Postponement shakes up series

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ATLANTA --- For a change, Bobby Cox welcomed the rain -- and the rainout.

Rain and the threat of severe storms caused Friday night's opening game of the Atlanta Braves-New York Mets series to be postponed.

It was re-scheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader in Atlanta on May 20. The first game will be at 1:05 p.m., and the second will follow at 7:10.

By May 20, Cox hopes his pitching staff will be better rested than it would have been if Friday night's game had been played. The Braves used seven pitchers in Thursday night's 4-3, 10-inning loss to Pittsburgh, after scheduled starter Mike Hampton was held out with a chest injury.

"It gives us a day off for the relievers, which is really good for them," Cox said Friday.

With the postponement, the Mets will skip right-hander Mike Pelphrey, who had been scheduled to start today.

Friday's scheduled starters, the Braves' Tim Hudson and the Mets' John Maine, will start today. Atlanta's Tom Glavine will face Johan Santana on Sunday in Glavine's first game against New York, where he played the past five years.

John Smoltz, who had been scheduled to face Santana, now is set to make his first start of the season on Monday at Colorado.

"I'm on the DL for two more weeks!" Smoltz joked after learning his high-profile matchup with Santana had been changed.

Smoltz, who opened the season on the disabled list with tightness in the back of his right shoulder, said he didn't mind missing the Mets series.

"Pitching is pitching," Smoltz said. "It'll be the same feeling either way."

The Braves went through 23 pitchers in the Pittsburgh series, a club record for three games.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Braves' previous high was 21 pitchers in three games in 2003 and 2004, each time after rosters were expanded in September.

"Definitely it comes at a good time for us as a team," Hudson said.

"This early in the season, it's kind of odd to have some guys needing days off, but our bullpen's been taxed a little bit the last couple days. It's good timing."

The rainout was only the 11th in Turner Field's 12-year history, but it came as no surprise. Rain canceled batting practice for both teams, and the forecast called for more rain through the night.


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