Originally created 06/20/00

Braves notes



PHILADELPHIA -- The numbers suggest Wally Joyner is having the worst season of his 14-year career, which probably isn't surprising considering his once-a-week role.

The first baseman, who has started only 12 of 69 games, has hit .178 in 73 at-bats. He's 0-for-10 on this trip and hitting .095 (2-for-21) in June.

Those are hardly the numbers expected from a career .290 hitter, even one coming off a disappointing .248 season last year with the Padres.

"The overall picture is not very good, but the overall picture is I don't have very many at-bats," Joyner said. "My opportunities to play haven't been many because (Andres) Galarraga is playing a lot, which is good for us."

Joyner, who says he's always understood how difficult a bench player's job is, figured he'd play a lot when he was traded to the Braves last December. But Galarraga's remarkable comeback from a year away battling cancer has left Joyner seated on the bench.

Now, Joyner is battling to get comfortable at the plate with only occasional at-bats.

"A big key for me is getting an accumulation of at-bats in a short period of time," he said. "Bobby Cox has allowed me to get some at-bats, but I'm sure he'd like me to get more."

It's a big adjustment for Joyner, who had 323 at-bats in an injury-plagued season last year, and had 400-plus at-bats each season from 1995-98. Now he's lucky to get four at-bats a week and he's having trouble adjusting to the role.

"He needs to play," Cox acknowledged, "But I've got a lot of confidence in Wally. He can hit. He's a good hitter."

LEARNING PROCESS:

Mark DeRosa has made four trips between the minor leagues and majors in the last three years and he's become more comfortable each time. The 25-year-old shortstop, who has made four starts while Rafael Furcal has been sidelined and Walt Weiss has nursed a sprained thumb, says he's confident he belongs.

In two stints with the Braves this season, DeRosa is hitting .400 (4 for 10) with three RBI. Two of those hits and all three RBI came in five games in his previous stay. He was hitting .319 at Class AAA Richmond when he was recalled June 13.

"I don't think I'm wondering if I have the ability to play here," he said, "but until I get some starts and get over the anxiety, you always have some self-doubt. The biggest thing is getting your confidence and being relaxed. The game is the same, the thing that blows it out of the water for some young guys is the size of the stadiums and the size of the crowds."

STREAK CONTINUES:

Chipper Jones extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a first-inning double against Randy Wolf on Monday night, still a long way from matching Rico Carty's Atlanta-record streak of 31 games in 1970. Rowland Office is second on that list with a 29-game streak in 1976 and Marquis Grissom is third with 28 games in 1996.

Jones' best streak is 18 games in 1996.

QUICK HITS:

Kevin McGlinchy planned to throw off a mound Monday for the first time since going on the disabled list May 24 with a stiff shoulder, but trainers advised him to take a day off and he'll throw today. Continuing his rehab, McGlinchy played catch from 120 feet Saturday and Sunday and said he felt no pain. ... Furcal swung a bat Monday for the first time since going on the DL June 13 with a strained hamstring. He hit with hitting coach Merv Rettenmund soft tossing him pitches and indicated he'll be ready to play when he's eligible June 28. ... The first inning has plagued Braves starters all season. They have allowed at least one run in 27 of 68 starts, giving up 60 runs in all, accounting for 28 percent of the 217 runs allowed. Braves starters have a first-inning earned run average of 7.75 and a 3.69 ERA from the second inning on. ... Despite John Rocker's absence during the first two weeks of the season and his week-long minor league stay, the Braves bullpen leads the major leagues with 24 saves.