Originally created 04/09/00

Jordan on DL; Braves recall Hunter



ATLANTA -- It came as no surprise to Brian Jordan to be placed on the disabled list following Saturday night's 7-5 victory over the Giants.

Jordan indicated his strained ribcage muscle had not improved and he was resigned to being out for two weeks.

"It's the smart thing to do," he said. "There's no sense in trying to push it. This gives me 10 or 11 days to concentrate on getting it better. It was a good decision."

General manager John Schuerholz met with manager Bobby Cox on Saturday afternoon and discussed how long Jordan will be sidelined by his injury. With little chance of him returning before the middle of the week, Schuerholz chose to recall outfielder Brian Hunter from Class AAA Richmond.

Jordan received a cortisone shot last Wednesday and it eased his discomfort, but the injury hasn't improved sufficiently for him to begin swinging a bat. He's eligible to return April 19, meaning he will miss 12 games. ...

OVERCOMING INJURY:

On the middle finger of his right hand, Luis Rivera has a permanent reminder of his past blister problems. There, beneath a thick callous, is the unmistakable raw spot that has plagued the young right-hander throughout his career.

"It's the first time since I signed (in 1995) that it's felt this good," he said. "I have sensitive skin, and if I can keep the callous on it, I'll be all right."

In addition to being plagued by blisters, Rivera also has been bothered by a cracked nail on his middle finger. He's solved that problem by wearing an acrylic nail, and the result has been an astonishing jump from Class A ball to the big leagues.

In his first two appearances, Rivera, who won't turn 22 until June, has overpowered hitters with a fastball that's consistently in the 95-98 mph range and an improving slider. The first hitter he faced in his debut was Colorado's Mike Lansing. He struck him out on three pitches. He's worked three shutout innings in two games, striking out two and allowing one hit.

Pitching winter ball in his native Mexico speeded Rivera's development. He led the league with 89 strikeouts, was fifth with 10 saves and came to spring training as a leading candidate to gain a bullpen job.

Rivera has been a starter for most of his career, and he may join the rotation when a fifth starter is needed April 22. Or, he may be sent to the minors when Rudy Seanez is activated from the disabled list following this week's trip to Chicago and Milwaukee.

"He's got a good arm," Cox said. "He can help us." ...

APRIL SLUMP:

Reggie Sanders isn't surprised by his slow start. Like a lot of hitters, he's not at his best in April, as his career numbers attest. He hit .233 in April last year, his worst month except for a .227 average in September, and his career April average is .260.

Entering Saturday's game, Sanders had four hits -- all singles -- in 19 at-bats (.211) and had not driven in a run.

"I'm probably just pressing a little bit," he said. "My swing is fine. It's too early to be worried about what's happening."

Sanders, acquired with Quilvio Veras and Wally Joyner in the December trade with the Padres, is a career .273 hitter and has averaged 20 homers and 23 steals over the past three seasons. Hitting coach Merv Rettenmund, who helped Sanders produce 26 homers and 72 RBI last year in San Diego, says the left fielder doesn't look comfortable at the plate.

Sanders says he's not concerned, not yet.

"New team, new atmosphere," he said. "It won't be long, trust me."

Reach Bill Zack at bzack30143@aol.com.