08/15/2002 7:56 pm ET
MLBeat: Trainer Pursley honored
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Longtime trainer Dave Pursley, who will retire at the end of this season after 52 years of service to the franchise, was recognized with an on-field tribute before Thursday's game. He has spent 44 of those years at the Major League level.
"He's definitely going to be missed," Tom Glavine said of Pursley. "He's one of those guys behind the scenes that probably doesn't get enough credit for the success this team has had."
Glavine indicated that Pursley has had a lot to do with the Braves' pitching staff being able to stay healthy and avoid many major injuries for such a long time.
"They say if you stay around the game long enough, you're going to see everything," Glavine said. "I think Dave has seen everything and knows how to deal with different situations. You can't put a price tag on that."
In appreciation, the entire Braves team and coaching staff presented Pursley with a Lexus LS 450 during the pregame ceremonies. The longtime employee also received various gifts that included two round-trip tickets on Delta to anywhere in the world.
Another highlight came when Braves general manager John Schuerholz announced that the training room inside Turner Field will now be called "Pursley's Place."
Giant manager Dusty Baker, who played with the Braves from 1968-75, stood along the first-base line with the entire Braves team during the ceremony, which was emceed by Braves Hall-of-Famer Ernie Johnson.
Baker presented Pursley with autographed jerseys from Orlando Cepeda, Willie Mays and Willie McCovey.
From the Braves, Pursley received autographed jerseys from Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Hank Aaron, Phil Niekro, Lew Burdette, Warren Spahn and Bobby Cox.
Former Braves Pete Smith, Mark Lemke, Otis Nixon and Niekro were all present for the festivities.
Giles back at second: Marcus Giles found his name in the starting lineup again Thursday for the first time since suffering a severely sprained right ankle May 28.
The team's Opening Day starting second baseman, who was optioned to Triple-A Richmond after completing his rehab assignment, was back at his familiar middle-infield position.
"It's nice," Giles said. "But you just have to go out and play the game the same way you always have."
Giles, who became the team's starting second baseman in late July last year, was hitting .237 with five homers and 12 RBIs before being disabled with the ankle injury, suffered while attempting to avoid a tag at first base.
Giles, who played both second base and third base in Richmond, was recalled Sunday when Wes Helms was placed on the disabled list with a sprained right thumb.
"I probably feel more comfortable at second base," Giles said. "But third base is coming. I'm getting used to it."
Contagious injury: With Mike Remlinger already on the disabled list with a left groin strain, the Braves aren't going to take any chances with Chris Hammond, who felt a slight strain in his right groin while throwing a side session Wednesday.
"Hopefully with a little bit of treatment and rest, it won't be a big deal," Hammond said.
This is the first time the 36-year-old Hammond, who has a 1.19 ERA after 60 1/3 innings, has ever had any type of groin discomfort in his career.
Both Hammond and Braves manager Cox are holding out hope that he'll be available Friday.
Blanco sits again: Henry Blanco missed his third straight start Thursday with a muscle strain in his left side.
"I can go into the game to catch," Blanco said. "But I'd be concerned with hitting."
In Blanco's absence, Steve Torrealba, who was promoted when Javy Lopez was disabled, has served as the team's starting catcher. The 24-year-old native of Valenzuela recorded his first Major League hit Wednesday night.
Lopez says his right shoulder feels good and he should be ready when he is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday.
"He says he's ready," Cox said of Lopez. "He's looked great."
Fantasy Edge: Rafael Furcal has hit .400 (18 for 45) with two homers, four doubles, eight runs, five RBIs and two stolen bases in his previous nine games entering Thursday night.
Mark Bowman covers the Braves for MLB.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.