Originally created 07/23/98

Braves notes: Jones embarrassed when yanked



PHILADELPHIA -- Bobby Cox ran Tuesday night's eighth inning through his mind over and over again and came away with the same conclusion each time.

He was right in embarrassing center fielder Andruw Jones by sending in Gerald Williams to replace him following his lack of effort on Lance Johnson's soft fly.

"We're trying to win," Cox said Wednesday. "The only thing he has to do is give everything he's got. If he doesn't succeed that's all right and if he does, that's great. I won't tolerate (a lack of hustle)."

It wasn't simply Jones' lack of effort on that particular play that drew Cox's ire. He has fined Jones several times for reporting to the clubhouse late this season and has talked to him before about his attitude. In fact, everybody from Andres Galarraga to Eddie Perez has talked to Jones about his immaturity without seeing any change.

Said Perez, "Every time I say something to him he goes, `OK, I know, I know.' If he looks bad, we look bad and I'm not talking about the team. I'm talking about Latin players. When he does bad, he's laughing. I've been trying to help him since he got here. I don't know if he's listening or not."

Cox thought long and hard about Wednesday night's lineup and in the end he included Jones in his usual No. 8 spot. But he admitted to thinking about playing Williams in center and benching Jones.

"I considered it, but I don't think that's in his best interest or mine or the team's," Cox said. "My job is to get him going. It's not like he's a real bad guy, he's not, but there is a way to play the game."

There are some critics who say Jones is still a 16-year-old in a 21year-old's body because the Braves coddled their prize prospect in the minors. Nonsense, Cox said. Third base coach Bobby Dews, who managed Jones in the low minors, sent him home one year for violating team rules and managers generally treated him like any other player.

"They weren't too easy on him," Cox said.

Jones said Wednesday he was embarrassed by being replaced in the middle of an inning, but insisted he wasn't loafing on Johnson's fly.

"The fans were booing, but they don't know, they're not in my shoes," he said. "It was a mental mistake. I lost my focus right then. The ball was right there, I should have caught it. People say a lot of stuff, but I know when I go out there I give 100 percent."

Perhaps so, but Jones and the smirk that's usually his expression of choice don't suggest a hard work ethic. In fact, just the opposite. Since his expression rarely changes, many people mistake it for indifference.

"I don't show I'm mad," Jones said. "I'm mad inside, but I don't throw my bats and I don't throw helmets. I was mad too about not catching the ball. When I go out there I want to be the best. Sometimes you may make a mistake."

DO NOT DISTURB: Mark Wohlers has decided to hang a DO NOT DISTURB sign from his locker. He doesn't want to talk about his control problems, he doesn't want to talk about perhaps returning to the minors to work things out, he doesn't want to talk, period.

He responded with a "No comment' to a series of questions Wednesday, then finally explained by saying, "I don't want to talk about it because I don't want to dwell on the past, I want to move forward."

WEISS RESTING: Cox can't say how long Walt Weiss will be out of the lineup, but he'd like to rest him enough that his strained left quadriceps is 80-90 percent recovered. The question is, how long will that take? It could be a few days, it could be a week. In the meantime, Ozzie Guillen will become the regular shortstop.

"We need Walt for long stretches," Guillen said. "Everybody knows it and I know it too that he's been playing hurt. When you have a 13-game lead it's better to get ready for September and now is the time to do it."

Guillen was hit by a pitch in Tuesday's game for the first time since 1990, just the seventh time in 14 major league seasons. Asked to explain how he managed to go so long without being hit more frequently, he responded, "Who's going to waste their time hitting me?"

GRAFFANINO HURTING: Cox had Tony Graffanino in Wednesday's lineup, but he was a late scratch because of a stiff neck he suffered during a pinch hit at-bat in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's game.

Graffanino, who has six hits in his last eight at-bats, gave it a try during batting practice and indicated it was too sore to play. Keith Lockhart, hitting .063 in his last 10 games, replaced him.

CHIPPER'S HOT: Chipper Jones headed into the road trip riding a 10-game hitting streak during which he's batted .429 with four homers and nine RBI. He still has a way to go to match his career-high hit streak, an 18-game stretch in 1996.

BORBON STAYING IN RICHMOND: The Braves extended Pedro Borbon's rehabilitation assignment at Class AAA Richmond for another 15 days Tuesday, an assignment that will end Aug. 5. The left-hander, attempting to comeback from 1996 elbow surgery, has appeared in three games and allowed five hits and three runs in 2 2/3 innings.