Originally created 05/08/00

Braves notes: Mulholland, doctors at loss on cause of breathing problem



MIAMI -- Terry Mulholland still can't explain the shortness of breath he experienced in Sunday's game and neither can the doctors.

The left-hander, who was transported to Piedmont Hospital by ambulance, was treated and released Sunday, then caught an afternoon flight and rejoined the team Monday evening.

"I take a lot of pride in being in good shape," said Mulholland, who tried to convince manager Bobby Cox that he could continue pitching. "I've pitched in worse heat than that and being so fatigued in the fourth inning, that was the scary part."

The doctors told Mulholland his shortness of breath was caused by a bronchial spasm, though what triggered it remains a mystery. It could have been a reaction to pollen, the heat and humidity or something he ate for breakfast.

"Ever had the wind knocked out of you?" Mulholland said. "You're only able to take real shallow breaths for about 10 minutes. That's what it felt like."

Mulholland says he's feeling completely normal and plans to make Friday night's start in Philadelphia.

JORDAN RETURNS:

Brian Jordan was in Monday night's lineup, sore right ribcage and all. The right fielder, who received a cortisone shot last week to try and relieve the inflammation, says the injury remains painful.

"It's not as bad as the last ribcage, but I don't want to get there either," he said. "It still hurts when I take a deep breath."

Jordan felt he could swing a bat, though he wasn't certain how effective he'd be. But he wanted to play, if for no other reason than his presence gives Andres Galarraga and Javy Lopez some protection.

"All I know is when I'm not in the lineup we're 6-7 and when I'm in we're 15-2," he said. "Maybe my presence in the lineup means a little something, even if I don't produce offensively."

ON WAITING LIST:

Keith Lockhart is searching for at-bats and not finding many. The second baseman is finding playing time hard to come by and pinch hit appearances even less frequent because Bobby Bonilla and Wally Joyner have been used more often.

"I used to be able to predict when I'm going to hit and now it's harder to predict," Lockhart said. "It's hard anyway to pinch hit and the more time you go without at-bats, you get rusty, plain and simple."

Lockhart is hitting .167 and is 0-for-8 as a pinch hitter, surprising numbers for a hitter who led the club in pinch hits and pinch hits at-bats last season.

"You try not to get discouraged or doubt yourself based on your numbers," he said. "I try not to analyze it too much, but there's not going to be a whole lot to correct it except more at-bats."

SLOW PROGRESS:

Steve Avery isn't making the progress the Braves had hoped to see in his rehab starts with Class AA Greenville. The left-hander rejoined the team Monday after a disastrous outing against West Tennessee on Sunday, a 4 2/3 -inning, eight-hit, eight-run performance that left him with a fifth loss and a 10.57 ERA.

"I got lit up like a Christmas tree, but I felt all right," Avery said. "I threw strikes, but I don't throw good strikes yet. I'm more worried about the stuff, then where the stuff is going. I kind of got what I'm doing wrong narrowed down, but it's still frustrating getting beat up by a Double-A team.

"I feel closer, which is hard to say when you're getting the kind of results I'm getting."

SUCCESSFUL SURGERY:

Dr. Marvin Royster and Dr. Xavier Duralde performed successful surgery on catcher Eddie Perez on Monday to repair his torn right rotator cuff. Perez will be released today and is expected to be ready for next season.

BY THE NUMBERS:

Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Kevin Millwood have combined for a 12-2 record and 2.67 ERA in 21 starts this season. Contrast that with last year's totals after the same number of starts: 8-8 with a 4.22 ERA.

The bullpen's 13 saves lead the National League and its 3.50 ERA ranks fourth.

With Perez out for the season following rotator cuff surgery, Maddux teamed with rookie catcher Fernando Lunar on Monday night against the Marlins. Perhaps the Maddux-Perez combo was overrated. When they teamed up from 1995-2000, Maddux was 61-27 (.693) and the Braves were 74-44; when Maddux and Javy Lopez worked together from 1995-99, the four-time Cy Young winner was 33-8 (.805) and the team was 39-11. ... Maddux needs six strikeouts for 2,200 for his career, while Glavine needs three whiffs for 1,700. ... Andres Galarraga headed into Monday's game needing two more RBI for 1,200. ... Rafael Furcal's numbers suggest he's far more comfortable at leadoff than the No. 8 hole. He's hitting .318 at leadoff with a .516 on-base percentage, and batting .242 with a .242 on-base percentage as the eighth-place hitter.

Furcal and Quilvio Veras have collectively produced a .304 average at leadoff, the league's sixth-best average, and a .404 on-base percentage, the third-best. ... Where the Braves are hurting is their production with men on base. The lineup has produced a .235 average with runners in scoring position, the league's 12th-best average, far below the .257 average the rest of the league has produced.