Originally created 05/20/00

Braves notebook: Smoltz joins broadcast team



ATLANTA -- That unfamiliar voice coming through your TV set Sunday afternoon will belong to John Smoltz.

The right-hander, sidelined following elbow surgery, will take a turn behind the TBS microphone for Skip Caray, working three innings each with Joe Simpson, Don Sutton and Pete Van Wieren. Caray will miss the broadcast to attend his son Josh's high school graduation.

Asked how he'll critique his team's performance, Smoltz grinned and said, "I have to be careful because I'm still a player. I'm just going to be myself and have fun."

The idea was Caray's and Smoltz says he jumped at the offer to get a feel for broadcasting. But, unlike Sutton, he says he's not planning to jump from the mound to the booth.

"I've gotten a lot of offers to do things now that everybody thinks I have all this free time," he said. "This is another step to gain a different perspective. I'm looking forward to it."

WEISS READY

Walt Weiss tested his left hamstring by circling the bases several times during batting practice Friday and indicated he's ready to play. The veteran shortstop has been out since May 5 with a strained hamstring and he'll probably be activated Sunday.

Mark DeRosa will probably be sent to Class AAA Richmond to make room for Weiss on the roster.

The problem will be finding playing time for Weiss. In his absence, Rafael Furcal has ignited the team and it will be difficult for manager Bobby Cox to sit him down.

"(Weiss) will play some," Cox said. "We'll see."

HUBBARD FINDS HIS SWING

Trenidad Hubbard has been looking for his swing for almost two months and he thinks he found it during batting practice Friday night. His timing couldn't be better. The outfielder, who has been used as a defensive replacement for Bobby Bonilla in left and as a pinch hitter, is hitting .156, though he's 2 for 4 off the bench.

"I swear I found it today," Hubbard said. "I think I've had more swings this week in batting practice than the whole team combined trying to find it.

"It's hard to find, but the hardest part is keeping it."

Hubbard, a career .286 hitter, hit .314 with the Dodgers last year. This is his longest stretch with a sub-.200 average and he's ready to see it get back to the .280-.300 range where he feels it belongs.

"All (hitting .156) means is I've got a whole lot of hits coming," he said. "I feel very good about my bp today and where it's going to lead."

SANDERS HOPES TO PLAY TUESDAY

Reggie Sanders says the cortisone shot he received in his sprained left ankle has reduced the inflammation and he's hoping to be ready to play Tuesday. However, Cox isn't quite so optimistic and the Braves may want him to play in a minor league game or two before activating him from the disabled list.

AVERY SHELLED IN MINORS

After being shelled in Thursday night's 8-1 loss at Carolina, Steve Avery indicated he might take a break in his rehab assignment with Class AA Greenville.

"I didn't feel good," said the left-hander, who lasted 5 13 innings and allowed nine hits, six walks and seven earned runs. "I had a hard time getting loose. Maybe the time before I went a little too hard. I felt stiff all week."

GLAVINE HOME SICK

Tom Glavine stayed home in bed Friday because of a case of food poisoning and Cox indicated he's questionable for Sunday's start against the Padres.

Asked what his plan is if Glavine can't go, Cox shrugged and said, "Don't use the bullpen too much (tonight)."

If Glavine is unable to make the start, Bruce Chen will likely replace him.