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Braves notes: Thorman relegated to bench role

ATLANTA - The Braves' signing of Julio Franco will likely mean even less playing time for slumping first baseman Scott Thorman.

Atlanta made Thorman its everyday first baseman in May, then put him in a platoon with rookie Jarrod Saltalamacchia in June. Now, with Thorman hitting just .212 entering Friday, the Braves are relying primarily on Saltalamacchia and Franco at first.

Saltalamacchia started at first against a right-handed pitcher for the first time Tuesday, a sign of his growing role. Thorman has not started since July 13. And Franco started against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday for the second night in a row.

"I think it's important for Julio to get some at-bats right away," manager Bobby Cox said Friday. "I'm trying to get him some at-bats against lefties and righties, just to get him going."

Cox said he will use Thorman off the bench while Thorman works on a few things offensively. When asked what those things were, Thorman deadpanned, "Hitting the ball.

"It's nothing you can read in a book," he said. "It's taking your at-bats and trying to get the most out of them. Baseball is a game of failure, and you have to have a short-term memory."

That would be particularly helpful this month for Thorman, 25, now in his second year. He entered Friday's game hitting .050 in July

(1-for-20) and had struck out in each of his last six at-bats. Since the end of April, he is hitting just .190.

The Braves are limited in what they can do with Thorman because he is out of options, meaning another team could pick him up off waivers if the Braves tried to send him down to Class AAA Richmond.

So with starting and the minors both out of the question for now, Thorman is left with a pinch-hitting role.

And that, he said, has been an adjustment in itself.

"Pinch-hitting is totally different," he said. "There's not as much room for error. You have to make adjustments faster, and usually it's a big situation. But at the same time, every at-bat is a chance to do something."

Dad from down under

Reliever Peter Moylan was still beaming Friday afternoon after his wife, Tracey, gave birth to their second daughter in Australia. Matisse Moylan was born about 7 a.m. Eastern Time Friday near the family's home in Les Murdie, West Australia.

"Look at the little hands next to her head," Moylan said, proudly holding up a photo on his cell phone. "She's so tiny."

Moylan didn't sleep much the night before, with his wife in labor since Thursday afternoon. He said he kept his cell phone with him in the bullpen during Thursday's game, then had someone bring it to him in the dugout after he pitched one inning against the St. Louis Cardinals. But it wasn't until after sunrise Friday that the call finally came.

The right-hander will not see his newborn daughter until his wife and first daughter, Montana, visit Atlanta during the first week of September.

"We knew it was going to be tough," Moylan said. "I'm just glad everyone made it through all right and she's healthy."

Andruw heating up

Andruw Jones is leading the majors in something - and it isn't strikeouts.

The center fielder entered Friday's game leading the majors in runs (18) and tied for the major-league lead in home runs (seven) and RBIs (19) in the month of July.

Chipper's profile premieres today on SportSouth

SportSouth debuts its special, "In My Own Words: Chipper Jones," today at 10:30 p.m. The TV show also re-airs Monday at 9 p.m., Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. and Thursday at 7 p.m.

The Atlanta Braves slugger is chronicled from his younger days to the present and is joined by SportSouth analyst Joe Simpson on the

production.

Some of the topics touched on include former teammate Gary Sheffield, manager Bobby Cox, Terry Pendleton, learning mental toughness from his mother and falling short of the National League East title in 2006.

On deck

The Braves will continue their four-game series with the Cardinals today at 7:05 p.m. at Turner Field. Buddy Carlyle (4-2, 4.00 ERA) will start for Atlanta and will face St. Louis right-hander Braden Looper (7-7, 4.60 ERA).