Glaus already hearing boos from Braves fans 

Troy Glaus believes his hits will come.

Some Atlanta Braves fans don't seem to share his optimism.

Braves fans began booing Glaus, Atlanta's new first baseman, in only his seventh home game after he hit into a bases-loaded double play in the fourth inning of Tuesday's game against Philadelphia.

The boos continued as he was held without a hit and had three strikeouts in Thursday night's completion of the three-game series with the Phillies. He ended the series with 16 strikeouts in 53 at-bats and was 0 for 5 with the bases loaded.

Seemingly lost in the boos was that Glaus hit a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in Tuesday's game to help the Braves rally from a 3-0 deficit for a 4-3 win in 10 innings. The big hit left him with two homers and eight RBIs.

The fans were not won over. There were more boos Wednesday night against the Phillies when Glaus struck out in the seventh inning with runners on first and second.

More reason for frustration: He might have had a second-inning homer if not for a catch at the center-field wall by Shane Victorino.

"The fans have a right to boo," Glaus said. "All I can do is keep doing my work. Everybody in here has been booed at some point. Everybody has ups and downs."

As his batting average fell below .200, Glaus was given an unusually short leash by fans. He's not the only Atlanta hitter who has struggled in the opening month. Nate McLouth, Melky Cabrera, Yunel Escobar and Matt Diaz also took batting averages under .200 into a weekend series at the New York Mets.

"Yeah, it's worrisome," said third baseman Chipper Jones. "We've got certain guys that are swinging the bat well and others are just really struggling right now. We've got to stand by them and try to help them through this period.

"They're' not gong to hit under .200 for the whole season. They've just got to get some confidence."

Of all the Braves' struggling hitters, only Glaus has heard consistent boos.

"New guys get treated rough when they don't come out of the gate producing," Jones said.

"He has struggled a little bit to this point, but he also has had some pretty big swings for us."

Glaus slammed his helmet in the dugout after he hit into the bases-loaded double play on Tuesday night.

"Certainly it's frustrating," Glaus said. "You want to get hits. You want to be successful. You want to be productive, you know? I just try to put good swings on it and hit the ball hard and hopefully someday they'll fall."

Manager Bobby Cox said Glaus is "getting there, put it that way."

"Baseball is a lot mental, too," Cox said. "He's handling everything well."

There has been plenty for Glaus to think about in his first season at first base. He has been a third baseman all his career and had appeared in only six games at first base before making the move across the diamond.

The Braves have enjoyed strong defensive play in recent years from Mark Teixeira, Casey Kotchman and Adam LaRoche at first base. It would be difficult for Glaus to match the standards set by some of baseball's top fielders at the position, but he has looked comfortable at his new home.

"Obviously, you just have to concentrate on situations," he said. "Unfortunately, not all situations come up in spring training. It's just being in the right places and making the right plays."

Cox said Glaus "has made some nice catches at first."

Meanwhile, Glaus also is trying to prove that shoulder surgery in January of 2009 didn't sap his power.

He played in only 14 games late last season with St. Louis before signing a one-year, $1.75 million deal with the Braves.

"My shoulder is fine," he said. "That's not even an issue.

"When I came back last year, I was plenty able to play third and play it every day."

The Braves need Glaus to provide power in the middle of the lineup. He has hit fifth, behind Brian McCann, most of the season.

Glaus, 33, has hit 27 or more homers in eight of his 11 seasons. He led the American League with 47 homers with the Angels in 2000 and added 41 the next season.

In his last full season in 2008, Glaus hit .270 with 27 homers and 99 RBIs for St. Louis. The power-starved Braves would gladly take those numbers.

Jones said Glaus is handling his slow start with veteran poise.

"He's being very patient," Jones said. "Everybody else isn't."

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Staff Report

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