Notes: Davies will get his shot in KC
Braves think righty could turn into potential ace for Royals
ATLANTA -- When Kyle Davies was demoted to Atlanta's bullpen, then to Triple-A Richmond on July 19, it was assumed that he would get another chance to prove himself as a member of a Major League rotation this season.
The likelihood of that occurrence was heightened Tuesday, when the Braves shipped Davies to the Royals in exchange for reliever Octavio Dotel.
Davies, reunited with former Atlanta assistant general manager Dayton Moore, should step into Kansas City's rotation immediately and be another piece of the rebuilding puzzle for Moore, who took his post with the Royals in the middle of last season.
The Braves think Davies could develop into the potential ace they envisioned when he was promoted to Atlanta as a 21-year-old in 2005, but they saw him as a worthy sacrifice in trying to build a World Series winner in 2007.
"He'll go over there and be back in the big leagues, probably, and be back in the rotation," Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson said. "I'm happy for him. I wish he was still with us -- I wish he was up here pitching well for us, then he would still be here."
The Braves parted with one of their homegrown players, one of the "Baby Braves" that led the team to a playoff appearance two seasons ago, and a Decatur, Ga., native, who is close with fellow 2005 rookies Jeff Francoeur and Brian McCann.
Davies was deemed expendable, however, because of struggles on the mound that were a result of his inability to clear a mental obstacle and proved that he was an unlikely contributor for a postseason team at this stage of his career.
Moving to Kansas City will ease the pressure and high expectations. The Royals are in last place in the American League Central but are about to wrap up their second consecutive winning month. Davies will join a starting pitching nucleus that includes Gil Meche and Brian Bannister.
"He's one of my really good friends, and it stinks [that he was traded]," McCann said. "But at the same time, he's moving on and he's going to help the Kansas City Royals become a lot better."
Davies was 10-13 in 28 starts during his first two seasons and earned a spot in the rotation this season despite an 8.38 ERA in 2006. This season, he was 4-8 with the Braves but had lost five of his last six decisions.
The Braves exhausted their ability to wait for Davies to reach his potential this season and demoted him after he was unable to record an out in his start on July 16 against Cincinnati.
Now Davies will receive the proverbial "fresh start" and "change of scenery." But those terms have significance for Davies, who will be eased from the strain of pitching for his hometown team.
"Hopefully it will be a good situation," Francoeur said. "Hopefully it will get him back on track. That's what I want to see for him, obviously being one of his good buddies. I wanted to see him here in Atlanta for a long time, but I also want him to be able to succeed and be in the big leagues, and this is a good opportunity for him."
Miller time: Corky Miller was in Toledo with his Richmond Braves teammates when he found out he was being promoted to Atlanta to become the backup catcher. Miller replaces Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was dealt to Texas in the Mark Teixeira trade.
Miller has been up and down between the Minor and Major Leagues since 2001, when he made his debut with the Cincinnati Reds. He has spent time in the Majors in every season since, but has never appeared in more than 39 games.
Miller has played with Cincinnati, Minnesota and Boston and spent time last season with Seattle's Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma.
"Just having a chance to contribute is hopefully what I'm here for," Miller said.
The more likely choice to replace Saltalamacchia was Brayan Pena, who started the season with the Braves but was sent to Richmond to make way for Saltalamacchia in early May.
But Pena has also been playing first base and left field for Richmond, so the Braves called up Miller, 31, while waiting to see where the 25-year-old Pena best fits. The two have been splitting time at catcher with Richmond, with Miller earning the majority of the action.
"With Salty being gone, obviously they needed a backup catcher and it was either me or Pena," Miller said. "They made a decision on that. There was nothing I could do about it -- I wasn't worried about it or anxious about it."
Defining roles: The additions of Teixeira, Dotel and Ron Mahay give Atlanta's lineup and bullpen more versatility.
It's likely Teixeira will bat cleanup, behind fellow switch-hitter Chipper Jones, and Andruw Jones would be moved to No. 5. Moving to the bottom third of the order will be Francoeur, the team's RBI leader with 68, and Kelly Johnson, who has five multi-hit games this month.
The bullpen will now feature several pitchers who can fill more than one late-inning role. Dotel was the closer in Kansas City but will likely pitch in the seventh and eighth innings for the Braves. Mahay gives Atlanta the lefty specialist in lost when it traded Macay McBride to Detroit on June 20. Rafael Soriano and Tyler Yates are valuable bridges to closer Bob Wickman.
"They're interchangeable," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "It's kind of like when we started out, with [Mike] Gonzalez and Soriano and Wickman. Now [with Dotel] we're back to three."
Coming up: Teixeira, Mahay and Dotel will be in uniform for the first time for the Braves when they take on Houston in the second game of a three-game series at Turner Field on Wednesday night at 7:35 p.m. ET. Buddy Carlyle (5-3, 4.25 ERA) pitches for the Braves against Wandy Rodriguez (7-9, 4.28).
Jeff Lutz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.