09/28/2003 7:06 PM ET
Notes: Javy in awe
PHILADELPHIA -- One day after setting the Major League record for homers in a season by a catcher, Javy Lopez was still awed by the fact that he indeed now had a mark that will prove just how impressive he has been this year.
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
"I'm looking at [the season] right now and I'm really amazed," Lopez said. "Not just the 43 home runs, but the RBIs and the average just really amaze me."
Lopez, who entering Sunday's regular-season's finale was hitting .327 with career highs in both homers (43) and RBIs (109), is not alone in being awed by the accomplishments. Just one year earlier, he batted .233 with 11 homers and 52 RBIs.
"It's unreal and fantastic," Braves manager Bobby Cox said of Lopez's record which had previously been set when Todd Hundley hit 41 homers as a catcher in 1996.
Lopez, who hit all but one of his homers while in the lineup as a catcher, stood at his locker on Sunday morning thinking about what this record meant to his native Puerto Rico.
"Knowing that I finally put my little island on top really means a lot to me," said Lopez, who hit his second and third homers of the year during an April 17 game against the Expos in Puerto Rico.
"That's where it started," Cox said reminiscing on the first of Lopez's eight two-homer games this season. "He's been on a tear ever since."
Throughout the year, Lopez has tried to downplay his accomplishments. But he admitted on Sunday that when he hit his 30th homer on July 31 that he began thinking setting the record was a definite possibility.
"I just looked and saw that I had two months to go and knew I had plenty of time to break it," Lopez said. "But I just looked at it and thought about it. I never really tried for it."
While Cox pointed to Puerto Rico as the starting point for the barrage, it actually began on May 10. Since that day, the All-Star catcher has played in 104 games, hit .351 (128-for-365) with 39 homers and driven in 100 runs.
Holmes done: Darren Holmes plans on traveling with the Braves throughout the postseason. But the veteran right-handed reliever will not be available for Cox to call out of the bullpen.
Holmes' bothersome right shoulder, which has forced him to go on the disabled list twice this year, began bothering him again in the fifth inning of Saturday's game. After consulting with team physician Dr. Joe Chandler on Sunday morning, the veteran hurler was forced to admit his season was done.
"I'm real sore today," Holmes said. "I'm going to let it settle down until after the first round [of the playoffs] and then assess what I'm going to do, but more than likely I'm going to have surgery."
Holmes had planned to have a minor surgery in which his AC joint would be shaved. But now he faces the possibility of having reconstructive surgery if the tear in his rotator cuff proves more serious than he thought earlier this month.
Despite the fact that he is 37 years old, Holmes contends that he'll once again return to baseball if he needs major surgery. He rebounded from a major back surgery in 2001 to post a 1.81 ERA for the Braves last year.
"I keep coming back from everything else," Holmes said. "This would be just something else I'd have to come back from."
This and that: Braves fans proved knowledgeable during a recent promotion on MLB.com and www.atlantabraves.com in which they were asked to choose Atlanta's first-round opponent in the Division Series. Sixty-seven percent chose the Cubs. ... Ray King, who left Saturday's game with tightness in his left shoulder and neck area, will be available when the Braves host the Cubs on Tuesday night. ... Before John Smoltz suffered his fourth blown save of the season on Saturday, the Braves had been 87-2 when leading after eight innings.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for
MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or