Originally created 03/30/03

Braves' notebook

ATLANTA - Even after a terrible performance by Jason Marquison Monday, when he gave up 12 hits and 13 earned runs in a loss to Cleveland, Braves manager Bobby Cox insisted the 24-year-old was going to make the starting rotation.

Marquis showed his appreciation Saturday.

The Braves' 2-1 loss to Boston didn't take the luster off Marquis, who gave up just one earned run and struck out two in four innings.

Now he will reap the benefits. After the game, Cox said he would start Friday's game against Florida while Mike Hampton and Paul Byrd spend time on the 15-day disabled list.

"He looked fine today," Cox said. "He looked good."

He definitely looked better then he did against the Indians. In fact, Marquis said, his mechanics were the best they've been in two years.

"I felt like I was throwing the ball well," said Marquis, who, aside from his misadventure against Cleveland, was 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA this spring. "I think that's what I'm going to do the rest of the season. I want to keep it in the back of their minds that I can get the job done."

What might worry Cox more is how his hitters are performing.

For the second straight day, Atlanta was stymied by a Red Sox starter. This time, former Brave John Burkett pitched five innings of two-hit ball to take his third victory of the spring.

Andruw Jones' second-inning home run was one of just five Atlanta hits, and Red Sox reliever Casey Fossum pitched four scoreless innings to pick up a save.

For Boston, Shea Hillenbrand went 2-for-4 with two RBI, and Kevin Millar and Johnny Damon combined to go 4-for-5 with two runs scored to lead the Red Sox.

HAMPTON ON DL: Thanks to a strained right calf, Hampton joined fellow starter Byrd on the 15-day disabled list Saturday.

Hampton, who went 2-0 with a 4.13 ERA in six starts this spring, was scheduled to be the Braves' No. 2 starter behind Greg Maddux.

Instead, Horacio Ramirez - expected to start Saturday's exhibition against Boston - will take his place in the rotation, and Atlanta will keep 12 pitchers.

The move was made retroactive to Friday.

MAYBE IT'S THE POLLEN: Ray King pitched to just one batter in Friday's exhibition before he wiped his nose with his glove and discovered he was bleeding.

Trainers removed him from the game with a 2-2 count on David Ortiz, and he was replaced by Trey Hodges, who retired Ortiz on a fly ball to left field.

"To be honest, I don't know (what happened)," King said. "I went to wipe my nose with my glove, and maybe I scratched it then. It's nothing serious. It should be fine."

HALL OF FAME APPEARANCE: For those who can't wait an extra three hours before watching ballplayers in action, legendary Braves Hank Aaron and Phil Niekro are at your service.

At 10 a.m. Monday - three hours before Atlanta opens its season against Montreal - the two will unveil a giant leaderboard in the Braves Museum & Hall of Fame at Turner Field. The leaderboard will feature franchise and Atlanta leaders in hitting and pitching.


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