ATLANTA CAN CHEER PENDLETON AGAIN.
Welcome home, Terry Pendleton.
The veteran third baseman, back in an Atlanta Braves uniform after nearly two seasons with the Florida Marlins, has been touched by the reception he has gotten from fans and players since the Braves reacquired him in a trade Aug. 13.
``It's an honor to be cared for that much, when people show that kind of respect,'' said Pendleton, who got a 30-second standing ovation before his first at-bat in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium after the trade.
The switch-hitter had to step out of the batter's box and catch his breath.
``I had to regroup. It kind of got to me,'' he said.
Pendleton was one of the key acquisitions in Atlanta's surge from last place to first in 1991, when he won the National League Most Valuable Player award and the Braves lost the World Series in seven games to Minnesota.
But the Braves opted not to keep Pendleton after the 1994 season, so he signed on with the Marlins.
``There were no hard feelings. I understood. They had some young players they wanted to give a chance to,'' said Pendleton, who played for Channel Islands High School in Oxnard.
Things change, however. After the Braves were battered by injuries this year, general manager John Schuerholz sought out some veteran help. He reacquired Pendleton in a trade for minor-league prospect Roosevelt Brown.
Pendleton's leadership in the clubhouse may be more valuable than his bat. A .274 career hitter who hit .300 in his four years with the Braves, Pendleton batted .251 with seven homers and 58 RBIs in 111 games with Florida this season.
``We think he can still play,'' manager Bobby Cox said. ``Then there are the intangibles. He's a great person, a good guy in the clubhouse, and he's a competitor.''
``When you add people of his caliber, both abilitywise and characterwise, it's a plus,'' Schuerholz said.
The Braves' injury troubles began when right fielder David Justice was lost for the season with a shoulder separation in May. More recently, shortstop Jeff Blauser suffered a broken bone in his left hand.
The arrival of Pendleton allows the Braves to move Chipper Jones, their leading hitter, from third to his more natural shortstop position. Jones also could play Justice's outfield spot when Blauser returns.
``You miss the bat and veteran leadership of Justice, but Terry is going to ease the loss,'' Jones said.
Photo: The Braves think '91 NL MVP Terry Pendleton can stil l play. And they're counting on his ``intangibles'' to ease the loss of injured David Justice.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Aug 25, 1996|
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