Originally created 06/09/01

Lack of at-bats prompts DeRosa's start

NEW YORK - Mark DeRosa glanced at the lineup when he arrived in the visiting clubhouse Friday afternoon, then did a double take.

There was his name listed as the DH, which gave him just enough time to call home and line up tickets for family and friends.

"I was a little shocked, but I'm so excited," said DeRosa, who grew up a Yankees fan in Oradell, New Jersey. "It's one of the biggest moments of my life."

DeRosa, recalled from Class AAA Richmond last Friday, had just one plate appearance (walk) since he arrived. It was that lack of playing time that prompted manager Bobby Cox to write his name into the lineup.

"He hasn't played yet," Cox said. "It's a way to get him in there."

It's DeRosa's second visit to Yankee Stadium. He participated in a pre-draft workout here in 1996 and was disappointed the Yankees didn't select him.

"I came to a ton of games here as a kid," he said. "This is big."

REMINISCING: Jason Marquis was here in 1996 too, but as a high school athlete.

He pitched Tottenville High to the New York city championship over George Washington High, striking out 15 in seven innings. Like DeRosa, he dreamed of being a Yankee, but was taken by the Braves as a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds of the draft.

"Being in the stadium at that point in life was almost like being in the big leagues," Marquis said. "But it's nice to be here now in a big league uniform.

"Granted, it's not the pinstripes you dreamed about as a kid, but it's still unbelievable."

SILENT, BUT DEADLY: Quietly, Brian Jordan has boosted his production and made his numbers respectable. The right fielder, who hit .250 in April and knocked in just 11 runs, is batting .312 since a 12 for 67 (.179) start and has 27 RBI, the team's third-best total behind Chipper Jones (42) and Andruw Jones (31).

Jordan credits extra work in the batting cage with hitting coach Merv Rettenmund for his increased production. But the work has been aimed at maintaining his swing, rather than fixing anything.

In April, it seemed almost every swing produced a line drive, but most were caught. The lack of hits and the lineup's failure to advance runners into scoring position frustrated Jordan.

"The guys are getting on now, things are starting to happen," Jordan said. 'Before, no one was getting on and you'd find yourself swinging harder trying to hit home runs, instead of just trying to get an RBI."

Jordan has historically been a slow starter and as the weather warms, so does his bat. During his career, June has been Jordan's most productive month. He's knocked in 112 runs in June; he drove in 23 runs last June, his best month.

"It's about that time of year I get hot," he said.

TURNOVER: How much of the Braves' roster has turned over since the 1999 World Series against the Yankees?

Only nine of the 25 players on the '99 team are on the current 25-man roster: Tom Glavine, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Jordan, Keith Lockhart, Greg Maddux, Mike Remlinger, John Rocker and John Smoltz.

Reach Bill Zack at bzack30143@aol.com


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