CINCINNATI - It took 19 days for Edgar Renteria to recover from a sprained right ankle. And it took only one pitch Wednesday for the shortstop to re-injure it.
The Braves activated Renteria from the disabled list shortly before their game against the Cincinnati Reds, but had to pull him during his first at-bat. He saw one pitch from pitcher Bronson Arroyo and hopped out of the batter's box wincing in pain.
The immediate word from the team was that Renteria "tweaked" the ankle and will be reevaluated today.
The quick exit was a disheartening blow for Renteria, who was brimming with excitement about returning to the field after just the third DL stint of his career. It was also surprising, given that Renteria didn't even swing at the pitch.
He had taken batting practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, and said he felt only minimal discomfort during running and agility drills this week.
In the first inning Wednesday, Renteria stepped into the box and took ball one from Arroyo. He turned away from the pitch slightly, shifting his weight onto his right foot, and immediately appeared to be in pain.
Manager Bobby Cox and trainer Jeff Porter went out to have a look.
And moments later, Renteria hobbled off the field. He was replaced by Yunel Escobar, who finished the at-bat and played shortstop.
The Braves had optioned infielder Martin Prado to Class AAA Richmond only hours earlier to make room for Renteria. But Prado might not be going anywhere.
Keppinger relishing opportunity
It was one of those just-between-Georgia-boys moments. Jeff Francoeur gunned down Cincinnati shortstop Jeff Keppinger at home plate in the sixth inning Tuesday. And after grounding out in the seventh, Francoeur wanted to rub it in a bit.
"I gave him a little wink when I ran past him," the Braves right fielder said.
Keppinger can laugh off a little ribbing right now. The former Georgia standout, who, like Francoeur, attended Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga., is having his best major-league season with the Reds.
He extended his hitting streak to 11 games on Wednesday at Great American Ballpark, and was hitting .377 in 33 games through Tuesday.
"He's a tough out, I'll tell you," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "It's nothing but balls in play. He'll bloop you, line drive you, anything to keep it in play."
Keppinger, 27, was called up on July 7 and has been filling in for shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who has been on and off the bereavement list this year. And he's gotten steadily better. In August, entering Wednesday's game, Keppinger was hitting .446 (25-for-56). He had also made only one error at shortstop, which he hadn't played since his days as a Bulldog.
"They told me enough over the years, 'Oh, you can't play short up there. You don't have enough range. You don't have a strong enough arm,'" Keppinger said. "So you start to doubt yourself a little bit when you start hearing it that many times. I'm glad to be proving them wrong."
Keppinger had brief stints with the New York Mets in 2004 and with the Kansas City Royals in 2006, but never hit higher than .284.
He said this year, it's just been a matter of getting regular playing time, instead of trying to break in as a pinch hitter.
"I got called up those two years and just sat on the bench," he said. "But once I started playing every day I got it going."
The Braves will wrap up their four-game series in Cincinnati at 7:10 p.m. today at Great American Ballpark. Buddy Carlyle (7-5, 4.66 ERA) will start for Atlanta and will face Reds right-hander Elizardo Ramirez (0-1, 3.86 ERA).