07/07/07 5:07 PM ET
Notes: Saltalamacchia back in lineup
Youngster at first base after getting hit with foul on Friday
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
"How you guys doing?" Saltalamacchia said while speaking to just one reporter, who was supposed to assume the Braves' 22-year-old catcher was seeing double.
With Saltalamacchia in good health, Braves manager Bobby Cox chose to once again use him in his regular platoon role at first base for Saturday's game against the Padres. All-Star catcher Brian McCann, who received encouraging news regarding his right knee on Friday, returned to the lineup for the first time in three games.
"I've got [Saltalamacchia] in there at first [base]," Cox said. "I don't think he's going to get hit in the head over there. But he might. He hasn't played there much."
While making his seventh start at first base, Saltalamacchia certainly was better protected than he would have been at the catcher's position. But at the same time, it didn't appear the seventh-inning foul tip that hit his shoulder and then bounced up to hit the left side of his face left much of a lingering effect.
After Friday's game, Saltalamacchia, who remained on the ground for a few minutes after getting hit, was complaining of dizziness. By the time Saturday arrived, he said he just had a slight headache.
"He's tough," Cox said. "He never goes down. [Former catcher and current Braves bullpen coach] Eddie [Perez] said he's as tough as anybody he's ever seen."
When Saltalamacchia exited Friday's game, McCann entered and played the final three innings. Earlier in the evening, he'd learned that an MRI on his right knee had shown no structural damage. With peace of mind, he entered Saturday's game confident that he wouldn't do any further damage to the ailment he's battled since Tuesday.
"I'm fine," said McCann, who is still planning to play in Tuesday night's All-Star Game, which will be held at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
If McCann hadn't been able to play on Saturday, Cox might have been forced to use either Matt Diaz or Yunel Escobar as his catcher. Diaz was recruited to Florida State University as a catcher and played the position in the instructional league with the Royals after the 2005 season.
As for Escobar, he said he occasionally played catcher during his youthful days in his native Cuba.
Braves love PETCO: With their 7-4 win on Friday night, the Braves continued to prove pitchers aren't the only ones who can have fun at PETCO Park. Entering Saturday, during their previous four games at this ballpark, they'd scored 43 runs, compiled a .344 batting average and collected 12 homers. Much of that damage was been supplied by the Jones boys (Chipper and Andruw), who combined to hit .486 (17-for-35) with six homers and 16 RBIs during that short span.
In the 11 games he's played in San Diego since this downtown ballpark opened in 2004, Chipper Jones has hit .425 (17-for-40) with six homers and 11 RBIs.
In his 13 career games at PETCO, Andruw Jones Jones has hit .360 (18-for-50) with nine homers (18-for-50) and 19 RBIs. He has more homers than any other visiting player at this park, and his RBI total ranks second to Todd Helton, who in 113 at-bats has 21 RBIs.
"It's just feeling comfortable," Andruw Jones said. "It's just one of those things. You just feel comfortable seeing the ball off the bat."
Bullpen reset: With Buddy Carlyle's eight-inning effort on Friday night, Cox was able to finally feel some relief in regard to his recently taxed bullpen. During the previous five games, his relief corps had totaled 25 innings. This is the primary reason Sunday's scheduled starter, Kyle Davies, spent Thursday and Friday's game in the bullpen on alert.
If he had needed to use Davies for one of those games, Cox says he likely would have pieced things together with a collection of pitchers on Sunday. Given that it's the final game before the All-Star break, he would have had the ability to do so with the comfort of knowing at least three full days of rest would follow.
Coming up: The Braves will conclude their three-game series against the Padres on Sunday night at 8:05 p.m. ET. They'll send Davies (5-7, 5.85 ERA) to the mound to oppose Greg Maddux (7-5, 3.96).
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.