Originally created 08/15/98

Braves notebook: Jones' power numbers are up



LOS ANGELES -- Andruw Jones has turned on the power.

Among his collection of nine hits this month are four homers, one triple and three doubles. In 39 at-bats, he has just one single, which prompted him to joke before Friday night's game against the Dodgers that he's going to start bunting in an effort to boost his batting average.

After a 3-for-4 performance in Thursday's series finale against the Padres, which included a pair of doubles and two RBI, he's hitting .231 this month and his overall average stands at .259. Every time he closes in on .270, he tumbles backward. But, after hitting .204 in April, he figures anything above .250 is acceptable at this point.

"It's pretty good to be hitting .260 the way I started," he said. "It's good to slump at the start of a season because you've got time to pick it up. If I need to struggle, I hope I struggle like I did this year and come back from that point to this level. It's not a good level, but it's an all right level."

EMPTY-HANDED: After the Phillies claimed right-hander Paul Byrd on waivers Friday, the Braves have nothing to show for the trade that sent Greg McMichael to the Mets in November 1996. In dealing away one of the league's best setup men, the Braves received a reliever who posted a 4-4 record and 5.56 ERA in 32 games.

Byrd was 5-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 17 starts at Class AAA Richmond when he was designated for assignment when Norm Charlton was called up.

SUTTON HONORED: Hall of Fame pitcher and TBS broadcaster Don Sutton was honored by the Dodgers before the start of Friday night's game. During a ceremony on the field, his No. 20 was retired and his name went up on the right field wall, along with other Dodger Hall of Famers.

"All I ever wanted was somebody to say, thanks for your efforts, and this far exceeds that," Sutton said. "I've been looking forward to this with about the same size butterflies as Cooperstown. It's all you can ask for and more out of a career in baseball. It perfectly closes the circle."

CONVINCING: Shortstop Ozzie Guillen's performance since he was signed on May 6 has convinced manager Bobby Cox that there's still plenty of life left in his legs. Guillen has hit .286 and scored 28 runs, while playing outstanding defense.

"If we can afford him, I'd bring him back in a heartbeat," Cox said. "He still can move."

If Guillen would accept a $500,000 contract for next year, the Braves would likely sign him.

GOOD MOVE: Another off-season acquisition has also worked out well. Playing mostly against left-handed starters, outfielder Gerald Williams has hit .286 with five homers and 27 RBI. He's hit lefties at a .369 clip, while batting .327 with runners in scoring position.

"He hits left-handers pretty good, he can run and he can play all three outfield positions," Cox said. "He's been very useful to our ballclub."

TEMPTED: Ryan Klesko took his surf board out to the Huntington Beach pier Friday morning, then watched with a mournful expression as other surfers took to the waves. Klesko's new contract, signed last winter, prohibits him from surfing unless he takes out an insurance policy.

"It was awful tempting," said Klesko, who grew up in Westminster, Calif., and has been surfing all his life. "I sat and moped and watched the surfing contest."

Klesko plans to take out an insurance policy this winter so he can surf during his annual trip to Costa Rica.