Originally created 08/07/03

Braves' notebook



MILWAUKEE - The Atlanta Braves were a reliever short in the bullpen Wednesday night after announcing that Darren Holmes will be placed on the 15-day disabled list today.

The Braves also announced that the contract of veteran reliever Will Cunnane will be purchased from Class AAA Richmond.

Holmes, who spent two weeks on the DL in May with nerve inflammation in his right shoulder, is suffering from tendinitis in his shoulder.

"My shoulder feels like it weighs 100 pounds," he said. "My shoulder is eaten up with tendinitis right now. I've pitched with it and it's gradually gotten worse every day."

Holmes was hopeful that not throwing Sunday and Monday would alleviate the pain, but the pain returned during Tuesday night's 4-3 loss. He gave up a game-winning two-run home run to Richie Sexson in the seventh inning.

"(Tuesday) was my worst day," Holmes said. "I came in and I didn't have anything. When I throw fastballs head-high and 50-foot sliders, there's something wrong."

Holmes went to manager Bobby Cox after Tuesday's game and told him he was hurting the team by continuing to pitch. The decision to place Holmes on the DL was made Wednesday afternoon.

"It's hard to have control when your arm aches," Cox said.

Holmes' loss places additional pressure on a bullpen that has struggled to a 4.15 ERA this season.

"It means we've got to go down to the bullpen and look at each other and regroup," reliever Ray King said. "We have all got to step it up so we don't have to start bringing in (John) Smoltz in the eighth inning. We've got to take the pressure off Smoltz. We've been riding his coattails for a while now."

Cunnane, 29, a 6-foot-1-inch, 205-pound right-hander, was signed by the Braves as a minor league free agent July 1 after the Chicago Cubs released him.

He appeared in 15 games for the Richmond Braves, pitching 21 innings and not allowing an earned run while giving up 11 hits. He started the season with the Cubs' Class AAA Iowa team, posting an 0-1 record and 2.20 ERA.

In parts of six seasons in the big leagues with the San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers and Cubs, Cunnane is 10-9 with a 5.36 ERA. He was allowed 280 hits in 241 2/3 innings while striking out 203 batters.

GOOD OLD FUNDAMENTALS: In a scene straight out of spring training, shortstop Rafael Furcal and second baseman Marcus Giles joined coach Glenn Hubbard for an early workout Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park.

While coach Fredi Gonzalez hit ground balls to each player, Hubbard helped with their footwork and throwing.

"There's nothing wrong with brushing up on things a little bit and making things a little sharper," Giles said. "I think we got our timing down on the double play a little better."

Hubbard said Furcal, whose 26 errors lead major league shortstops and are 13 shy of Rafael Ramirez's 1983 Atlanta record, is laying back on ground balls, then rushing his throws. Hubbard talked to him about aggressively charging grounders and making easy tosses to first base.

"He'll get better, I promise," Hubbard said.

Hubbard, whose work with Giles has improved his defense significantly, plans to work with Furcal and Giles once or twice a week to upgrade their defense.

"It's really a touch-and-feel thing, and then see how they react to ground balls," Hubbard said.

Reach Bill Zack at bzack30143@aol.com.