Originally created 09/09/01

Braves notebook



CHICAGO -- Breaking from the batter's box in the eighth inningSaturday, third baseman Chipper Jones pulled his right groin and will probably miss this afternoon's series finale against the Cubs.

"I pulled it good," said Jones, who hit a two-run home run in thethird, then rolled into a double play in the eighth. "I took a littleawkward step coming out of the box and kind of glided down to first."

Jones will have two days off to recover before the second-placePhillies arrive in Atlanta for three games starting Tuesday night. Heplanned to put ice on it Saturday night, arrive at the park early todayfor more treatment, then rest during Monday's day off.

"The smart thing to do is take tomorrow off, have the off day, andcome back Tuesday," Jones said. "I'm not going to be stupid about it.It's too late in the season to mess around with something that couldkeep me out for two weeks."

INJURIES: No sooner did Javy Lopez make it back into the lineup Friday aftermissing most of two games with a sore toe, then he was scratched fromSaturday's game with a stomach virus.

Paul Bako took over behind the plate, which deprived the Braves ofone of their hottest bats. Lopez has hit in 10 of his last 12 games ata .405 clip. Bako contributed a single and scored the Braves' firstrun, struck out twice, and walked.

MILESTONE HOMER:Andruw Jones' 30th home run Friday moved him into some selectcompany in franchise history. He's just the second center fielder tohave three 30-homer seasons, joining Dale Murphy, who did it fivetimes.

"Thirty is a good number," said Jones, who's emerged from asecond-half funk to go 7 for 12 on the road trip. "For a guy who's nota home run hitter, that's good. But today 30 is nothing. You've got tohit 40 or 50."

FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT: Tim Spooneybarger won't get in many games in the last three weeksof the season, but you can count on seeing a lot of the 21-year-oldreliever next year. He made his major league debut last Wednesday,working a scoreless inning against the Expos, but that wasn't whatimpressed the Braves.

How he handled himself on the mound, and the movement of hispitches had catcher Eddie Perez shaking his head in wonder.

"Now I know why he put up those numbers (at Class AAA Richmond),"Perez said. "He doesn't throw anything straight. Hopefully we can seehim some more."

Spooneybarger, who was 3-0 with a 0.71 ERA with Richmond, throws afour-seam fastball that breaks down and away from right-handed hitters,and a breaking pitch which falls somewhere between a curve and slider,which Richmond pitching coach Guy Hansen calls "the thing."

"You can't identify what it is," Hansen said. "It has tremendousspin, and it has a very sharp, very quick break. He throws it with goodvelocity, and it has the action of a very hard slurve, like RobbNen's."

Spooneybarger broke three bats during the inning, though perhapshis best pitch didn't even enter the strike zone. The first pitch hethrew was a fastball that buzzed underneath Vladimir Guerrero's chin,knocking him off the plate.

Accidental? Hardly.

"I didn't want to hit him, but I didn't want him thinking he wasgoing to get me the first at-bat," Spooneybarger said. "I wanted tomake sure my first pitch wasn't a home run."

Mission accomplished. Guerrero rolled out weakly to first base,Orlando Cabrera broke his bat in tapping to second, then followingGeoff Blum's soft single and a walk to Lee Stevens, Spooneybarger brokeMichael Barrett's bat in forcing an infield out.

"What I liked was all the contact was on the ground," pitchingcoach Leo Mazzone said. "His ball was moving, nothing was straight, sothe first impression was good."