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Thursday, April 10
Updated: April 11, 3:22 PM ET
Right-hander answers Braves' call for help

Associated Press

Thurs., April 10
The Braves' plan is to have Shane Reynolds fly to meet the club in Florida. Then he'll meet Friday with Bobby Cox and Leo Mazzone, throw for them and then figure out what happens next. But the Braves have never had more trouble piecing together an April rotation than they're having right now, with Paul Byrd and Mike Hampton on the DL. So ideally, they'd like to plug Reynolds into the rotation immediately.

A scout who attended Reynolds' workout Tuesday in Houston thinks that's far from out of the question.

"He looked healthy to me," the scout said. "He might have been a tick less (on his fastball) than he used to show in his good times. But he's plenty good enough. He never did throw all that hard. He needs to throw his splitter, and it looks fine."

Reynolds is represented by Tommy Tanzer, who is also John Burkett's agent. And it's the hope of both sides that the Braves can do for Reynolds what they did for Burkett -- and vice-versa.

"That's a pitching university down there," Tanzer said. "And that's how Shane sees it. Now he's going to go to school."

Reynolds actually turned down more guaranteed money from two teams than he got from the Braves. (Those clubs are thought to be the Mets and Rangers.) There are no escalator clauses in the $100,000 buyout for next year, as some clubs were willing to offer. And the Braves will have 72 hours following the season to let Reynolds know if they're picking up the $3-million option for 2004.

HOUSTON -- Free-agent pitcher Shane Reynolds, cut by the Houston Astros just before the start of the season, has signed with the Atlanta Braves.

Reynolds, 35, agreed to a one-year deal for $300,000 -- the major league minimum -- and a mutual option for $3 million, with a $100,000 buyout in 2004.

"It was kind of a shock when they released him,'' Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "We're real happy to have him. He's still a class pitcher and he's healthy.''

Reynolds is scheduled to join the Braves in Florida for Friday night's game against the Marlins.

"This is the smartest pitching organization in baseball," said Reynolds' agent, Tommy Tanzer. "When Frank Wren (assistant Braves GM) calls and says (manager) Bobby Cox and (pitching coach) Leo Mazzone want you, you just say when and where."

Reynolds had a back operation last summer after going 3-6 with a 4.86 ERA in 13 starts and 74 innings last season with the Astros. He was 0-1 with a 5.87 ERA during spring training.

"This is a great opportunity to go to a great team with a great chance to win like they always have," Reynolds told Houston television station KRIV Thursday. "You hear nothing but good things about their manager, Bobby Cox, and their pitching coach, Leo Mazzone."

Reynolds, who has a 103-86 record with a 3.95 ERA in a 10-year career with Houston, was a free agent. He was released by the Astros on March 27 and Houston will pay $700,000 of his $1 million salary for this season.

Atlanta starters Mike Hampton and Paul Byrd are on the disabled list. Byrd will undergo surgery on his right elbow Friday and miss at least two months.

Maddux, 0-3 with an 11.05 ERA in three starts, is off the worst start of his career.

The New York Mets offered Reynolds a minor league contract after watching him work out Tuesday at a Houston high school, where he threw 110 pitches in a simulated game.

The Braves were among several other teams that scouted Reynolds. Others included Boston, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Los Angeles. Seattle and Texas.

Reynolds will be reunited with former Astro Mike Hampton, acquired by the Braves in the offseason as part of a three-team deal involving Colorado and Florida. Hampton, however, is on the 15-day disabled list with a calf injury.

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