© St. Petersburg Times, published April 11, 2003
ATLANTA -- Shane Reynolds signed a one-year contract Thursday with the Braves, whose starting pitching has been hit hard by injuries and Greg Maddux's poor start.
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.
"This is the smartest pitching organization in baseball," Reynolds' agent, Tommy Tanzer, said. "When (assistant GM) Frank Wren calls and says (manager) Bobby Cox and (pitching coach) Leo Mazzone want you, you just say when and where."
Reynolds is scheduled to join the Braves in Florida for tonight's game against the Marlins.
"This is a great opportunity to go to a great team with a great chance to win like they always have," Reynolds told a Houston television station Thursday. "I can't wait to get there to see what they have to say and how much they can help me. I hope I can be able to help them."
Reynolds had a back operation last summer after going 3-6 with a 4.86 ERA in 13 starts and 74 innings with the Astros. He was 0-1 with a 5.87 ERA during spring training.
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 is scheduled to have surgery on his right elbow today and will be out at least two months.
STEAL IRKS CARDS: The Cardinals fumed and manager Tony La Russa glared at Colorado's Preston Wilson when he stole third base with a five-run lead.
Wilson stole with a 9-4 lead in the eighth inning Wednesday night. According to Wilson, third baseman Scott Rolen said, "Don't you think that's a little late?"
Wilson said he responded, "You must not have played here last night," referring to St. Louis' 15-12 win in 13 innings.
"With the way runs disappear in this ballpark, you cannot tell me a five-run lead is safe," Wilson said.
The sides still were on edge the next day, but there were no repercussions. In his first at-bat, Wilson took a strike, then hit a broken-bat popup to shortstop.
"If they want to run in the final innings, that's fine," La Russa said. "What I say to that is, 'If they are going to run with five, don't ever look over here if we run with five."'
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle defended Wilson.
"Tony and his staff have been together a long time and they've played a lot of ballgames here," Hurdle said. "And they've got an assistant general manager (Bob Gebhard) who was the general manager here for many years. They can attest to the fact that if you play 81 home games here, I would say you can count on both hands the games that are over at the end of the seventh inning."
ROCKIES TURN 3: Colorado turned the first triple play in franchise history against the Cardinals.
With Rolen running from second and Tino Martinez from first in the sixth inning, Orlando Palmeiro hit a soft liner to first baseman Todd Helton.
Helton caught the ball for the first out and threw to shortstop Jose Hernandez, who stepped on second for the second out and tagged Martinez to complete the first triple play in the majors this season.
In the eighth, Cardinals reliever Lance Painter injured his right hamstring after throwing a pitch and was assisted from the field.
BIDDER EMERGES: Atlanta businessman Charles Vaughn says he has a plan and investors to buy a major-league team and move it to Puerto Rico.
Island officials are wary of spending money to upgrade a stadium, especially as games in the island's professional league often play to empty seats.
Vaughn says he has Puerto Rican and U.S. investors ready to make an offer to the commissioner's office to buy the Expos or another franchise. The Expos play 22 home games in San Juan this season, starting tonight against the Mets.
ASTROS: Craig Biggio hit his 31st career leadoff homer against the Reds to break Bobby Bonds' NL record. Biggio connected off Danny Graves for his second home run of the season and first leading off a game. Rickey Henderson holds the major-league mark of 80.
BREWERS: Rightfielder Jeffrey Hammonds sat out the series against Pittsburgh with a hyperextended left elbow and may miss the weekend series in Arizona.
PADRES: Right-hander Dennis Tankersley was optioned to Triple-A Portland after he appeared in one game and allowed seven runs without recording an out.