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Braves Two Pitchers Short

ATLANTA (AP) - John Smoltz says he's confident he'll be ready to move back into Atlanta's rotation when he comes off the disabled list next week.

Smoltz went on the 15-day disabled list on July 6th, retroactive to July 3rd, with inflammation in his right shoulder. An MRI showed no damage to his rotator cuff. Smoltz said he went eight or nine days without throwing. The Braves had a workout Thursday, and Smoltz played light catch. He threw again with more effort in the bullpen Friday.

Smoltz is listed as the Braves' probable starter on Wednesday against Cincinnati. The right-hander is 9-5 and is sixth in the National League with a 3.07 ERA in 17 starts. Smoltz was named to the National League All-Star team but pulled out due to the sore shoulder.

ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Wilfredo Ledezma, who returned to his home in Venezuela for the All-Star break, was placed on the restricted list Friday when visa problems prevented his return to Atlanta.

The Braves recalled reliever Jose Ascanio from AA Mississippi. Ascanio, a right-hander, was expected to join the team in time for tonight's game against Pittsburgh. Ledezma is 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in eight games since he was acquired from Detroit on June 20th in a trade that sent left-handeder Macay McBride to the Tigers.

Braves general manager John Schuerholz said Ledezma's visa was damaged "in a washing incident" during his trip and became detached from his passport. The Braves hope Ledezma can return to the team by the middle of next week.

Ascanio appeared in 33 games for Mississippi, where he was 2--0 with a 2.44 ERA and five saves in five chances. Braves manager Bobby Cox said it is not unusual for foreign players to return home for the All-Star break.

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