Notes: Skipper likes pitchers' bats
Cox feels his pitching staff is quite capable in the batter's box
MIAMI -- Bobby Cox was conducting an informal interview session in the Braves dugout with the media on Tuesday when the manager noticed pitcher Kyle Davies getting ready to take batting practice.
"I feel good when I see him up there hitting," Cox mused.
As it turns out, Cox likes a number of his pitchers as guys capable of keeping an inning going. In fact, Cox believes the Braves' pitchers may well rival the Cardinals' staff as the best-hitting pitchers in the National League.
Of note most recently, John Thomson drove in a run with a single on Tuesday night against the Marlins, and the Braves went on to score three more times in the inning. Tim Hudson's hitting ability is well-established, since he became the Southeastern Conference's Most Valuable Player one year while at Auburn because of his ability to hit as well as pitch.
Cox said Jorge Sosa has "tremendous power." The switch-hitter has a home run this season hitting right-handed. He likes the fact that Davies is capable of making decent contact, despite the fact he's hitless thus far. And, of course, he has seen John Smoltz deliver some key hits over the years.
Cox didn't mention Horatio Ramirez, who is on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. He is-2 for-2 this season.
"It is a little-recognized way to help your club win," Cox said. "When you're contending for a championship, it can make a difference. It's just another weapon for you."
Thomson, who gained his first victory of the season on Tuesday night, said he likes to hit because he wants to stay in the game and not be pulled for a pinch-hitter. He is the RBI leader among the pitchers with four, and he's hitting .267 in 15 at-bats.
"If I hit, it can keep me in the game longer," Thomson said. "A lot of people are surprised when a pitcher gets a hit, but we have some guys who can hit, and so do some other teams."
Cox mentions Jason Marquis, now with the Cardinals, as one of the best-hitting pitchers he's seen, along with injured Braves southpaw Mike Hampton and ex-Brave Greg Maddux. Around the league, the Nationals' Livan Hernandez and the Rockies' Jason Jennings are known to have good bats.
Even ex-Brave Tom Glavine, now with the Mets, commands some respect. Thomson, however, is still annoyed that he walked Glavine twice in a recent game.
"I sometimes tend to get a little lax when the pitcher's up," he said. "Glavine can hit pretty good, but I should have made him prove it. Sometimes it's hard to pitch to pitchers because you know you should get them out."
Jones in long-ball drought: Andruw Jones, who had eight home runs in his first 16 games this season, now has had just one since April 19 against the Mets. That's a span of 16 games.
Jones doesn't seem worried. After all, he had just three home runs in April last season en route to 51 for the year.
"In the last five games, I've gotten a bunch of pitches to hit," he said. "In every at-bat, I've had pitches to hit. I just haven't come through. You either foul 'em off or miss 'em. These are the things you go through."
Jones hasn't been helped by some recent travails. He missed several weekend games with a back injury, then returned Tuesday against the Marlins. He said he slept awkwardly on his left shoulder on Monday night and showed up Tuesday feeling sore.
He also said the humidity here has been draining, especially when he had to race to the warning track in center field on Wednesday to chase down numerous fly balls.
"They should have a dome here, just like in Tampa Bay," he said. "I'm used to the heat, but not the humidity. It takes a lot out of your body."
Jones, 9-for-37 in his last 10 games, said his plan is to play every game the rest of the way.
"I get paid for it," he said. "Why not go out and play? If your mind says, 'Yes,' you can try to make your body go along with it."
Sosa OK with Saturday: Right-hander Jorge Sosa said it doesn't concern him that John Smoltz opted to pitch Friday, dropping Sosa back to Saturday. Sosa's approach is more that he's just delighted to be part of the Braves' starting rotation.
"I'll be ready to pitch, whenever it is," Sosa said through an interpreter.
Sosa, who hasn't started a game since May 2, though he went 1 2/3 innings of relief three days later against the Mets, isn't off to the greatest of starts. He is 0-5 with a 5.88 ERA. Sosa said his main concern has been leaving his pitches too high in the strike zone.
"He's hung a couple of breaking balls, but I think overall he's thrown good," Cox said.
Sosa said that the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.
"It's not so much how you start," he said. "It's how you finish. Anybody can start slow. I've had a few things happen, but I'm ready to help this team."
Coming up: The Braves open a three-game set against the Nationals on Friday with Smoltz (2-2, 3.72 ERA) on the mound. Ramon Ortiz, winless with a 5.88 ERA, goes for the Nationals. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. ET.
Charlie Nobles is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.