Originally created 05/14/00

Braves notebook: Ligtenberg goes down for work



PHILADELPHIA -- The move wasn't unexpected, but when Bobby Cox told Kerry Ligtenberg on Saturday that he was being sent to Class AAA Richmond, the reliever was still surprised.

"I'm not really happy about going down," said Ligtenberg, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning and was credited with Friday night's 8-7 win over the Phillies. "I thought there was a possibility. I think I need to get a little more work consistently. I'm close, but I probably won't be 100 percent until October."

The Braves shipped out Ligtenberg, who was 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA in 11 appearances, and activated Kevin McGlinchy from the disabled list. McGlinchy convinced Cox he was ready by throwing a shutout inning Tuesday and Thursday with Class AA Greenville, striking out four.

"I've been waiting for this day," said McGlinchy, who went on the DL April 17 with a stiff right shoulder. "I feel strong. I'm spotting my pitches pretty good and my confidence is good."

Ligtenberg was the first player to greet McGlinchy with a handshake Saturday afternoon in the visitors clubhouse at Veterans Stadium. The move will give Ligtenberg a chance to pitch regularly, which he needs to build his arm strength and sharpen his pitches.

"I didn't know whose place I was taking, so this is news to me," McGlinchy said. "I kind of feel bad, but I guess that's the business of it. I'm sure (Ligtenberg) will be back up in no time."

Ligtenberg admitted Saturday that he pushed himself too hard to be ready by opening day and he wasn't ready to pitch in April. As a result, he didn't have a good slider and without it hitters started sitting on his fastball.

"It was my fault," he said. "I should have taken it slower. I need to get some work in and get my arm strength back. I feel like I've been throwing the ball better the last five times out, but I wouldn't say I'm back to where I was in '98."

NEAR MILESTONE:

Last year Andruw Jones didn't hit his ninth homer until June 7. He reached that total with a first-inning blast against Curt Schilling on Friday night, leaving him 11 home runs shy of 100 for his career.

Jones, who is hitting .333 this month and .346 from the No. 2 spot, is on pace to hit a career-high 41 homers and drive in 78 runs. He says he doesn't set goals for himself each year, other than bettering his numbers from the previous season.

"I know what kind of talent I have, I know what I can do," he said. "I don't care about the numbers. I just want to have a better season than I did last year."

Jones credits the work he did with hitting coach Merv Rettenmund this spring with helping him to a fast start, but he also says he's maturing as a hitter and knowing the league's pitchers is an advantage.

"I have a little more experience, I have a better idea at the plate, I'm quicker at making adjustments," he said. "I know basically what the pitchers are going to throw. It's just when they make a mistake, you don't want to miss it."