Originally created 06/26/02

Braves notebook



NEW YORK - Tom Glavine will make a third bid for career win No. 236 tonight, which would tie him with Hall of Famer Whitey Ford for 51st place on the all-time list.

The left-hander, hampered during his last start on Friday against the Chicago White Sox by a blister on his index finger, says it has almost healed.

"No magic formula," he said. "Just icing it to toughen the skin."

Glavine has thrown twice in the bullpen since pitching seven innings against the White Sox, and said he felt only minimal discomfort.

"(Monday) it felt a little weird at times, but it didn't really hurt," he said. "I don't anticipate any problems with it, but you never know. It's not nearly as tender to the touch as it was two days ago."

CHIPPER'S BACK: Chipper Jones suffered back spasms during batting practice before Tuesday's game and was scratched from the lineup. Darren Bragg replaced him in left field, and Andruw Jones moved into the cleanup spot.

MOURNING: Hitting coach Terry Pendleton's mother, Ella, died Tuesday in Oxnard, Calif., and he left the team to return home. Manager Bobby Cox was uncertain when Pendleton will rejoin the team.

"We certainly will miss Terry's presence, but we all understand," Chipper Jones said. "It will be up to the players themselves to compensate, but this club is very good about interacting. If a pitcher is tipping his pitchers or a left-hander is doing something different, it doesn't take long to get through the dugout. We'll miss our teacher for a couple of days, but we should be OK in his absence."

Cox started left-handed hitting Matt Franco at first base Tuesday because he was 4 for 9 against New York Mets starter Steve Trachsel, but plans to play Julio Franco at first with left-hander Shawn Estes starting tonight, and against Mets right-hander Pedro Astacio in Thursday's series finale.

"Astacio is real tough on left-handed hitters, so even though I'm looking two days down the road, it affects today's lineup," Cox said.

SUTTON'S RETURN: Hall of Fame pitcher and TBS announcer Don Sutton, who underwent kidney surgery June 6, will return to the broadcast booth on Monday. He will team with Pete Van Wieren on the TBS telecast of the Braves-Montreal Expos game at Turner Field.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: The decision to move Greg Maddux back three days and start him Friday against the Boston Red Sox wasn't difficult when trainers assured Cox that Maddux's strained calf would be much improved with the extra rest. Even so, there is some risk involved.

"He won't hit or run the bases, so we're 50 percent ahead of the game," Cox said. "But if he tears it, he'll be out for two months."

Maddux is not a model patient. In his first at-bat during his last start, Cox asked the pitcher to swing and miss three times to prevent him from accidentally getting a hit and having to run the bases. Maddux responded by asking if Cox minded him trying to hit a home run on the first pitch. Maddux ended up hitting a fly ball.

SURPRISING RESULTS: The bullpen continues to lead the major leagues with a 2.40 ERA, an astonishing number given its unsettled state in spring training.

"You know it's going to be pretty darn good if the foundation is John Smoltz and one of your columns is Mike Remlinger," Cox said. "But though (Chris) Hammond and (Darren) Holmes threw well in the spring, no one knew they were going to be on the unhittable side this season."

Four relievers - Holmes, Hammond, Remlinger, and Kevin Gryboski - have limited the opposition to batting averages under .200

INJURY UPDATE: Shortstop Mark DeRosa, who underwent ankle surgery last month, will begin a rehab assignment with Class AAA Richmond Thursday. He expects to be ready to play in a week.

SURHOFF JOINS TEAM: B.J. Surhoff made the two-hour train ride from Baltimore on Tuesday, and joined his teammates in the dugout. The outfielder, out for the season following knee surgery, said he's adjusting to his role as Mr. Mom, shuttling his four kids to swim meets, baseball games, softball games, and lacrosse matches.

"I've been surprised by how I've been able to handle (not playing)," he said. "When it first happened I was bummed out, devastated. But now it feels kind of like being in the off-season."

Surhoff is ahead of schedule in his recovery, but doctors have dismissed any thoughts he had of returning to play this season.

"There are certain things you can't speed up," he said. "I'm still planning on playing next year."

Reach Bill Zack at bzack30143@aol.com.