10/01/2003 7:08 PM ET
Notes: Giles available to play
ATLANTA -- When Braves manager Bobby Cox left Turner Field after Tuesday night's loss to the Cubs, he thought there was a chance he might have to play the remainder of the Division Series without the services of Marcus Giles.
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
But when Giles arrived at the stadium on Wednesday afternoon, his bruised left quadriceps muscle had improved dramatically and the Braves second baseman told Cox he might be available to play in Game 2.
"He's bouncing around real good right now in the clubhouse," Cox said Wednesday afternoon. "He's going to take batting practice and field some balls. If he feels good enough, he will be in the lineup. He wasn't in the original one when I got here, but [that's] subject to change."
But when Wednesday's game began, Mark DeRosa was the Braves' starting second baseman and Giles was available only in a pinch-hit role.
That proved to be enough for the Braves' All-Star second baseman, who contributed to Wednesday's 5-3 win over the Cubs with a pinch-hit single in the sixth inning that gave his team their first lead of the evening.
"The name of the game is to pick each other up," Cox said. "When injuries hit, we have been able to pick each other up. We have a great backup in DeRosa. He's a great player in my eyes. He's a hit guy, too. He can hit the ball, and he can also field it. So, we'll be fine."
Cox was more than fine with DeRosa, whose two-run eighth-inning double provided the game-winning run.
Giles suffered the injury while attempting to beat out a sixth-inning grounder to third base in Game 1. As he crossed first base, Eric Karros' elbow hit his leg and forced him to the ground.
At first it appeared Giles might have re-injured the right ankle that he severely sprained last year and was still bothered by it during parts of this year. But according to Braves trainer Jeff Porter, the ankle was not affected during the ensuing fall over the first-base bag.
Giles received treatment from Porter and his staff throughout Wednesday afternoon. The club's veteran trainer said that Giles' injury was similar to the one that kept former Braves shortstop Jeff Blauser out of the 1995 World Series, but not nearly as serious.
"You just never know how these things are going to react," Porter said. "But as bad as Marcus was when he left here last night, he was that much better today."
Giles will work out at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon and thinks there is a strong chance he might play on Friday night.
Lineup change: Earlier this season, Cox reacted to Javy Lopez's offensive production by placing the All-Star catcher behind the plate when Greg Maddux was pitching.
On Wednesday night, Cox moved Lopez up to the fifth spot of the lineup, in between Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones, who have regularly manned the fourth and fifth spots in the lineup throughout this year.
"He's one of the hottest hitters in baseball," Cox said of Lopez, who hit .328 with 43 homers and 109 RBIs this year. "Just playing hunch. That's all."
But it's certainly a hunch that was well received by Lopez's teammates, who have enjoyed watching him construct one of the finest offensive seasons by a catcher.
"He's been our guy who's carried us for the most part of the year," Sheffield said. "And any time you have a power hitter right behind Andruw and Chipper, it gives them better pitches. He's been coming through with men in scoring position and that's what we really need in this series."
This and that: Braves general manger John Schuerholz celebrated his 63rd birthday on Wednesday. .... The Braves flew to Chicago after Wednesday's game and hold a workout at Wrigley Field at 3 p.m. CT on Thursday. ... Since the beginning of the 1999 World Series, the Braves have won just seven of their past 22 postseason games. They have been outscored 104-81 in those contests. ... The three hits the Braves managed on Tuesday night marked their lowest output since being limited to the same amount in Game 3 of the 2000 Division Series against the Cardinals. ... Throughout the entire regular season, the Braves had been limited to three hits or less just three times.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or