Originally created 08/24/02

Injuries sideline Braves center fielder



LOS ANGELES - Atlanta's Andruw Jones said he could play, but manager Bobby Cox wasn't taking any chances with his All-Star center fielder.

Jones, who has a sore left shoulder and right wrist, wasn't in Friday night's lineup against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was examined by assistant trainer Jeff Porter on Friday morning, who checked the strength in his shoulder. Jones declined to see a doctor.

"I told (Porter) a doctor is going to do the same thing you did," Jones said. "The strength is right there. The only thing I'm worried about is my wrist. My ligaments might be messed up in there. If anybody grabs me, it hurts."

Jones aggravated his shoulder and wrist making a diving catch in Thursday's game against the San Diego Padres. Cox called him Friday morning and asked if he could play and Jones said he could. But after conferring with trainers, Cox decided a day off was appropriate. Cox was uncertain whether Jones would play today.

"He'll be fine," Cox said. "Generally it's all right over night. It's hard to leave him out of the lineup simply because of his glove."

Jones, who raised the possibility Thursday of returning to Atlanta to be examined by a team doctor, indicated he's having trouble extending his arms when he swings a bat. And his wrist hurts to touch. But he also knows there's nothing that can be done about his aches and pains until the season ends.

"It's not going to be good in one day," he said. "I know it's there and I'll try and play through it."

INJURED DODGER: Dodgers left fielder Brian Jordan has a bad back and also wasn't in Friday's lineup. He received an epidural last week, and the Dodgers will wait another day or two before making the decision whether to place him on the 15-day disabled list.

"The best thing is rest and rehab," Jordan said. "I could be playing (today) or I might not be playing until the next day or the next day. I am not going to force anything because of my back. This is a career thing. But it is frustrating, not being able to play against my former team."

GOOD NEWS? Tom Glavine is keeping in touch with union negotiators and sounded optimistic Friday the players and owners can reach an agreement before next Friday's strike deadline.

"I think this weekend could be fairly significant as far as the direction talks go in next week," said Glavine, the National League player representative. "Something has to give sooner or later."

The two sides plan to meet over the weekend, with the luxury tax threshold and the percentage the two sticking points.

"I think you have to be optimistic after the owners came down on their numbers," Glavine said of the owners' revenue-sharing proposal Thursday. "That has to be viewed by us as a good thing. We're not that far apart. We've just got to find a way to bridge the gap."

MARQUIS UPDATE: Jason Marquis was still limping Friday after being knocked out of Thursday's game by Phil Nevin's smash off his left calf. Because of Monday's day off, Marquis won't be needed again until Aug. 31, giving him eight days to recover.

But it's not Marquis' injury that worries Cox. Marquis is 0-3 with an 11.92 ERA in his past three starts. He's now 8-8 with a 4.77 ERA in 18 starts.

"It's all location," Cox said. "He's got the stuff. There's days he can locate and days he can't. All young pitchers go through it."

REINFORCEMENTS: Class AAA Richmond pitcher Trey Hodges is an easy choice when the Braves expand rosters Sept. 1. He's a 15-game winner with a 2.99 ERA, and has given up 143 hits in 162 1/3 innings.

The remainder of the callups aren't so easy. The team will probably strengthen its bullpen and give the relievers a break by recalling Ray Beasley (6-5, 2.42 ERA), Doug Linton (9-9, 2.52 ERA) and Joey Dawley (9-7, 2.54 ERA). Richmond infielder Jesse Garcia has been called on every time the Braves have needed a backup infielder, and he'll return, and it's likely another position player or two will join him, possibly outfielders Damon Hollins or Travis Wilson, and third baseman Mike Hessman, who leads the R-Braves with 26 home runs and 75 RBI.

Reach Bill Zack at bzack30143@aol.com.