Originally created 04/22/00

Braves notebook: Burkett ready for season's first start



ATLANTA -- One of five pitchers to have made 25 starts each year in the 1990s, Braves right-hander John Burkett gets his first of 2000 tonight. He says there's no extra heat for him to log some effective innings.

"Do I know what the situation is? Of course I do," said Burkett, who has been underwhelming (0-2, 11.81 ERA in 5 1/3 innings) in four relief appearances for the Braves. "I've been playing a long time, and I know how the game works."

Burkett's status as the fifth starter may be on the line when he takes the mound opposite Pittsburgh's Kris Benson tonight, though the Braves may be ready to give Bruce Chen another shot if things go poorly for Burkett.

Rookie Luis Rivera, who tossed 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief for his first big-league win Tuesday night against the Phillies, may also get a shot at it, but there are questions about his second pitch; he went almost exclusively with fastballs Tuesday.

For Burkett, who has as many 20-win seasons (one) as John Smoltz, the approach to pitching doesn't change.

"I really only know one way to pitch," said Burkett. "You just go out there with the intention of executing your game plan. I've always expected myself to do a good job and give my team a chance to win."

REHAB RUDY: Reliever Rudy Seanez will make two appearances at Class Double-A Greenville, the first tonight, in a rehab assignment.

He'll join Steve Avery, who starts tonight in the G-Braves' game against Mobile.

"I'm not too far off," said Seanez, who is recovering from a strained muscle in his right side. "The main thing I'm trying to do now is get used to throwing off the mound. When I threw in Chicago, it was the first time in 10 days I'd thrown from the mound."

Seanez, who experienced normal soreness after a side-session Thursday, could be activated by Wednesday.

WEISS' WORRIES: Braves shortstop Walt Weiss makes his off-season home in the Aurora, Colo., but he didn't take a moment of silence in remembrance of the April 20, 1999 shootings at Columbine High School.

That doesn't mean it wasn't on his mind though. Weiss' two children attend Cherry Hill Christian School in nearby Highlands Ranch, where a bomb threat was phoned in, according to Weiss.

"I spent the day staying in touch with my wife trying to keep up with what was going on," said Weiss, who said the school sent students home at mid-day. "I guess some people find entertainment from that."

HUNTER TO PHILLIES: Brian Hunter beat the Phillies with his 12th-inning homer Tuesday.

On Friday, the Phils claimed him off waivers from the Braves.

Hunter was designated for assignment by the Braves to open a roster spot for Brian Jordan, who was activated Wednesday from the disabled list.

ALL-STAR TICKETS: There will be some tickets available to the general public for the All-Star Game July 11, according to Braves publicist Jim Schultz, though the exact number has yet to be determined.

DUELING TOURNEYS: Tom Glavine's charity golf and tennis event, which benefits the Georgia Council on Child Abuse, is set for Monday at the Country Club of the South, and it play opposite the event put on by Braves general manager John Schuerholz.

"Just bad planning," said Glavine, who estimated that his event has raised $1.2 million for the GCCA.