Originally created 08/04/06

Report says Andruw placed on waivers



PITTSBURGH - A report Thursday in the Boston Eagle-Tribune said Atlanta Braves center fielder Andruw Jones had been placed on waivers.

When asked Thursday afternoon to confirm, Braves general manager John Schuerholz declined to comment based on the league's confidentiality rule regarding waivers.

If the report is true, other teams would have 47 hours to claim Jones, who has 25 home runs and 93 RBI this season. If Jones is claimed, teams would have 48 hours to exclusively negotiate a trade with the Braves. Boston and the Los Angeles Angels are known to be interested, the report said.

The Braves and the Red Sox had a brief conversation Sunday night about a potential trade that would have sent Jones to Boston before Monday's non-waiver trade deadline. In exchange for Jones, the Braves asked for center fielder Coco Crisp, right-handed reliever Craig Hansen and left-handed starter Jon Lester, a former Augusta GreenJacket. But the Red Sox balked at the deal because of their fondness for the 22-year-old Lester.

LAROCHE FEELING BETTER: The Atlanta Braves could use Adam LaRoche's hot bat for their big series this weekend in Cincinnati. And they'll likely have it.

The first baseman said the right hamstring he mildly strained during Wednesday night's game felt much better Thursday morning.

"Really, if I had to, I could play first today," LaRoche said before Thursday's 3-2 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park. "I think I should be able to play (Friday) if it makes as much progress as it did from yesterday to today."

LaRoche hit nine home runs - including three multihomer performances - in the 17 games since the All-Star break. He's also hit 17 of his 22 homers and driven in 46 of his 61 RBI on the road.

LaRoche hurt himself Wednesday in the fifth inning sliding into second base to leg out a double. He scored later in the inning.

FRENCHY'S ROUGH DAY: Prior to Thursday's game, right fielder Jeff Francoeur said it was tough to get going for the 12:35 p.m. start. And it showed.

Francoeur went 0-for-4, stranding a runner at third in the first and the potential tying run at second in the eighth.

On the day, the aggressive 22-year-old saw five pitches.

He fouled out to first in the first, did the same to lead off the fourth, grounded the first pitch he saw to short in the sixth and popped out to short on the first pitch in the eighth.

"I had a crappy game today," said Francoeur, who had one hit in the series. "I'm thinking way too much at the plate right now. It affected me. It just wasn't a good game."

Manager Bobby Cox said he didn't have a problem with Francoeur wailing away, since the majority of his production in the No. 6 hole comes because of his free-swinging nature.

"You guys wouldn't be saying that if he had three line-drive singles," Cox said.

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