New Brave Maholm settles into Atlanta

New Brave Maholm settles into Atlanta

New Brave Maholm settles into Atlanta
ATLANTA -- After taking a day to get collect himself once he was traded to the Braves late Monday night, left-hander Paul Maholm reported to Turner Field on Wednesday. Maholm arrives to shore up the Braves' rotation as they head into the final two months of the season.

Maholm will make his Braves debut Saturday night against the Astros. He threw a bullpen session with pitching coach Roger McDowell for the first time Wednesday, and said he was ready to go.

Maholm leaves a Cubs team 16 games under .500 for one that is 15 games over .500 and entered Wednesday leading the National League Wild Card race. He said he is excited to join the pennant race.

"They're playing great," Maholm said. "I'm just hoping to gel in the clubhouse and do my job every fifth day."

The Braves are just as excited to add Maholm to their rotation. He is 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA, striking out 81 batters and walking 34 in 120 1/3 innings this year.

Maholm beat the Braves twice this season, including a 1-0 victory May 9, when he threw seven shutout innings opposite Braves ace Tim Hudson.

"I think he's the best pitcher in the National League," Hudson said. "[Heck], he beat me, 1-0."

Outfielder Eric Hinske is one of five current Braves who have previously played with Maholm. Hinkse was his teammate in Pittsburgh in 2009 and said the lefty uses a good game plan to get hitters out.

"He knows where he wants to put the ball," Hinkse said. "He's just a smart pitcher. Not overpowering or anything, but he knows exactly what he's trying to do out there."

Maholm grew up in Mississippi and said he was a Braves fan as kid, watching former pitchers Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, as well as third baseman Chipper Jones. He said he's looking forward to playing with Jones in the third baseman's final season before retiring.

Maholm has continued to admire the Braves even after making the Major Leagues.

"Playing against them, they always seemed to be a great group of guys," he said. "Obviously a very talented lineup and bullpen, and the rotation's doing great. I'm just going to try to come in here and do my thing and expect to win games."