By Charles Odum
ATLANTA - Even though he failed to record an out and was lifted after facing only five batters, Kyle Davies said Tuesday his performance in Monday night's game wasn't as bad as it seemed.
Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox didn't sound so certain.
"Well, the fact is he was missing," Cox said.
Davies' point is he wasn't missing by much.
"I threw four pitches in just about the same spot, right about here," Davies said, pointing a couple inches below his knee.
"They're balls, but I'm trying to get the guy to hit into a double play. I didn't want him to hit a grand slam and then it's 5-0 or 6-0 and we're really in a hole. I was trying to limit damage. That's what you're supposed to try to do there, and it just didn't work out."
Davies was charged with only two runs, but the 10-3 loss left the right-hander with a 4-8 record and a 5.76 ERA.
Davies has given up 92 hits and 44 walks in 86 innings, possibly making it increasingly difficult for Cox to await such promising starts as his 5-4 win at San Diego the last day before the All-Star break.
When asked if Davies would be better working through his struggles at Triple-A Richmond, Cox said, "I don't know."
Added Cox in an apparent reference to Davies' potential: "You see it. It's there."
Davies gave up two hits and three walks Monday night and was pulled after walking Adam Dunn with the bases loaded.
"He just had a good game in San Diego," Cox said. "He's got to be more consistent."
Cox will have to make roster moves when starter John Smoltz is activated from the disabled list to start Wednesday against the Reds and when reliever Wilfredo Ledezma returns to the team.
Rookie Jo-Jo Reyes may return to Richmond when Smoltz is activated.
Because he threw only 22 pitches on Monday night, Davies could be used in relief this week.
"That might help him and might help us," Cox said.
Back to the minors? Back to the bullpen? Another start in five days?
"I haven't heard anything yet," Davies said.
"I'm going to prepare like I normally would and that's it. That's all I can do."
Davies said he's trying to avoid thinking too much about his nightmarish start.
"Just forget about it," he said. "Not even think about it. Just go on just like you normally would. I pitched good the last time. I didn't get an out last night, but it is what it is. You just have to forget it. If you dwell on it, you're back to square one."
On a different note, Mike Hampton, who has been rehabbing from his season-ending elbow surgery in Arizona, was back with the team on Tuesday.
Hampton returned from ligament-replacement surgery in his left elbow only to suffer another injury which required surgery to have a torn tendon repaired.
"It's good to see him," Cox said of the veteran who was supposed to be the team's No. 3 starter this season, working behind Smoltz and Tim Hudson.
"It's hard rehabbing. You play all your life and all of a sudden it's gone...But he'll be back."
Hampton plans to start throwing lightly in August, when he also plans to begin traveling with the team on road trips. He said he also plans to play this winter so he will be ready for the start of spring training.