Rafael Furcal returned to Turner Field on Friday, like he’s done many times
since he left Atlanta after the 2005 season. Well, not quite exactly like it.
Furcal’s reputation among Atlanta fans took a hit over the winter after the
Braves thought they had a deal in place to bring him back. The Braves
believe his agent, Paul Kinzer, reneged only to use their offer to get a
better deal to remain with the Dodgers.
The Braves contended that Kinzer asked them to fax a “term sheet,” which they
considered the final step in the process, needing only Furcal’s signature.
In the fallout, Braves president John Schuerholz called the actions of the
Wasserman Media Group, which represents Furcal, “despicable” and
“disgusting” and declared the Braves would not do business with any of their
clients in the future.
For his part, Furcal said Friday a deal was never done.
“I never think in my mind that was going to happen,” Furcal said. “I never had
a done deal. I’m in Dominican sleeping by the time [Kinzer] called me and
the next day I see the news. I don’t even know what happened.
“I know my agent told me they talked with the Braves, but they never told me
we’ve got a done deal. We were listening to many different teams.”
Furcal said the conversation with Kinzer that December night never got serious
because Furcal told him he was sleeping and would talk later.
“Next day, all over the paper, they talk about me like I’m a bad guy,” Furcal
said. “I’m not that kind of guy. I think I didn’t do anything bad. We didn’t
do anything bad. Now I forget everything, try to get healthy over here, try
to help my team win.”
Furcal, who came into this series hitting .265 with five homers and 29 RBIs,
heard some boos mixed in with cheers for his first at-bat. He’d been
prepared for the possibility.
“Just part of the game,” he said. “Nothing I can do with that.”
His memories of his time in Atlanta will always be good.
“For me, six good years, helping the team get to the playoffs,” Furcal said.
“I had good teammates and had fun with the fans. Great manager. [There’s]
nothing I can say bad about Atlanta. It was a great city to play in.”
Martin Prado took batting practice Friday and was available for emergency
duty. “Better than I thought,” he told manager Bobby Cox of his left ankle,
which was hit by a batted ball during batting practice Thursday in Florida.
Yunel Escobar did not participate in batting practice after coming out of
Thursday’s game after taking a pitch off his right wrist. Cox thought he
might be able to take batting practice on Saturday. He is day-to-day.
Ryan Church is still bothered by a hyperextended right elbow when he swings.
He was available only as a pinch runner or on defense.
“We’ll have a lot of pitchers with spikes on in the dugout tonight,” Cox said.
Some of the strange political bedfellows who joined forces last year in opposition to the transportation sales tax referendum are uniting again in hopes of putting the brakes on the proposed Braves stadium in Cobb County.
Much has been made of the hundreds of millions of dollars that taxpayers will plow into the Atlanta Braves’ and Falcons’ planned new stadiums, and of the even larger sums that the teams will contribute.