Originally created 05/24/00

Braves notes: Sanders returns to Braves lineup



MILWAUKEE -- Admitting he was "excited and jittery," left fielder Reggie Sanders rejoined the lineup Tuesday night, his first appearance since April 29.

Sanders, who went on the disabled list May 6 with a left ankle sprain, arrived at County Stadium at 1:30 and worked out for manager Bobby Cox. He took batting practice, ran the bases and took some balls in the outfield, convincing Cox he didn't need to play in a minor league game or two to get ready.

"He worked out for an hour and did everything he needed to do," Cox said. "It's up to him. He feels good about himself. If he doesn't get three hits tonight, he might make two great catches, so what's the difference?"

Though he hadn't faced a pitcher in almost a month, Sanders has been swinging for the last week with coach Merv Rettenmund, hitting soft toss and swinging against a curve ball machine.

Sanders, who was mired in a 1-for-36 drought when he was hurt, said his ankle isn't completely healed yet and it might be several more weeks before he's pain-free.

"There's going to be a little discomfort, but for the most part nothing that will keep me out of the lineup," he said.

To make room for Sanders, the Braves sent infielder Steve Sisco back to Class AAA Richmond. Sisco, who won a game in Philadelphia with a home run, was 2-for-9 in nine games in his first stint in the majors.

"He impressed everybody while he was here," Cox said. "He's a valuable guy. You'll see him up here again sometime this season."

Sisco, 30, might win a job next season as a utility player. He can play several positions, including the outfield, and he's a proven hitter.

"It's very impressive to be part of a club that wins as much as these guys," he said. "It's a complete collective effort. It's been a good learning experience all the way around. It's something I really want to get back to."

Second baseman Quilvio Veras, who missed two games after being hit on the side of his right knee in Friday night's game, also returned to the lineup Tuesday. It was the first time since April 29 all eight regulars (including rookie shortstop Rafael Furcal) had been in the lineup at the same time.

ON THE BRINK:

Greg Maddux goes to the mound tonight with a chance to claim a spot in baseball history. He is currently in third place in career putouts (385) by a pitcher, trailing Phil Niekro (386) and Jack Morris (387).

Impressive stuff, right? Not really, Maddux said with a shrug.

"It's one of those records where the only person who cares about it is the one who's got it," he said. "No one cares about it except maybe my mom."

TAKING IT EASY:

Brian Jordan missed out on Player of the Week honors, but he's still swinging one of the league's hottest bats with eight homers and 17 RBI in his last 10 games, while hitting .538. But don't expect to see him stealing any bases or going from first to third on a single.

After turning his left ankle last week, it remains sore and he's continuing to take treatment every day to reduce the inflammation.

"It's affecting me," he said. "I'm not even thinking about stealing. If it's not needed, I'm not going to do it. I'm scared to take a chance."

EXCUSED ABSENCE:

Cox will miss the June 3 game against the Yankees at Turner Field to attend his daughter Skyla's graduation from Walton High School. Bench coach Pat Corrales will run the team in his absence.

FINAL GOODBYE:

This week, the Braves are making their final appearances in the stadium they called home from 1953-65. The Milwaukee Braves won the World Series in 1957 and the NL pennant in 1958. They moved to Atlanta in 1966. ... Extra ushers were in the right-field bleachers near the Braves' bullpen as John Rocker made his first appearance of the year in Milwaukee.