Originally created 05/12/05

Atlanta calls up pen help



DENVER - The Braves' newly called-up reliever, left-hander Frank Brooks, said he's glad to be up with the big-league club.

"I feel great," he said. "How would you feel if you just got called up by the Braves?"

But, with the stacked starting staff, he's not exactly sure what his role will be.

"I know they barely need a bullpen because the starters are pretty good. Every one of them throws well," Brooks said. "I still don't even know why I'm here."

Brooks was called up from Class AAA Richmond late Tuesday when Atlanta decided to put reliever Kevin Gryboski on the 15-day disabled list because of a lingering viral infection.

Gryboski's DL stay is retroactive to May 7, the day after he last pitched.

In his stead, the Braves get a second lefty in the bullpen to join John Foster, who was called up from Richmond on April 15.

MORE AILMENTS: Gryboski's illness is the only ailment that forced a DL move, but he's not the only Brave hurting.

First baseman Adam LaRoche came out of Tuesday's game after his already-sore hamstring tightened up significantly.

LaRoche said his leg started feeling tight almost a week ago. It's a flare-up of the same injury that nagged him for some of last season.

What felt like a strain previously, ached more like a pull Tuesday, LaRoche said.

"I shouldn't have even been playing on it."

Julio Franco started for the team's leader in RBI - he has 22 - on Wednesday. After an off day today, LaRoche is hopeful to return Friday when the team starts a three-game series in Los Angeles.

Starter John Thomson got a no decision Tuesday, battling a sore back through his 4w innings. He said he started noticing the stiffening after his double in the first inning that forced him to stay on second base, without a jacket, for 15 or 20 minutes.

He said, after that, he couldn't sit down in between innings.

On Wednesday, Brian Jordan missed his second consecutive game in right field with a sore side. Jordan made a sprawling slide into home plate in Monday's game.

LONGER-HANS: Ryan Langerhans has started for Jordan each of the past two days and proved to be a more-that-suitable replacement.

In Tuesday's 9-5 victory, he made two save-the-day kind of diving catches. Wednesday, he hit two home runs when runs were at a premium for the Braves.

After scoring three in the ninth - Langerhans' homer off the foul pole being the first - Atlanta couldn't hold onto the lead in a 6-5 loss.

"I feel good at the plate and I'm doing a better job of getting good pitches to hit," he said. "Anytime you don't win, though, it's tough to enjoy anything you do personally."

Reach Travis Haney at travis.haney@morris.com.