Did an impostor visit the Braves?

Posted: June 14, 2012

When the Atlanta Braves staged an alumni reunion last weekend, a paunchy guy wearing No. 8 turned up, signed autographs, glad-handed with former players, attended a ceremony where John Smoltz's number was retired and participated in the softball game.

He said he was former bullpen coach John Sullivan, who spent two years in Atlanta before following Bobby Cox to Toronto in 1982.

Cox, who never forgets anybody who played for him, was embarrassed not to recognize the guy and finally asked a staffer who No. 8 was.

Told it was John Sullivan, Cox immediately knew it was an imposter.

"I said, 'That's not John Sullivan. I think you've been had,' " Cox told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

That night, the nervy interloper even went out for drinks with some former Braves. Confronted by the real ex-players, "Sullivan" finally came clean.

By Sunday morning he was gone - and nobody has any idea who he was.

According to the Journal-Constitution, the real John Sullivan is alive and well in Dansville, N.Y. The 71-year-old former catcher was a coach for the Blue Jays until retiring in 1993.

Did you see that?

Tigers closer Jose Valverde denied throwing a spitball on Sunday night. An Internet video showed Valverde putting his glove to his mouth with the ball in it before a 1-2 pitch to Cincinnati's Devin Mesoraco, who swung and missed.

Valverde said he was wiping sweat from his face with his glove.

Around the bigs

The Dodgers signed Andre Ethier to a five-year deal worth $85 million. The 30-year-old rightfielder led the NL with 53 RBIs and was batting .287 with 10 home runs going into Tuesday night's game.

Elsewhere: Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said surgery on his injured right knee "went perfectly." . . . Dave Boswell, who won 20 games for Minnesota in 1969 has died, the team said. He was 67. . . . Brian Roberts returned to the Orioles after missing 13 months with a concussion. . . . Texas put righthander Alexi Ogando on the 15-day DL (strained right groin). . . . Detroit put reliever Octavio Dotel on the DL (inflammed right elbow). . . . Toronto released Vladimir Guerrero.

Contact Don McKee at dmckee@phillynews.com.

This article contains information from the Associated Press.

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