09/25/2002 7:20 pm ET
MLBeat: Helms hoping to help
By Travis Hill / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- There is no time like the present for Atlanta's Wes Helms. The first baseman, who has been on a rehabilitation assignment in Florida and was expected to join the Braves for Thursday's season series finale against the Phillies, instead hopped a plane for Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon.
The Braves expect him to be in uniform by the second inning of Wednesday night's contest.
Helms has been out of the Atlanta lineup since Aug. 10 with a sprained right thumb. The Braves activated him from the 15-day disabled list on Sept. 10, and he has been working with Atlanta's instructional team in Orlando this week.
On Tuesday, Helms went 2-for-5 with a single, a double and a pair of RBIs. On Wednesday, Helms bashed a home run in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader. When it looked like the second game of the twin bill was going to be rained out, Helms called Atlanta first base coach Glenn Hubbard and told him he was hopping the next flight to Philly.
It is unclear whether or not Atlanta manager Bobby Cox is going to include Helms on the postseason roster. Helms, who can also play third base in a pinch, looks like he is going to do everything in his power to make a strong case for himself.
Scratched: Cox had originally penciled Julio Franco in Wednesday's lineup at first base and in the No. 2 hole in the batting order, but a sore left finger has forced the ageless wonder out of the game.
Matt Franco, who played first base in Tuesday night's 5-3 loss to the Phillies, will replace him at first and will also bat in the same spot in the order.
Franco went 1-for-5 on Tuesday, but he made a few great defensive plays, including throwing Philadelphia's Pat Burrell out at home in the third inning.
Show me something: Marcus Giles is getting the start at second base in Wednesday night's tilt, as Cox continues to monitor the young infielder.
In all likelihood, Cox will go with the platoon of Mark DeRosa and Keith Lockhart as his starters at second in the playoffs, but that doesn't mean Giles will not see the field.
Cox wants to get a look at Giles, and if he shows that he has a hot bat, he could definitely get some postseason at-bats.
Avid Glavine: Although Tom Glavine will not start any more games during the regular season, that does not mean he will not take the mound.
Glavine, who had a difficult outing on Tuesday, taking the loss after going 5 2/3 innings and giving up five runs and a season-high six walks, intends to have one more tune-up before the playoffs start next Wednesday.
"I plan to pitch one more time before the playoffs," Glavine said after Tuesday's loss.
According to Cox, Glavine won't start in Saturday's game in New York against the Mets, but he will make a two-inning relief appearance.
No Sheff, no problem: Gary Sheffield is not in Wednesday night's starting lineup, but according to Cox and the Atlanta training staff, there is no cause for concern.
Sheffield appeared to hurt himself in the third inning of Tuesday night's game, when he tried to make a sliding catch in shallow right field. He came up grimacing in pain and holding his right arm, but the only injury he suffered was a bloody turf burn from the artificial turf in Veterans Stadium.
Sheffield is merely taking Wednesday night off to rest and will not miss any time because of the burn.
Fantasy Edge: "Old Reliable" is closing in on history. It doesn't matter whether he's playing third base or outfield; Chipper Jones is always going to knock in runs. He is four RBIs shy of 100 for the season, and if he gets to that plateau, it will be the seventh consecutive campaign he has registered triple-digit RBIs. The National League record for consecutive 100-RBI seasons, shared by Mel Ott and Willie Mays, is eight. Last week, Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa also recorded his seventh straight 100-RBI year.
Travis Hill is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.