Originally created 05/01/06

McBride back in Braves' bullpen



ATLANTA - After more than a month away because of a wrist injury, Braves left-handed reliever Macay McBride was able to rejoin his teammates Sunday.

When McBride started feeling tightness in his forearm and wrist midway through spring training, he had no idea the process of returning would be this arduous.

But after various throwing sessions, three rehab outings with Double-A Mississippi and three more with Triple-A Richmond, the left-hander who was widely effective last season is back.

McBride, a 23-year-old native of Screven County, said he understood the team's concern with his health. Manager Bobby Cox has said several times that the club's medical staff had never seen such an injury.

"I'm at their mercy," McBride said. "Whatever their decision is, it's usually for the best. You've got to trust their decisions, that they're the best for this club."

Despite McBride feeling little to no pain days after suffering the injury - he still doesn't know how he did it.

By the time he got to Richmond, McBride said he wanted to treat the outings like major league games. In doing so, he had more strikeouts than baserunners. He struck out three and gave up only a hit and a walk.

To make room for McBride, Atlanta optioned Tony Pena Jr. to Richmond. With the infield's recent rash of injuries, Pena stepped in and played well defensively.

FEAR FACTOR: Starter Kyle Davies said he was petrified after Mets shortstop Jose Reyes led off the game with a clean single up the middle. Davies had issues in his first two starts with first-inning jitters, but he'd solved the riddle since.

"I thought, 'Oh, no. Here we go again,'" Davies said.

No worries. Davies got a pop out from Kaz Matsui, a strikeout of Carlos Beltran, who later homered off him, and a fly out by Carlos Delgado to get out of the inning.

STEADY THE SHIP: After a 4-for-5 day that included a career-high five RBI, Jeff Francoeur said he had to temper his excitement.

Francoeur smashed three home runs in two games at Turner Field during the Braves' last homestand and then went back into a 4-for-35 funk on the ensuing road trip.

"My biggest thing is I want to get on more of an even keel and not be so erratic," said Francoeur, who has hits in four of his past five games.

GOING STREAKING: With a first- inning double, Edgar Renteria extended his hitting streak to begin the year to 15 games.

He's the first Brave to open the season with a 15-game streak since divisional play began in 1969, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

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