Notes: Cox gives Andruw a break
Manager hopes day off will snap outfielder out of funk
ATLANTA -- While discussing his descent toward the Mendoza Line on Tuesday night, Andruw Jones indicated that taking a day off might prove to be beneficial. But until discussing matters with Braves manager Bobby Cox, he was thinking that day off would come after the completion of this weekend's Tigers series.
Knowing that there is a scheduled off-day on Thursday, Cox opted to rest Jones for Wednesday night's series finale against the Red Sox at Turner Field. Two straight days of rest may help the veteran outfielder to mentally cleanse the ill effects of the .202 batting average that he has compiled.
"I talked Andruw into taking a night off," Cox said during Wednesday's pregame radio show on 640 WGST. "Maybe he can sit on the bench and see how easy some of this can be."
An aching back prevented Cox from speaking to the media before Wednesday's game. Team spokesman Brad Hainje said the veteran skipper was in a lot of pain. But it wasn't determined whether this ailment was capable of providing the same kind of discomfort that Cox has felt while watching Jones swing throughout much of this season.
Since the beginning of May, Jones has hit .171 with six homers, a .240 on-base percentage and a .314 slugging percentage. Things have gotten worse in June, during which he's hit .132 with a .175 on-base percentage and .276 slugging percentage.
"I know Andruw knows himself and that he can do much better," said Cox, who believes this one day off will be most beneficial from a mental standpoint.
After watching Jones go hitless in four at-bats on Tuesday night, Cox approached his Gold Glove outfielder and told him of this plan to take advantage of the opportunity to gain consecutive days of rest.
"I think that he's thinking that taking a day off will give me a chance to heal my body and get my mind clear," Jones said.
When Jones was in the midst of a career-worst 0-for-28 slump at the beginning of his career-best 2005 season, Cox opted to give him a similar day off during an April 22 game against the Nationals.
At that point, Jones was hitting just .175 with one homer. From April 23 through the end of May, he batted .301 with 11 homers and a .642 slugging percentage. That successful run vaulted him toward the career-best 51 homers he registered that season.
Francoeur struggling: When last week's series began in the Metrodome, Jeff Francoeur said that he didn't feel like he was struggling offensively. But before Wednesday's series finale against the Red Sox, the Braves right fielder admitted that he isn't finding much comfort at the plate.
"I feel like I'm jumping at the ball," Francoeur said. "I'm just not seeing the ball right now and I'm trying to force things."
Over the course of his previous 28 games entering Wednesday, Francoeur had hit .218 with just one homer, 12 RBIs and 22 strikeouts. During this slump, he has seen his batting average fall from .310 to .275.
Cormier rehab update: As the Braves continue to look to strengthen the back end of the starting rotation, they are keeping an eye on Lance Cormier, who allowed three earned runs and three hits in three innings for Triple-A Richmond against Syracuse on Wednesday night. It was his first rehab start since going back on the disabled list on June 9.
Cormier missed the first two months of the season with a strained right triceps muscle. After making two starts with Atlanta earlier this month, it was determined that he needed more time to strengthen his right shoulder.
Devine's quick promotion: When the Braves traded Macay McBride to the Tigers for Wilfredo Ledezma on Wednesday afternoon, they found themselves lacking one reliever. Ledezma, a left-handed reliever, will join his new team when his former Tigers teammates come to Turner Field on Friday to begin a three-game series against the Braves.
Joey Devine was promoted from Double-A Mississippi to fill McBride's roster spot on Wednesday. There's a good chance that Devine will be sent back to Mississippi on Friday, when the Braves will need to open a roster spot for Ledezma.
Relief for Cox: Cox's back was bothering him to the point that he didn't even come to the mound in the fourth inning to remove Buddy Carlyle from Wednesday's game. He began experiencing the ailment this past weekend in Cleveland and hasn't experienced much relief.
Coming up: After Thursday's off-day, the Braves will return to Turner Field on Friday to begin a three-game series against the Tigers at 7:05 p.m. ET. They'll send John Smoltz (8-3, 2.84) to the mound to oppose Kenny Rogers, who will be making his first start of the season.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.