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Monday, September 4, 2006
Tests: Giles has healthy heart, can keep playing

Associated Press

Marcus Giles

NEW YORK -- Tests determined that Marcus Giles has a healthy heart and he can keep playing baseball, a huge relief to the Atlanta Braves and their second baseman after he was told he might have a heart defect.

Giles arrived at Shea Stadium on Monday night to rejoin his teammates, who beat the New York Mets 5-0 in the opener of a three-game series.

"He checked out fine," manager Bobby Cox said. "He was pretty worried. All the indications were a partially open valve. ... Scared him to death, which it should."

On Saturday, Giles missed a doubleheader against the Phillies and visited a Philadelphia hospital, where he said he was told he might have a heart defect. The scrappy infielder returned to Atlanta on Sunday for medical tests and was cleared to play.

"Yesterday I took the same tests I took in Philly, and they didn't find anything," Giles said. "It's a big relief for me and my family. The next thing is to find out what's going on down there, but the bottom line is I don't think we're talking about anything too serious."

Doctors didn't give Giles an official diagnosis, but a heart problem was ruled out. They think he could have acid reflux, a common condition that is easily treatable.

Giles plans to have his stomach examined by another specialist Thursday.

"Best-case scenario, they'll just find the reflux problem," he said. "It's just a little annoying, I guess, is the best way to describe it down there. Something's going on, but obviously it's not my heart. That's the main thing."

Giles, an NL All-Star in 2003, is batting .268 with nine homers and 51 RBI. He could return to the lineup in the series finale.

"He's going to work out tomorrow, see how he feels and maybe play [Wednesday]," Cox said.

Pete Orr started at second base and batted leadoff Monday night.

It's been a frightening year of health issues for Giles and his wife, Tracy. He missed 10 days in spring training following the premature birth of his daughter, Sawyur Rae, who struggled with lung problems after she was born.

Giles and his wife have another daughter, Arringtun Mae, but lost a baby following a premature birth.

On the field, the Braves were also without longtime Mets nemesis Chipper Jones, sidelined by a sore oblique muscle on his left side. Cox doesn't expect the third baseman to be able to play in the series at Shea, where Jones has had a tremendous amount of success throughout his career.

Jones was on the disabled list last month with the same problem and has been bothered by the injury much of the season. He is batting .318 with 23 home runs and 79 RBI.

Willy Aybar started at third base in place of Jones again.

The Braves also optioned right-hander Anthony Lerew to back Triple-A Richmond, two days after he was called up.