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Notes: Colyer's patience rewarded

Notes: Colyer's patience rewarded

ATLANTA -- When Steve Colyer arrived at Spring Training as a non-roster invitee this year, he carried the label of being a hard-throwing left-handed reliever who had a tendency to have control problems.

Ironically, the Braves thought enough of him to bring him to Atlanta on Saturday to replace Macay McBride, who has been shipped to Triple-A Richmond to correct the control problems that he's experienced this year.

"[Colyer] has always had the reputation of being the guy who will open the scouts' eyes and then get wild a little bit," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "But shoot, he was in control real good almost the entire spring."

While working 12 innings for the Braves during the Grapefruit League season, Colyer registered 12 strikeouts and issued just one walk. In the two appearances he made for Richmond this year, he worked two scoreless innings, registering two strikeouts and no walks.

These results are much different than the ones he experienced while pitching in the Rockies' Minor League system last year. In 58 1/3 innings with Triple-A Colorado Springs, he issued 48 walks and notched 52 strikeouts.

Entering this season, the 28-year-old reliever had compiled 653 career innings at the Minor League level and issued 424 free passes.

"People seem to find themselves at a certain point," Colyer said. "This spring, I changed my mechanics around a little bit and just felt more comfortable."

Since being selected in the second round of the 1997 First-Year Player by the Dodgers, Colyer has become a bit of a journeyman. He appeared in 13 games for the Dodgers in 2003 and then was traded at the beginning of the following season to the Tigers, who gave him 41 relief appearances in Detroit that year.

After being traded to the Mets at the beginning of the 2005 season, Colyer suffered a left knee injury that limited him to just 28 appearances for Triple-A Norfolk. The injury caused him to lose some of the velocity that he's seemingly regained this year.

"He throws hard and has a nice breaking ball," Cox said. "He's a great kid, great competitor."

While McCann attempts to fix the mechanics that caused him to issue 11 walks in a span of just two innings, Colyer will serve as the Braves left-handed specialty reliever. At Colorado Springs last year, he limited left-handed hitters to a .207 batting average.

Davies fine with extra rest: When rain forced the 10th postponement in Turner Field's 11-year history Saturday night, Kyle Davies learned that he'd have to wait a few more days before getting a chance to make a second consecutive positive impression.

Instead of forcing Tim Hudson to make a third consecutive start with an extra day of rest, Cox opted to pitch Hudson on Sunday. Thus Davies, who had been scheduled to pitch on Saturday, now will pitch Wednesday's series opener against the Cubs at Turner Field.

"If I can continue to pitch well and help the team, that's all I'm worried about," Davies said. "I'll pitch whenever I'm scheduled to pitch."

In his season debut against the Mets last week, Davies allowed just two runs over 6 2/3 innings. If he continues to enjoy this kind of success, the Braves may have to make a decision regarding Mark Redman, who through two starts has been the rotation's weak link.

Frustrated Paronto: For the first time since beginning his professional career in 1996, Chad Paronto has earned a legitimate spot in a Major League bullpen. He pitched well in Atlanta last year and had gotten this season off to a good start until straining a muscle in his groin area Friday night.

"It's frustrating," Paronto said. "But at the same time, it could be worse. It could be my heart. It's just frustrating to be in a groove for the last three months and have something like this happen."

Paronto, who is on the 15-day disabled list, has shown improvement over the past two days and shouldn't miss an extended period of time. While he is out, the Braves will utilize Peter Moylan to serve as their ground-ball specialist in double-play situations.

Jackie Robinson tribute: Before Sunday afternoon's game against the Marlins, the Braves celebrated the 60th anniversary of the day that Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier. On April 15, 1947, Johnson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and in doing so became Major League Baseball's first African-American player.

Andruw Jones was one of the many Major League players on Sunday to wear No. 42 in honor Robinson. Walter Banks, a long-time Braves usher, showed his appreciation by wearing Robinson's throwback jersey and a Dodgers hat.

Coming up: The Braves will begin a two-game series against the Nationals on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. ET at RFK Stadium. They'll send Chuck James (2-0, 0.82) to the mound to face Jerome Williams (0-2, 4.91).

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

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