About 10 players gathered around the television set in the Atlanta clubhouse before yesterday's game, eager to get another look at the hit that sent C Johnny Estrada to the hospital.
After an ESPN analyst broke down the play, RHP Roman Colon walked away shaking his head.
"He could have gone around him," Colon said.
The Braves were still upset about the hit delivered by Darin Erstad in the Angels' 4-2 victory Monday, and they didn't waste any time showing their displeasure when he came to bat in the first inning last night.
Horacio Ramirez threw the first pitch behind Erstad, prompting home-plate umpire Lance Barksdale to warn both teams about any further shenanigans.
Estrada suffered a mild concussion when Erstad, a former college football punter at Nebraska, planted his left shoulder into Estrada's facemask in a violent home-plate collision.
"I respect someone who plays hard," said Braves OF Brian Jordan, also a former football player. "But to go that high, that's a different story to me. That's a cheap shot."
"I play to win," Erstad said. "There is absolutely zero intent to injure anybody. That's not me. I'm just glad Johnny's okay. That's the most important thing."
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, who was a catcher during his playing days, said it was a clean hit.
* TOP PICK: Justin Upton put on an Arizona Diamondbacks cap and smiled proudly while a large group of relatives and friends cheered his selection as baseball's overall No. 1 draft pick.
"We had a little get-together in my school library," Upton said on a conference call from Chesapeake, Va. "We had the Internet up on the screen, and it was all my friends and family. It was crazy when they picked me. Everybody had their reaction, and it was just a good time."
The Diamondbacks made Upton, from Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, the fifth shortstop ever taken with the No. 1 pick. He joined his older brother B.J., the No. 2 overall pick by Tampa Bay in 2002, as the highest-drafted siblings.
"It's great to have two boys and have them come out [numbers] one and two," said Upton's mother, Yvonne.
B.J., who joined his brother for the announcement because his Class AAA Durham Bulls were in town to play the Norfolk Tides last night, said he and his brother are close, but he hasn't been involved with Justin's decision on the draft.
"We rarely talk about baseball," B.J. said. "We talk about everything else."
Despite having a few talented shortstops already in their minor league system, the Diamondbacks couldn't resist taking the talented Upton. Arizona also has Stephen Drew, the team's top pick from last year who recently signed, and Class AAA prospect Sergio Santos.
Upton batted .519 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI in just 54 plate appearances this year for the Wildcats, who finished 18-5 and won their district title. Upton was also named the Virginia player of the year.
* CHIPS OFF THE OLD BLOCK: The Houston Astros hope to have another Rocket winning games for them some day.
Roger Clemens's slugger son, Koby, was selected in the eighth round yesterday by the Astros -- one of many players with famous bloodlines taken on the first day of baseball's amateur draft.
Koby Clemens, who signed a letter of intent with the University of Texas -- his father's alma mater -- was a standout third baseman for Memorial High School in Houston. He also showed some glimpses of his famous father on the mound, throwing two no-hitters and flashing a fastball in the low-90s.
Clemens and his wife were not with the Astros on their trip to play the New York Mets.
"Koby, Roger and Debbie are thrilled that the Astros selected Koby," said the Rocket's agent, Randy Hendricks.
"Given the Astros' interest in Koby, and the possibility that Roger and Koby might some day play together, Koby will have a lot to think about in the coming weeks," Hendricks said.
Houston also went the family route in the supplemental round, when the Astros took Tennessee outfielder Eli Iorg, the son of former major leaguer Garth Iorg, with the 38th pick.
Arizona outfielder Trevor Crowe, the son of former professional golfer David Crowe, was selected by Cleveland as the 14th overall pick.
John Mayberry Jr., the son of former big league slugger John Mayberry, went in the first round to Texas with the 19th pick.
-- From News Services