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Former Braves Roundup

Let's take a look at what's happening with some former Braves players around the majors.

One of them who is no longer going to be around is Bret Boone, who decided to retire. Apparently his passion for playing the game was no longer there. You have to hand it to him for knowing when to step aside. Some players these days seem to keep playing just to collect a paycheck, but don't really play with any passion (see Sammy "I just want respect" Sosa).

One of the good ones who refuses to pack up and go home is `The Ageless One,' Julio Franco. His continued passion for the game is revealed by his workout regimen and eating habbits.

A possible replacement for Bret Boone on the Mets might be Tony Graffanino, who lost his job when the Red Sox acquired Mark Loretta. The Sox are going to make an effort to trade him to a team on which he can start at second.

Meanwhile, another Boone, Aaron is mentoring former top prospect, Andy Marte, a player who may one day take his job with the Indians. Another former Brave, now Indian, Paul Byrd says he almost left baseball 12 years ago to become a minister. Byrd is replacing another former Brave who went to the Rangers:

In Arlington there is a lot riding on the arm of Kevin Millwood, as the Rangers hope he can be the ace of the staff they have long desired. The team is encouraging and he is using the blueprint he learned in Atlanta under the big three: "I watched how those guys [John Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine] carried themselves, how they prepared and their work ethic," Millwood said. "I saw those guys get there early every morning. They made a point of putting their baseball work first and then having fun. Now, that's me. That's how I approach my job."

Pitchers Jason Marquis and Adam Wainwright prove their Braves pitching pedigree by continuing to be first rate golfers. By the way, the only player we have left to show for the trade that sent these two to St. Louis is rhp Jorge Vasquez (he came by way of the Eli Marrero trade).

Speaking of Eli, he is with the Rockies trying to bounce back from an injury plagued '05 campaign.

In Baltimore, Javy Lopez is having a great deal of trouble trying to play first base. Buster Olney has talked to some evaluators this spring who agree that Lopez at first will turn into Mike Piazza II: He just doesn't have the feet to play the position. The Orioles really made a stupid move by signing Ramon Hernandez before they got rid of (traded) Javy. This may be the one time I would say that a player needs to be shown some respect, and leveled with about the team's desire to keep him in the organization. But forcing him to play first at this stage in his career is just cruel.

Gary Sheffield is having his annual bout with OMD (old man's disease), while Kyle Farnsworth impressed his new skipper in one of his early throwing sessions.

And finally, Fookey, Rafael Furcal is progressing well after minor knee surgery and should be ready by opening day.

Naturally, we wish them all well. . . some, more than others.

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