By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer
ATLANTA - It's been four weeks and five days since Jimmy Haynes went on the 15-day disabled list with a bulging disc in his back.
Haynes, the Reds' Opening Day starter, returns tonight against Atlanta.
"I'm looking forward to it," the right-hander said. "I've been sitting around for four weeks. That's a long time."
Haynes was 0-4 with a 12.74 ERA when he was put on the DL against his wishes. But, in retrospect, he realizes it was the right move. The back problem kept Haynes from bending over and finishing his pitches, and he was hit hard.
"I'd say in three of the four starts, it really affected me," Haynes said. "Everything was up in those starts."
Said Reds manager Bob Boone: "I think it was all of (his struggles). The mental and physical go hand-in-hand."
Haynes, 30, went 15-10 last year, and did well in his last two rehab starts, allowing one unearned run over 13 2/3 innings.
WILLIAMSON HURT: Scott Williamson left Monday's game in the ninth when he hyperextended his right (pitching) elbow.
He was replaced in the 10th inning by Scott Sullivan.
Williamson, who had "Tommy John" surgery on that elbow in 2001, is listed as day-to-day. The Braves team doctor examined Williamson and thought the problem was scar tissue.
AARON OUT, SORT OF: Aaron Boone was held out of the starting lineup for the first time this year.
Boone has still played in all 51 games. He entered Monday's game in the eighth inning.
Boone has been fighting a sore back and neck. Felipe Lopez started at third base and made two nice plays. Rainer Olmedo played shortstop.
Aaron went into Monday with five hits in his last 42 at-bats, and one hit in his last 19 at-bats.
MORE OLMEDO: Monday was Olmedo's last day with the Reds. He was optioned back to Double-A Chattanooga after the game to make room for Haynes.
PROKOPEC ON TRIP: Right-hander Luke Prokopec, whom the Reds selected in the Rule 5 Draft, is on the road trip.
Prokopec is rehabbing from shoulder surgery and is throwing three days a week. Pitching coach Don Gullett will supervise his program.
NAVARRO A BAT: The Reds signed right-hander Jamie Navarro, 36, to play for the Triple-A Louisville Bats. Navarro started Saturday's 5-4 win over Rochester. He went six innings, allowing two runs on six hits. Navarro last pitched in 2000.
SMOLTZ STREAK: John Smoltz struck out two in a hitless ninth, but the Braves lost a game in which he appeared for the first time since May 29, 2002. Atlanta had won 72 consecutive games in which Smoltz pitched, a major league record.
Reds 7, Braves 6
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