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Gorecki's call up turns into homecoming

Gorecki's call up turns into homecoming

NEW YORK -- The suburb of Lynbrook, N.Y., lies roughly 14 miles southeast of Citi Field, a half-hour car ride if traffic complies. By rush hour Tuesday, it was all but deserted.

More than 100 friends and family from Lynbrook and nearby East Rockaway, N.Y., made the short trip to see the newest member of the Braves, outfielder and Long Island native Reid Gorecki.

"I've been getting calls and text messages since 9 o'clock this morning," Gorecki said before Tuesday's game. "My phone's just going absolutely bonkers."

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Part of that was Gorecki's own fault. Shortly after the Braves informed him that he would be joining the team in place of the injured Nate McLouth, Gorecki called his brother and told him that he had decided to ask for his release, so that he could leave baseball and pursue something else.

"He was starting to get a little angry at me," Gorecki said. "He thought that I made a big mistake. Then I broke the good news to him. Within minutes, everyone knew."

That "everyone" included a slew of friends and family -- most of them Mets fans -- who came out to watch Tuesday's game. Hardly ashamed to admit it even with a Braves uniform draped over his shoulders, Gorecki also grew up rooting for his hometown team.

"Big Mets fan," he said. "Todd Hundley, Lenny Dykstra -- oh, my God. I used to love those boys."

Though Gorecki, 28, has spent each of the past eight seasons at Minor League stops from New Jersey to Texas, his thick accent belies his roots in Queens. An East Rockaway native, Gorecki attended high school in Lynbrook and college at the University of Delaware, where the Cardinals took notice and drafted him in the 13th round in 2002.

A speedy outfielder with moderate power, Gorecki sniffed the Majors just once with the Cardinals without making an appearance in a game. And though he shouldn't see much action this time around, either -- Ryan Church will start in center field while McLouth is on the DL -- he will have a chance to contribute.

"I think I'm past anxious," Gorecki said. "I've been waiting for this for a while."

Perhaps, though, the wait was worth it. Gorecki stumbled into a fine situation, playing with a Braves team that is gunning for a playoff berth -- and that seems to have the pitching to nab one. Despite Derek Lowe's hiccup in Tuesday's series opener against the Mets, the Braves are still playing with one of the best rotations in the league.

Wednesday's starter, Jair Jurrjens, is coming off a fine start against the Phillies -- though he'll be looking for his first win since July 22. Jurrjens will oppose rookie right-hander Bobby Parnell, whom the Mets recently moved to the rotation in an attempt to look toward the future.

Pitching matchup
ATL: RHP Jair Jurrjens (9-8, 2.99 ERA)
Jurrjens' lone mistake against the Phillies on Friday night resulted in a two-run home run by Chase Utley. The rwo runs were the only runs he surrendered in seven innings. He was more effective than he'd been while allowing the Dodgers four earned runs in his two previous starts. Jurrjens pitched six scoreless innings against the Mets July 17, and during his only previous start at Citi Field, on May 12, he allowed two runs in 7 2/3 innings. He has a 3-1 record and a 2.84 ERA in five career starts against the Mets. Right-handed hitters are batting merely .218 in 284 at-bats against Jurrjens.

NYM: RHP Bobby Parnell (3-4, 3.50 ERA)
Parnell did his best professional pitching against the Giants Friday in his second big league start. He allowed three hits, struck out a career-high seven and walked none in six scoreless innings. He has made six relief appearances against the Braves this season, allowing two unearned runs on five hits in four innings. Two of those hits, including a double, were delivered by Martin Prado. The Braves as the whole are 5-for-15 against Parnell. He has been marginally more effective against left-handed hitters than against right-handers. Parnell has allowed two home runs in 59 innings in the big leagues.

Tidbits
Rafael Soriano, who was unavailable out of the bullpen Saturday with a sore right shoulder, has fully recovered, according to manager Bobby Cox. ... Chipper Jones, a former No. 1 overall Draft pick, spoke Tuesday in favor of the salary slotting system encouraged by the commissioner. "Put some kind of cap on them," said Jones, who in 1990 received a then-record $275,000 bonus. His comments came a day after the Nationals signed top pick Stephen Strasburg to a record deal believed to be worth more than $15 million.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• SPSO

On radio
• 640 WGST, Project 9-6-1

Up next
• Thursday: Braves (Kenshin Kawakami, 5-9, 4.13) at Mets (Johan Santana, 13-8, 3.10), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Friday: Braves (Javier Vazquez, 10-8, 2.99) vs. Marlins (Rick VandenHurk, 2-2, 5.12), 7:30 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Braves (Tommy Hanson, 8-2, 3.05) vs. Marlins (Chris Volstad, 9-9, 4.61), 7:00 p.m. ET

Anthony DiComo 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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