Originally created 03/09/06

Thomson works out delivery kinks



LAKELAND, Fla. - In the past week, Braves starter John Thomson pinpointed some of the mechanical reasons that his early-spring location was off.

And the results indicated he was correct.

Thomson threw three no-hit innings against Detroit on Wednesday in a game that finished in a 5-5 tie after 11 innings.

"I actually felt good," said Thomson, who missed much of last season with a finger injury. "Everything was pretty much where I wanted it to be."

Before his first spring start, Thomson figured out his left foot wasn't correctly aligned toward the plate and it was causing his pitches to miss their intended target.

New pitching coach Roger McDowell helped straighten him out, and Thomson said his location was much improved against the Tigers.

Thomson threw 41 pitches, 28 of which were strikes. Comparatively, he threw 42 pitches in his initial spring start - in two innings.

"Thomson changed speeds, hit locations," manager Bobby Cox said. "He looked like he did a couple of years ago."

TIGERS 5, BRAVES 5 (11 INNINGS): Atlanta snapped its three-game spring losing streak - with a tie.

Back-to-back homers by Jonathan Schuerholz and James Jurries in the ninth appeared as if they might be enough for give the Braves (2-4-1) a win, but Jose Ascanio allowed two runs in the bottom half of the inning to force extras.

Jurries, competing for the reserve outfielder/first baseman job, made an acrobatic diving stab at first in the bottom of the 11th to rob extra bases and preserve the tie.

EXTRA BASES: Veteran Brian Jordan started at first Wednesday for the first time against a major league opponent. He did this past Sunday, but that was against The Netherlands' World Baseball Classic team. ... Marcus Giles is expected to begin playing Friday in Winter Haven. Giles has been back at Disney training after missing 10 days to be with his hospitalized newborn daughter. ... After going 1-for-2 on Wednesday, reserve infielder Wilson Betemit is 9-for-20 in seven spring games.

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



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