Originally created 02/20/01

Braves notebook



The Rookie of the Year shortstop hurt the shoulder two years ago at Class A Macon, then reinjured it while making a headfirst slide in winter ball in his native Dominican Republic in December.

Doctors examined him, prescribed rest and exercise, and have given him a clean bill of health, but it's still a nagging concern for manager Bobby Cox.

"I am concerned for the whole season," Cox said. "It concerns me because it's popped out twice. We're trying to get him to (slide feet-first), but habits are hard to break."

Doctors have told Furcal the injury is to his rotator cuff, which may eventually require surgery. But, for now, the 20-year-old will strengthen the area with daily exercises and try to keep contact with his shoulder to a minimum.

"I play crazy," Furcal said, smiling. "When I get on the field, I go hard. I shouldn't slide headfirst, but I always do."

MOURNING MATHEWS:

The Braves mourned the loss of one of their own Monday following the death of Hall of Fame slugger Eddie Mathews, the only player to play for the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta.

"I played against him when he was older and he was still a great player," bench coach Pat Corrales said. "Without it being mentioned, you knew who the leader of the Braves was. Eddie was intimidating."

BULLPEN BATTLES:

Reliever Kevin McGlinchy has put himself in position to win a spot in the bullpen. After missing most of last season with biceps tendinitis, he is throwing without pain and is encouraged by the velocity and command of his pitches.

"Leo's (pitching coach Mazzone) camp was therapeutic for me to see that I can be at 95 percent and throw effectively," McGlinchy said.

McGlinchy said Monday's workout was his best so far. His fastball was hard and his breaking pitches had good movement, but more importantly he feels no aftereffects of the tendinitis.

While the early work of John Smoltz and Odalis Perez has strengthened Cox's conviction that the rotation and bullpen will be stronger than last season, McGlinchy's comeback has received little attention. But, if he can recapture his 1999 form, the Braves will have one of the league's best and deepest bullpens.