NEW YORK -- With Marty Malloy's arrival in the major leagues Sunday morning, perhaps Atlanta author Paul Hemphill will add another chapter to "The Heart of the Game", his chronicle of Malloy's 1994 season in the minors.
Malloy, recalled from Class AAA Richmond late Saturday night, was in Sunday afternoon's lineup at second base. His arrival was both an indictment of Tony Graffanino's batting average and a relief for Keith Lockhart, who's still bothered by a sore hamstring.
"I was in shock," said Malloy, who learned he was headed to the big leagues when Richmond's bus arrived back from Norfolk Saturday night. "It's probably the happiest day of my life. It's what you dream about every day you play. When it didn't happen Sept. 1, I didn't think I had any chance at all."
To make room for Malloy on the 40-man roster, reliever Mark Wohlers was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Malloy's chance came because Graffanino is hitting .081 in his last 10 games and has one hit in his last 22 at-bats. His struggles, in addition to Lockhart's injury, pushed manager Bobby Cox into Saturday's decision. He asked assistant general manager Dean Taylor, who's with the club on the trip, to look into recalling Malloy. Taylor worked throughout the night to make the arrangements and finally completed the paperwork at 2 a.m.
As overjoyed as Malloy was at finally receiving a chance to play in the majors after spending seven years in the minors chasing his dream, Cox was equally delighted. He likened the scrappy infielder to another one of his favorite players, second baseman Mark Lemke, and ironically Malloy was assigned Lemke's old uniform, No. 20.
"He's the type of guy players pull for," Cox said. "He's worked hard and earned it. I think there's a certain point in time you give somebody a crack at playing and Marty is one of those guys. He's a tough little kid. He goes about it hard. He doesn't have all the ability in the world, but he's a player."
Malloy, a left-handed hitter, batted .290 with seven homers, 54 RBI and 20 stolen bases in his second full season at Richmond. He was prepared to head home to Florida following the end of Richmond's season today. He and his wife, Lacy, had all their luggage packed into their car, so when he arrived at Shea Stadium Sunday morning he was toting a variety of bags.
Being called up was Malloy's first surprise. His second surprise was seeing his name in the lineup.
"I hope to do a sufficient job and prove I can play at this level," he said. "I don't know if I can or not. I don't thin k I had enough sleep to get nervous."
Graffanino had mixed feelings on seeing Malloy walk through the clubhouse door. But, with his average down to .204 and hitting .183 against left-handers, he was hardly in a position to complain.
"I'm happy for Marty, it's awesome for him," he said. "Obviously I'd rather be playing, but (Cox) needs to throw somebody out there to help us win games and do something offensively. If I'd been hitting better I don't know if he'd have been called up or not."
KLESKO A CONCERN: While Graffanino's offensive woes pushed the Braves into drastic measures, Ryan Klesko's lack of productivity is another concern. The left fielder has two RBI since Aug. 8, a span of 69 at-bats, and his season total of 62 is little more than half of Andres Galarraga's total. His 17th home run in the second inning Sunday was his first since connecting off the Reds' Brett Tomko on Aug. 5.
Klesko, who received a four-year, $20.5 million contract last January, has never driven in 100 runs and he's surpassed 24 homers just once in his five seasons in the majors.
CHIPPER REACHES MILESTONE: Chipper Jones has reached 100 RBI for the third time, but he hasn't produced much in the last 11 games. During that stretch he's hit .195 with two solo homers, accounting for all his RBI, and Javy Lopez has almost matched his production, despite almost 100 fewer at-bats.
In 442 at-bats, Lopez has 32 homers and 98 RBI; Jones has 32 home runs and 100 RBI in 541 at-bats.