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Braves notebook: Miller cut after McCann gets OK from doctor

POSTED: August 5, 2008 5:00 a.m.

ATLANTA — Brian McCann was cleared for pinch-hit duty on Friday, opening the way for backup catcher Corky Miller to be designated for assignment by the Atlanta Braves.

The Braves waited until after batting practice to clear a roster spot for left-hander Chuck James to be recalled from Triple-A Richmond to start against Milwaukee on Friday night.

McCann took batting practice and caught in the bullpen on Friday before he was cleared by the team's medical staff. He said he will be available to pinch-hit until Monday, when he plans to start.

Rookie catcher Clint Sammons, who had three hits, including his first career homer, and drove in three runs in Thursday night's win over St. Louis, was in the starting lineup again on Friday night.

"He caught a nice game as well," said manager Bobby Cox of Sammons.

Sammons appears set to remain on the roster as the backup when McCann starts.

Miller was hitting only .093 (5 for 54) with one homer and three RBIs. He started 15 games.

McCann left Sunday's game with a mild concussion suffered in a collision with Philadelphia's Shane Victorino.

"I'm able to pinch-hit the next three nights and catch in an emergency," McCann said after batting practice. "On Monday I'll be back in there every day."

McCann, an All-Star, is hitting .302 and leads all major league catchers with 20 homers, 28 doubles and 63 RBIs.

Cox is eager to have McCann bolster the depleted middle of the Braves' lineup.

"He feels as good as he can feel," Cox said.

All-Star third baseman Chipper Jones has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a hamstring injury. First baseman and cleanup hitter Mark Teixeira was traded to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.

Hudson may test arm today

Tim Hudson, facing probable season-ending elbow surgery, plans to test the elbow one more time this weekend even though he acknowledges an MRI has shown significant damage.

Hudson didn't throw on Friday but said he won't wait long to try to throw on the side.

"It will probably be tomorrow, that's my guess," Hudson said.

At least two doctors have determined Hudson needs Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. The normal recovery period from the procedure could force Hudson, the team's ace, to miss the rest of the season and at least the first half of next season.

Tough matchup

Rookie right-hander Charlie Morton, who is 2-4 with a 7.26 ERA in eight starts, faces a tough matchup on Saturday against CC Sabathia, who is 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA in his first five starts with Milwaukee.

Morton said he's trying not to worry about matching pitches with Sabathia, who was acquired by the Brewers from Cleveland for four players on July 7.

"I'm more concerned with keeping the team in the game," Morton said. "Anytime you look on the mound and see a guy who has the reputation of being that good, it can be a little unsettling. I try not to think about it. All you can do is make it worse. Then you're not only facing the hitters but adding fuel to the fire."

Morton gave up eight runs in 3 2-3 innings in a 12-3 loss to St. Louis in his last start on Monday.

July jitters

The Braves were 10-15 in July with a .256 batting average and 5.27 ERA. The ERA was the team's highest for a month in two years, since a 5.31 mark in July, 2006.



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