ATLANTA -- In a move that could lead to the end of Raul
Mondesi's career, the Atlanta Braves called up outfielder Kelly Johnson to start Sunday against Philadelphia.
Mondesi, hitting only .211 and struggling physically, was told
he lost his starting job in right field. Mondesi was given a couple
of days to decide whether he wants to remain with the team in a
Johnson, hitting .310 with eight homers, 22 RBI and seven
stolen bases for Triple-A Richmond, began his minor league career
as an infielder but has spent most of this season in the outfield.
Johnson was in the starting lineup in left field Sunday. Another
rookie, Ryan Langerhans, was the starter in right field.
The 34-year-old Mondesi revealed Saturday he is limited because
of a sore right knee, which he attributed to a torn right
quadriceps muscle he sustained last season. He said the injury saps
his power and speed. He has four homers, 17 RBI and no steals.
"His stats look bad, but if you look at it, he won some games
for us," manager Bobby Cox said. "He played as hard as he could.
He wanted to help."
Mondesi said Sunday he hasn't decided whether he wants to
prolong his career.
"I have to call my family and see what they think and decide
after that," Mondesi said after meeting with Cox and general
manager John Schuerholz before Sunday's game.
Mondesi said being placed on the disabled list isn't an option
he discussed with Cox and Schuerholz.
"I spoke to him in deference of his stature and his career,"
Schuerholz said. "He's going to take a couple of days to see if he
wants to keep playing."
By Tuesday, however, the Braves must clear a roster space to
activate pitcher Mike Hampton, who is coming off the disabled list
to start in Washington. Langerhans, hitting only .187, is out of
minor league options.
Johnson filled the roster spot of rookie pitcher Matt Childers,
who was designated for assignment after Saturday's game.
Schuerholz said he had no regrets about signing Mondesi to a
one-year, $1 million base salary with up to $700,000 in incentives.
"I think it was a fair and reasonable gamble," Schuerholz
said. "We hoped to catch lightning in a bottle in terms of his
rebounding to his old form. It didn't happen. But you try those
things from time to time."