MVP candidacy with another power display Friday night.

Playing past midnight in a second straight game, Jones' two home runs lifted the Atlanta Braves to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs before a crowd of 38,210 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

The start of the game was delayed for two hours and 14 minutes by more rain, but the late start didn't affect Greg Maddux.

The right-hander won his 12th by working seven innings and allowing four hits and three runs, two earned, while striking out seven.

For the first time in four starts, Maddux received more than two runs of support. Chipper Jones and Marquis Grissom added to their hitting streaks within four innings, Jones with his 27th home run in the first inning and Grissom with a two-out, two-run double in the fourth.

Jones' hit pushed his streak to 17 games, while Grissom matched the best streak in the major leagues this season, 27 games by San Diego's John Flaherty. Jones launched his 28th homer against Cubs starter Steve Trachsel in the fifth for a 4-0 lead, the third time this season he's homered twice in a game.

That was more than enough support for a surprised Maddux, who has received an average of four runs a game, yet has taken losses by scores of 2-1, 3-2, 2-1, 3-2 and 2-1.

The right-hander offered what has become a standard of excellence for him. The Cubs beat his sinkers into the dirt or flailed at his changeup and the result was 11 ground balls and four strikeouts in five innings.

Since leaving the Cubs following the 1992 season, Maddux has taken special delight in beating his former club and, in particular, first baseman Mark Grace, a close friend. He headed into the game with a 3-0 mark and 1.88 ERA against the Cubs and had limited Grace to a .176 average.

After five innings of typical Maddux perfection, an error by left fielder Ryan Klesko and a mistake to Grace in the sixth cut the lead in half.

Brian McRae sliced a pitch toward the left field line and Klesko overran the ball and saw it glance off his glove. Grace followed one out later with a drive over the right field wall, his seventh homer and first against Maddux.

Trachsel, winless in three career decisions against the Braves, didn't last the sixth. Maddux's single and a two-out hit by Terry Pendleton drove him to the showers and brought left-hander Larry Casian into the game.

Casian did his job, coaxing a fly from Jones to end the inning and keep the Cubs with striking distance at 4-2.

Jose Hernandez cut into the lead in the seventh, hitting a hanging curve over the right field wall for a home run as Maddux cursed the pitch in loud tones from the mound.

Notebook

ATLANTA - The news from the trainers room just keeps getting worse and worse for the Braves.

The club learned Friday that left-hander Pedro Borbon has a torn ligament in his elbow and surgery will sideline him for at least a year.

"It's devastating," Borbon said. "I worked so hard to establish myself and it's a shame I have to go out like this."

The Braves recalled left-hander Brad Woodall from Class AAA Richmond (Va.) to replace Borbon on the roster.

An MRI done on Borbon's elbow Friday revealed the torn ligament. He will seek a second opinion from noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., Monday and have surgery, possibly as early as Friday.

Borbon will undergo a procedure known as "Tommy John surgery" in which doctors take a tendon from his wrist or hamstring and substitute it for the torn ligament. Although it's one of the two worst injuries a pitcher can suffer (a torn rotator cuff the other), in the last 10 years the surgery has become common and pitchers usually recover fully.

"I think a year is a good estimate on it," club orthopedist Dr. Marvin Royster said.

Braves reliever Mike Bielecki underwent similar surgery four years ago and said it took him little more than a year to return to form.

"I didn't want to scare him," Bielecki said, "but I told Pedro he's got to work his butt off the first two months because that's when it's the most important."

The loss of Borbon is a big blow to the league's best bullpen. In his second year, the left-hander had become one of the league's best setup men, used frequently against left-handed hitters in key situations late in games.

Borbon was 3-0 with a 2.75 ERA and the league was hitting just .200 against him. Perhaps the most telling statistic about his effectiveness was this: Of the 21 runners he inherited, he allowed only one to score all season.

"It's a tough loss because Pedro had come into his own this year," pitching coach Leo Mazzone said. "You're talking about one of the best matchups we had lefty to lefty. He was a big factor in getting us to (Mark) Wohlers. We're really going to miss him down there."

Borbon said he felt a burning sensation after making a second pitch in the ninth inning Thursday night, then felt something pop on his final pitch to Bret Boone. He signaled the dugout, then left the mound clutching his elbow.

"I had a feeling the day before that something was going to happen," Borbon said. "I told my wife, `If it ends tomorrow, I have nothing to be ashamed about."'

Manager Bobby Cox indicated he'll split duty against left-handed hitters between right-hander Greg McMichael and left-hander Dean Hartgraves. Left-hander Terrell Wade will remain in the rotation for now, but the Braves hope that when Steve Avery returns Wade can be shifted back to the bullpen for the postseason.

General manager John Schuerholz said he planned to reevaluate the bullpen and make a decision whether to pursue a trade for another pitcher.

"I don't know if it forces us to do anything differently," he said. "There are a number of ways we can think about to repair this."

BLAUSER PROGRESSING: X-rays of shortstop Jeff Blauser's left hand Friday showed his broken bone has not healed completely. He hasn't been cleared to begin batting practice yet, but will begin hitting against soft tosses soon.

"Doctors seem to think I'm progressing ahead of normal schedule," Blauser said.

Even so, doctors estimate he won't be ready to begin full workouts until the first or second week of September, which will give him only a couple of weeks to get ready for the playoffs.

Blauser said he felt that was enough time to prepare.

"When you lay off for awhile you're not going to be sharp," he said. "I'll have to go out and play and see what I can do."