ATLANTA - Although he was disappointed with the outcome, Braves pitcher Kevin Millwood wasn't overly upset with his performance in Tuesday's 5-3 loss to Milwaukee.
After three straight effective outings, Millwood was only so-so in dropping to 1-3 (6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) as the Brewers hurt the right-hander with the long ball thanks to home runs from catcher Raul Casanova and Tyler Houston.
"I thought I pitched a little better than what the statistics showed," Millwood said. "But I guess I didn't do well enough."
Millwood was battered around during the spring. But except for his second start when he gave up six runs in a 9-4 loss to the New York Mets, the North Carolina native has pitched quite well.
Prior to Tuesday's game and discounting his blowup against the Mets, the most runs Millwood had given up was three in an 11-3 win over Houston last week at hitter-friendly Enron Field.
In that outing, Millwood had to leave after 6â innings of work after feeling a twinge in his hip, although the injury did not bother him at all against Milwaukee.
"The hip's fine," Millwood said. "Velocity-wise, I think I'm pretty good. A couple of times my location was off, but other than that I think I did OK."
VERAS STILL AILING:
Second baseman Quilvio Veras was out of the starting lineup Wednesday for the second straight day, suffering from what manager Bobby Cox described as "strep throat-like symptoms."
Cox wasn't sure if Veras will be ready for tonight's third game against the Brewers or not.
"He called the stadium from his house after the game Tuesday and he said he felt worse," Cox said. "He's not feeling very good at all."
Veras was not at Turner Field for Wednesday's game.
Keith Lockhart started in place of Veras for the second straight day.
OTHER INJURY NEWS:
Left fielder B.J. Surhoff suffered a cut on his right shin during a collision Tuesday with shortstop Rafael Furcal but was in Wednesday's starting lineup .... Infielder Kurt Abbott, currently on the 15-day disabled list, did some light running in the outfield and hopes to play up to five games in a rehab assignment before being activated sometimes next week.
SMOLTZ, ANDREWS MEET TODAY:
Pitcher John Smoltz, who threw to hitters Tuesday for the first time since going back on the disabled list (elbow), is expected to meet with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. today.
According to Braves public relations director Jim Schultz, Smoltz was originally supposed to meet Andrews in Atlanta but that the famed orthopedic surgeon had a change of plans and will see the pitcher in his office today.
"I still feel fine," Smoltz said. "Hopefully, Dr. Andrews will have some more good news for me and I will be able to extend my workouts a little bit more."
Smoltz is scheduled to throw again for the Braves Saturday and hopes to be back pitching for the team in three weeks.
SHEETS LIVING A DREAM:
The past eight months have been very memorable for Milwaukee pitcher Ben Sheets.
A bona fide Olympic hero, the Baton Rouge, La. native made a name for himself by winning three games in Sydney, Australia, including a three-hit shutout against Cuba to earn the gold medal for Team USA on Sept. 27.
"A day hasn't gone by that I don't think about that," said Sheets, who starts for the Brewers in tonight's 7:35 game. "It's something I'll never forget."
Sheets (1-2, 4.91) hasn't rested on his laurels.
After receiving an invite to spring training, the 22-year old impressed the Brewer brass enough to earn a spot in the starting rotation. He won his first big league game last week against Montreal.
"I'm a very lucky person, that's for sure," said Sheets, who attended Northeast Louisiana University. "I just hope I don't wake up."
COX BIG FAN OF POLK:
Although his duties as Braves manager obviously take up most of his time, Cox has been keeping up with the progress of Ron Polk's Georgia baseball team.
"I see they're having a great year," Cox said. "I'm glad to see it."
According to the Atlanta skipper, he's known the Diamond Dogs' second-year coach for years and has long admired his work.
"Ron's one of the best teachers of the game that I've ever seen," Cox said. "I don't know of many people who know the game any better and certainly none who are able to communicate the fundamentals as effectively as he is. Georgia's very lucky to have him."
GOLFER LOPEZ UPSTAGES BRAVES:
LPGA golfer Nancy Lopez took on noted golfers Chipper Jones, Tom Glavine and Smoltz in a pre-game chipping contest prior to Wednesday's first pitch.
The Braves trio were put to shame.
Chipping from home plate to a flag approximately 200 feet away in medium-depth center field, Lopez put her second shot a mere 5 feet, 5 inches away from the pin.
Glavine was the next closest, placing his ball 10 feet, four inches from the flag followed by Jones (15-7) and Smoltz (18 feet).