Originally created 08/19/00

Braves notebook



SAN FRANCISCO -- The news on Kevin Millwood's left knee is positive.

He threw off a bullpen mound Friday afternoon and reported little pain and plans to make Tuesday night's start in Denver.

"It's one of those things where you feel a little pain, but it's not going to hurt your knee by pitching through it," Millwood said.

The right-hander went out to the mound to start the seventh inning Wednesday, but left with what trainers described as a strained patella tendon. But, Millwood says he thinks it's just a case of tendinitis, which he's experienced in his left knee before.

"It feels like tendinitis and that's what I'm banking on it being," he said.

Manager Bobby Cox spoke with Millwood Friday and came away feeling confident he'll take his next turn. If not, Cox planned to move a pitcher up in the rotation to take Millwood's spot.

"He's walking real good," Cox said. "He says he's fine."

SANDERS TO DISCUSS ROLE

Reggie Sanders doesn't have a regular job anymore, but he's not complaining. At least, not yet. He plans to sit down with Cox and discuss his role, but wants to no it quietly, with no fuss.

"I don't want to test the situation right now," said Sanders, who started the season as the left fielder. "I don't want it to become an issue."

Cox has indicated he plans to play Sanders, who is hitting .226 in his last 62 at-bats, and he'll have an opportunity Sunday afternoon when the Giants send left-hander Kirk Rueter to the mound. The question is, will Cox end B.J. Surhoff's major league-leading consecutive games streak to play Sanders, or give Brian Jordan a day off?

Cox will probably keep Surhoff, who has 10 hits in his last 27 at-bats (.370), in the lineup and play Sanders in right field. Or, he may keep Sanders on the bench, where he's been since coming off the disabled list last Tuesday.

A HITTER'S PARK

With nothing but scouting reports to base their assumptions on, the Braves took a look at $319 million Pacific Bell Park Friday and figured it would play small if the wind was blowing out.

"I guess you're going to give up some cheap (home runs) and you're going to get some that should be out and aren't," Cox said.

Any popup hit along either line is going to go out. The left field porch is only 339 feet away from the plate and the right field stands are just 309 feet away. But, to reach San Francisco Bay on the fly, a hitter needs a poke of at least 359 feet to right field.

"It's sort of a reverse Fenway Park," said pitcher Tom Glavine, who will make Sunday afternoon's start. "I never minded pitching at (Candlestick). As much as we hated the weather, it was still nice to pitch in."

The wind blows at Pac Bell, as Cox discovered during an afternoon stroll around the outfield, but not nearly as strongly as at Candlestick Point.

"The wind was swirling," Cox said. "I picked up some grass and it blew the wrong way, but, it's an absolutely beautiful ballpark. Just fantastic."

The biggest problem facing the Braves was a shortage of tickets. The Giants have sold out every game at the 40,800-seat ballpark and have reserved 200 complimentary tickets for opposing players to use for friends and family.

That left Cox, who grew up in Fresno, about 180 miles from here, with having to cut down his pass list.

"At Candlestick, you could leave 500 tickets if you wanted too," Cox said. "Here, it's 200, and that's it."