Originally created 09/26/00

Braves notebook



MONTREAL -- John Burkett will be a well-rested pitcher when he goes to the mound tonight at Shea Stadium.

The right-hander hasn't made a start since beating the Diamondbacks on Sept. 16, though he did make about 40 pitches in a simulated game here Friday afternoon.

"(A long layoff) has an effect on my command," he said. "That's why I felt it necessary to face some hitters. I was happy with it."

Burkett, the fifth starter, has beaten the Mets twice this season, working 9 1/3 innings and allowing seven hits and one earned run. He won 6-4 June 29 at Shea, then won 6-3 in a relief appearance July 21 in Atlanta.

"I've pitched in a pennant race a few times and I love it," he said. "I think I'm able to control my emotions and it seems to help me focus a little better. I feel confident in situations like that."

HOT FINISH:

Chipper Jones is enjoying one of his best Septembers. He's riding a 12-game hitting streak and has 23 hits in his last 40 at-bats to boost his average this month to .422.

"We've been in pennant races the last couple of years and every game, every at-bat has meant something," said Jones, who hit .298 with 10 home runs last September. "When you've got a 10- or 12-game lead in September, you don't have that focus."

Jones, who was 9-for-17 in the four games against the Expos, is hitting .313 since the All-Star break. The only stat he's disappointed with is his clutch numbers. A career .306 hitter with runners in scoring position, he's hit only .263 this season.

PLANNING ASUBHEAD:

George Lombard has already leased an apartment in Scottsdale, Ariz., in preparation for playing in the Arizona Fall League, but he will probably have to delay his arrival. Manager Bobby Cox indicated Monday that the speedy outfielder probably will be included on the postseason roster.

"I'd like to be able to help," said Lombard, who will be used mostly as a pinch runner. "This is where I want to be."

Cox said he hasn't made all his roster decisions yet, but he'll probably carry nine pitchers for the best-of-five division series and include an extra hitter.

"I'm going to still tinker with it this week," he said.

PLAYING HURT:

Brian Jordan has pain in his wrists and knees, not enough to keep him out of the lineup, but enough to affect his swing when he plays. He admits he's been compensating at the plate for his aches and pains, and it's reflected in his 5-for-23 skid.

"I'm just using my body, instead of my hands," he said. "I'm tired of talking about injuries. My body is just beat up."