Originally created 08/10/00

Braves notebook



CINCINNATI -- The effects of Tuesday night's fainting spell evident on his face, pitching coach Leo Mazzone rejoined the club Wednesday with a clean bill of health.

When Mazzone toppled over before the start of the third inning, his face scraped the Astroturf carpet on the dugout floor. He was helped to the clubhouse, then spent the night at Good Samaritan Hospital, where doctors ran a battery of tests.

He was released at 11 a.m. Wednesday with no cause found for his collapse.

"They did a CAT scan of my brain and found nothing," Mazzone said, jokingly. "It scared the heck out of me. My face took a straight shot on a two-by-six covered by Astroturf. Now I know how those football players feel when they get turf burn."

Doctors checked him over thoroughly, did blood work and monitored his heart. He will undergo one more test when he returns to Atlanta today, but remains puzzled by the incident.

"I felt a little dizzy and then it was lights out," he said.

Mazzone thanked doctors, nurses and the emergency room technicians who treated him by leaving 30 tickets to Wednesday night's game.

JONES MIRED IN SLUMP

Chipper Jones has been through slumps before, but not one as severe as the 0-for-20 drought he was mired in heading into Wednesday night's game. He is 4-for-31 (.129) during the trip, his average falling from .318 at the start of the three-city tour to .303.

Hitting coach Merv Rettenmund says there's nothing wrong with Jones' swing. Instead, it's his approach at the plate. Simply, he's looking for one thing, and pitchers are throwing something else.

"I'm guessing wrong a lot," Jones said. "And, I'm a little out of sync with my timing. It happens over the course of a season, but it's never left me for this long."

Rettenmund has talked with Jones about his approach, suggesting he think less and just react to pitches. But, he admitted, what sounds easy is often hard to put into practice.

"You can't just walk up there and flail away," he said. "You've got to think like a hitter, and that's what he does best."

Jones doesn't mind his timing being a little off or needing to reconsider his approach. What he fears is allowing the slump to get into his head.

"What you have to fight against is knowing it's something mechanical and not letting it become mental," he said. "When you go through 20 at-bats and look as bad as I have, at some point it becomes mental."

All it will take to extricate himself from his skid, Jones said, is a hit. Any kind of hit, bloop, bleeder, check-swing roller, he'll take it.

"Or come through in an RBI situation and all of a sudden you get your confidence back," he said.

LOPEZ SITS OUT

Javy Lopez was not in Wednesday night's lineup after injuring his left knee in Tuesday night's collision at home plate with Chris Stynesin the fifth inning. It's not considered serious, though he'll have X-rays Friday, and he hopes to be back for Friday night's game against the Dodgers.

"I started feeling it when I got the base hit and started running to first base," he said. "During the course of the game it got worse and worse, and I couldn't sleep last night it hurt so much."

Lopez underwent surgery on his left knee after the 1997 season to smooth out meniscus cartilage and trainers think he may have strained the cartilage in the collision.

OTHER INJURIES

Andres Galarraga missed a third-straight game Wednesday with a sore thumb, and right fielder Brian Jordan was out with strained groin suffered in Tuesday's game. Both players are expected to be ready Friday.

NEW SCOUT NAMED

Dayton Moore, the Braves' Assistant Director of Scouting Player Development, was named Director of International and Professional Scouting Wednesday. An area scouting supervisor for the mid-Atlantic states in 1994, Moore, 33, moved into the front office in 1996.

Reach Bill Zack at bzack30143@aol.com.