Originally created 03/15/04

Quiet return for hot Drew



JUPITER, Fla. -- It turned out that J.D. Drew's return to his Cardinals roots was anticlimactic.

Other than an outstanding diving catch in the second inning, Drew's Sunday afternoon was uneventful. Two plate appearances against his former team, a strikeout and a walk, and he was gone, back to the clubhouse to shed his uniform, then off to the weight room for some lifting.

The Braves are being careful not to push Drew, whose five home runs and 14 RBI lead the majors. He has spent parts of the past five seasons on the disabled list. Two at-bats and manager Bobby Cox usually pulls him, a schedule designed to allow Drew to continue strengthening his balky right knee.

Said Drew: "It's nice to get a couple of at-bats and get comfortable. This is such a long season - if you beat yourself up in spring training, then come August and September, you'll be worn out."

Stand up straight: The flaw in John Thomson's delivery that resulted in some wayward pitches in his last start? Turns out it was a posture problem.

Occasionally Thomson bends at the waist and his command suffers. He failed to realize the problem in his last outing, but after a bullpen session with pitching coach Leo Mazzone, he went to the mound Sunday ready to make an adjustment.

Thomson struck out two against the Cardinals .

Pratt Idles: Andy Pratt didn't damage his chances of winning a spot on the staff in Saturday's 6-3 win over the Reds, but he didn't enhance them either. The left - hander, starting for a split squad of Braves , loaded the bases with walks in the first inning, but escaped when outfielder Dewayne Wise threw a runner out at the plate. Pratt pitched a scoreless second inning, then gave way to the bullpen.

"His stuff was there," acting manager Pat Corrales said. "If he gets it over, they're not going to hit it."