ATLANTA -- Braves shortstop Walt Weiss missed his second straight game Friday night because of a strained left quadriceps muscle.
It is the same muscle that hampered Weiss throughout the second half of last season and limited his speed and mobility. The injury is only a mild strain and is not nearly as severe as the injury that sidelined Weiss for 13 games in July, four in August and all but six games in September of last season.
"I just felt some tightness while running down the line in Milwaukee the other day," Weiss said. "It was an infield single and I just felt some tightness and a little soreness. I'm just being cautious because of what happened last year."
The injury comes at an inopportune time for Weiss, who is on a career-high 13-game hitting streak during which he has hit .388 (19-for-49) with a home run and five RBI. The streak has come mostly since Weiss switched to the leadoff spot nine days ago. He has hit .378 atop the order.
"This is nothing like it was last year," Weiss said. "Last year when it happened, it was like a knife in my leg. This time it's just a little something in there. This is a couple-of-days thing."
Ozzie Guillen started at shortstop for the second straight game and hit leadoff on Friday.
READY TO PITCH:
Before Friday's game, closer John Rocker declared himself ready to return to action after sitting out Thursday's game. Rocker was unavailable for two reasons.
First, the powerful left-hander needed a break after making several appearances over the past week and saving Tuesday's and Wednesday's games in Milwaukee.
Second, Rocker has quietly pitched with a blistered finger on his pitching hand.
"It's good now," Rocker said. "I soaked it last night and put some stuff on it, and it's much better. I've been pitching with it hurt for the last week or so. It hadn't been getting any worse, but it hadn't been getting any better. But I did some stuff to it on the day that I took off to make it much better."
John Smoltz, on the disabled list with an inflamed right elbow, will give his arm its final test today before Tuesday's scheduled start against the Colorado Rockies.
Smoltz plans to pitch to hitters in something of a simulated game in the afternoon. Smoltz said the session will last "until I get out of it what I want to get out of it, or until I work out what I need to work out. It takes time to make some changes."
Smoltz has worked from a mound twice since last Sunday, when he spent a half-hour with pitching coach Leo Mazzone in an attempt to work out some kinks in the right-hander's delivery.