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Outsider Reardon fills Braves' void

When the Atlanta Braves celebrated the division championship, Jeff Reardon stayed in the back corner of the clubhouse.

When they held their meeting to decide how to split up their championship bonus shares, he sat alone by his locker, answering fan mail.

When the media swarmed all over the Braves before Tuesday's opener of the National League playoffs, he was all but ignored.

But when the Braves need someone to close out the final inning or two of a close game with the Pittsburgh Pirates this week, Reardon will be right where he belongs _ on the pitcher's mound.

Reardon came to the Braves in an Aug.

30 trade from Boston, filling a hole in the Braves' bullpen created by an injury to Alejandro Pena and freeing Boston of his salary.

He brings with him the experience of playing on three division winners (1981 Expos, 1987 Twins, 1990 Red Sox) and a World Series championship team with the 1987 Twins. He is the all-time leader with 357 saves. And he has a 3-0 record with three saves in 14 games since joining the Braves.

"I feel I've done my part so far," Reardon said.

He admits he still feels a bit like an outsider in the Braves' clubhouse "because I've only been here a month.

But Reardon has no complaints about the move from the last-place Red Sox to the division-winning Braves. "I picked up about 19 games in the standings in one day," Reardon said.

The Braves have not played the Pirates since Aug.

17, and Reardon hasn't faced them since 1986, so he plans to pay a little more attention than usual in the pregame meetings and in reviewing the scouting reports.

"They have a few guys I remember," he said. "Bonds was a kid then, and Van Slyke was with the Cardinals. I can't even name their lineup."