Notes: Devine sets unfortunate mark

Notes: Devine sets unfortunate mark

CHICAGO -- When the Braves nabbed Joey Devine with their top selection in this year's draft, many correctly predicted his fast rise to the Majors. But there weren't as many guaranteeing that life was going to be simple once he got there.

Still, there probably wasn't anybody who could have predicted just how cruel the start of his career would truly be.

After Tuesday night's game, the Elias Sports Bureau found that the Braves' rookie reliever is the only pitcher in Major League history to allow a grand slam in both of his first two career appearances.

Devine, who was the club's top selection in June's draft, allowed his second slam to Jeromy Burnitz in Tuesday night's fifth inning. While making his Major League debut on Saturday, it was San Diego's Xavier Nady who drilled a game-winning, 13th-inning slam against him.

"It's tough luck, I guess," Devine said. "It's just something I've got to keep learning. That's the biggest thing -- to just keep trying to learn and develop and make pitches."

Braves manager Bobby Cox hasn't shown any signs that he's lost confidence in the 21-year-old Devine, who finished his collegiate career with North Carolina State in June. There, he was a two-time All-America selection.

"He's fine," Cox said. "He's absolutely fine. He just needs to work on location. A home run is a home run. It's not the last one he's going to give up."

During Devine's debut, the slam he surrendered to Nady came on the 38th pitch he delivered during the humid afternoon. He had looked rather impressive while holding the Padres scoreless in the 12th inning.

No skipping Ramirez: Looking to build off the success Horacio Ramirez has had in his past two starts and hoping an extra day of rest will help all of their starting pitchers, the Braves have decided to stay on their five-man rotation, despite Thursday's off-day.

"We wanted to get Ramirez right back in there," Cox said. "There's no sense in waiting."

Ramirez, who will start against the Brewers on Friday night at Miller Park, has totaled 15 2/3 innings and allowed just three earned runs in his past two starts. Most of his struggles have come on the road, where he's posted a 5.87 ERA this year.

But the Braves are hoping he's over his inconsistent stretch and ready to help a rotation that might be without the injured Mike Hampton and struggling John Thomson during the postseason.

If the Braves are going to make the playoffs, they'll need a healthy John Smoltz and Tim Hudson. Both should benefit from the one day of extra rest they'll get this week. Smoltz will pitch on Saturday and Hudson will go in Sunday's series finale against the Brewers.

"This time of year, it will be perfect for them," Cox said.

Coming up: Ramirez (10-7, 4.61 ERA) will oppose Ben Sheets (9-9, 3.44 ERA) on Friday night. The last time the Braves saw Sheets in Milwaukee, he recorded a franchise-record 18 strikeouts against them.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.