Despite broken cellphone, Canizares gets call to Braves

When the call came Thursday morning to summon Barbaro Canizares to the majors, it went through a third party. Had to. Canizares' cellphone was broken.

Class AAA Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage called Canizares' roommate, reliever Francisley Bueno, who woke the first baseman and told him to call Brundage.

Bueno told him he needed to do it right away, because he was going to The Show.

"I thought he was joking," said Canizares, who quickly realized it was no joke.

Two hours after getting the call at his Gwinnett apartment, Canizares arrived at Turner Field, only 45 minutes before the start of Thursday afternoon's homestand finale against the Pirates.

The 29-year-old Cuban batted cleanup in his major-league debut and went 1-for-4 with a single, one of only five hits the Braves had in a 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh. The Canizares scouting report: Not much glove, but a lot of bat.

"We got a healthy body, and a guy who's known as a good hitter," manager Bobby Cox said after the Braves put Greg Norton (strained right ankle) on the disabled list Thursday morning and scrambled to get Canizares from Gwinnett.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound slugger was second in the International League with a .344 average and had team-highs of 17 doubles, eight homers and 37 RBIs, along with a .412 on-base percentage. He was added to the 40-man roster Thursday.

"The guy can hit," Cox said. "I've only seen him a couple of days in spring training. He's not known for the glove; he's OK at first base. I wouldn't expect Gold Glove performances, but he's been playing" first base at Gwinnett.

Rookie pitcher Tommy Hanson, who makes his second major-league start Friday at Baltimore, was a teammate of Canizares in April and May.

"He just goes up there and rakes," Hanson said. "That's what he does. He's a hitter. When I was there he was on a tear."

Canizares split his time last season between first base and designated hitter at Class AAA Richmond, where he hit .300 with 13 homers and 67 RBI in 134 games.

The Braves could use him as a DH in interleague games at American League parks in Baltimore and Boston during a three-city trip that starts Friday.

Canizares is old for a rookie, but didn't sign until 2006 and missed part of the 2007 season because of immigration issues. Last season was his first with more than 300 at-bats.

"I thought it was the right time" for his call-up, he said through a translator. "I needed to learn some things to get here."

Vazquez: No fan of pitch counts

Javier Vazquez struck out three of the last four batters he faced Thursday, and retired the Pirates in order in the eighth with the score tied 1-all.

And that was it. He was replaced after throwing 113 pitches in eight innings and allowing two hits, one run and no walks with 12 strikeouts.

Rafael Soriano gave up two runs and three hits in the ninth inning of a 3-1 Braves loss. Braves starters have no complete games this season.

"They told me, you're coming out after the eighth — good game. That's it," said Vazquez, who wasn't complaining, just answering a question about whether he could have continued.

"I feel strong enough to finish some games," he said. "I guess it's part of the game now. I've always been against pitch counts. I don't know who invented the phrase, 'If you throw 100 pitches you can't pitch anymore.' "

He added: "I felt good. What can I say? It's part of the game."

First-base infirmary

Cox said Norton hurt his ankle Tuesday on a swing, then aggravated it Wednesday leaping for a line drive at first base. Those were the pinch-hitter's first two games in the field, and Norton went 0-for-8 to drop his batting average to .098.

Martin Prado (strained groin) had been filling in for first baseman Casey Kotchman, who's on the DL with a calf strained and eligible to return Tuesday.

It's not certain Kotchman will be ready that soon, but Prado could possibly be available as soon as the weekend.