ROCKER GETS ROCKED BY BRAVES
John Rocker was sent down to the Minor Leagues on
Monday, one day after a threatening conversation with a Sports
Rocker, who has struggled with his
control since returning from a two-week
suspension for the remarks in a
December article, was optioned to the
Braves' Triple-A club in Richmond.
Rocker also was fined "a substantial
amount" for the confrontation with
reporter Jeff Pearlman, said manager
Cox insisted Rocker's demotion was
unrelated to the confrontation and was
because of the reliever's inability to
Rocker has 10 saves since rejoining the
team May 18 but also has struggled
with his control, issuing 25 walks in 18
1/3 innings. His ERA is 3.85.
The Braves called up 21-year-old
pitcher Jason Marquis from Double-A
Greenville to replace Rocker.
"This is something that's been brewing
for a while," Cox said. "We've been
bailing him out. It couldn't go on like
Pearlman, in Atlanta to do a story on
the Braves playing the New York
Yankees in a rematch of last year's
World Series, met up with Rocker in a
service tunnel near the clubhouse about
two hours before the final game of the
General manager John Schuerholz declined to discuss the incident,
but issued a statement saying team officials "immediately began to
address the matter internally and are continuing to do so."
Rocker's teammates were clearly disturbed by the latest outburst.
"You've got one guy being a cancer time and time again," said
outfielder Brian Jordan, who has been one of Rocker's most vocal
critics. "Eventually, it's going to have an effect on the team."
Rocker, who has struggled this season after 38 saves a year ago,
pitched a scoreless ninth inning against the Yankees. The first two
hitters singled and moved up a base when Rocker was called for a
balk. But he escaped trouble by getting Chuck Knoblauch on a
popup and Derek Jeter on a flyout.
The Yankees won 7-6.
After Rocker's comments in a December issue of SI, the team called
together about a half-dozen players to discuss what action should
be taken with Rocker. The consensus was to give him another
"Obviously, it hasn't worked," said Jordan, adding that he expects
management to call another meeting soon to discuss Rocker's
Pearlman said it was the first time he has spoken with Rocker since
the December article.
"I think his anger is misdirected," Pearlman said. "I really do feel
bad for the guy. I feel bad for his family. It was not my intent to
do that kind of story."
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