Originally created 07/24/99

Braves notebook: Lefty Bowie promoted from Richmond, will work out of the bullpen



PHILADELPHIA -- In need of a pitcher who can work some innings and relieve the pressure on the bullpen, the Braves called up left-hander Micah Bowie from Class AAA Richmond Friday.

In addition, Odalis Perez's immediate future is in doubt after he told manager Bobby Cox his left elbow is hurting and will return to Atlanta to see club orthopedist Dr. Joe Chandler.

Cox planned to send Perez to Class AAA Richmond to get straightened out, but instead placed him on the 15-day disabled list with what trainers describe as a sprained left elbow.

"He really needs to go down and gain some confidence," Cox said before Perez told him his elbow ached. "I'd love to bring him right back, but he's got to go down and do something."

The decision to send Perez to the minors was hardly surprising considering his recent starts. Winless since June 8, he was pulled from Thursday's 6-3 victory over the Marlins after only 1 1/3 innings and it was apparent afterward that Cox was losing patience with him.

"If I keep on pitching I'd be in big trouble," said Perez, who indicated doctors have told him he has some bone chips in his elbow. "During games I feel some hurt. Better go see a doctor and see what he decides."

Bowie, 4-4 with a 2.96 ERA in 13 starts with Richmond, will work out of the bullpen for now, but he could get a start if Bruce Chen returns to Richmond when John Smoltz is activated today.

"I don't know what to expect," Bowie said. "Hopefully I'll go out and get a few guys out and show people I deserve to be here."

Cox said Friday he hasn't decided who will go down when Smoltz comes off the disabled list. It could be Chen, depending on how many innings he worked in the second game of Friday's doubleheader, Bowie could return to Richmond or Cox might choose to send out another reliever.

Also left undetermined was whether Perez would go to Richmond when he's eligible to come off the disabled list Aug. 7.

CHIPPER HURTING:

Chipper Jones gave it a try before Friday's games, but his right arm was hurting so much he had trouble making a throw.

The third baseman, hit on his triceps by an Alex Fernandez pitch Thursday night, could swing a bat, though not with his usual authority, but throws to first base were an adventure.

"Trying to throw is the big thing," he said. "I can get the ball across the infield, but I don't know how many times I can do it."

Jones probably was lucky he was hit on the upper arm, rather than his elbow. After swinging a bat he told Cox he was available to pinch hit and he's hopeful of playing in tonight's game.

"I knew I wouldn't be able to play (Thursday) after that happened and that's scary," Jones said. "I couldn't feel my arm for 20 minutes."

Ozzie Guillen replaced Jones at third base, and Andruw Jones moved into his No. 3 spot in the lineup.

PROMOTION:

Giving an indication that Rafael Furcal is on the fast track to Atlanta, the Braves announced the Class A Macon shortstop has been promoted to Class A Myrtle Beach of the Carolina League.

The youngster, who leads all minor league players with 73 steals, was also third in the South Atlantic League with a .337 average, second in runs (73) and fourth in hits (113) and on-base percentage (.417).

Furcal, who won't turn 19 until Aug. 24, was selected to play in the inaugural Future's Game in Boston during the All-Star festivities. The only member of the Braves organization selected and the only SAL player invited, he started at second base, went 2-for-3 and scored a run.

Bill Zack, who covers the Braves for The Augusta Chronicle, is based in Atlanta and can be reached at bzack30143@aol.com